League leaders Arsenal are visiting this weekend as Liverpool return to Anfield for the first time in over a month to make a statement.
Liverpool vs Arsenal
Premier League (29) | Anfield
April 9, 2023 | 4.30pm (BST)
A humiliating 4-1 defeat at the Etihad last weekend was followed by a disappointing 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Liverpool will be looking to harness the power of the home crowd on their return to Anfield to inspire a better performance and get their current campaign back on track.
The Reds will welcome their strongest Arsenal side in many years in a match where just three points are enough to keep any hopes of a move to the top four. Here are 10 things you need to know before Liverpool vs. Arsenal.
1. A return of Thiago?
After a seemingly endless hip flexor problem and little indication of the timing, Thiago could be involved this weekend for the first time since February. Jurgen Klopp told the media in his pre-Arsenal press conference that the midfielder could ‘eventually’ be available as he has now trained ‘three or four times’ with the full squad.
“Luis [Diaz] and Thiago are training normally,” the manager revealed.
“Thiago looks a bit different [from Diaz], hasn’t been out that long, has trained with the team three, four times now and might be available. But we have to see how he feels today. today.”
2. “It’s Anfield”
Sunday is Liverpool’s first game at Anfield in over a month, most recently in the 7-0 win over Man United in early March. The boss spoke of the importance of using the atmosphere to the advantage of the team in an attempt to turn around recent fortunes, admitting there is “no secret” about the role the public can play.
The German explained: “In a home game, a big push can obviously be the crowd, celebrating challenges, celebrating slides, the ball going out – that’s where it all starts.
“It’s the first small win, you have to build on that.”
3. Further changes
Klopp revealed that the busy match schedule “opens the door for everyone” and hinted that further line-up changes can be expected this weekend.
The manager made six changes at Stamford Bridge as the side lost 4-1 to Man City, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah both on the bench and Virgil van Dijk completely sidelined with illness. “I said it before the game and I say it now, this is a different week because we play three times,” Klopp said during his pre-game press conference.
“But from now on, if we don’t play three times a week, we’ll have more time to train.”
4. Historically a difficult journey for visitors
Arsenal go into Sunday favorites as they chase their first league title since an unbeaten 2003-04 season, but Anfield is far from a happy hunting ground for the Gunners.
Liverpool have won their last six home games against Arsenal in the Premier League, scoring 22 times and conceding just four.
Arsenal’s last successful league trip to Anfield came in September 2012, when goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla sealed a 2-0 victory. 5. Expect goals
Unlike recent meetings with Chelsea, where 465 minutes went without a goal, this game often produces goals.
The two sides have scored 180 times in their Premier League meetings, more than any other match in the competition.
Only one of the sides’ last 45 league games has finished goalless: a 0-0 draw at the Emirates in 2015.
6. Jota to finally break his duck?
Diogo Jota hasn’t scored for Liverpool since a 2-2 draw at the Etihad last April, but Sunday’s opponents are a side he has generally found joy against.
The Portuguese striker scored seven times against Arsenal for the Reds, more than any other team, and averaged a goal every 73 minutes.
This could be the perfect opportunity for him to pick up his first win of the season after missing the majority through injury as hamstring and calf issues keep him out.
7. The top four hope for the lead
Not a single league win in three has seen Champions League qualification slip out of Liverpool’s hands, meaning one win will be enough on Sunday.
The Reds are 10 points behind fourth-placed Man United and a further loss of points to Arsenal could mean the end of any realistic hope of winning things back.
It will be a huge demand given the quality of the opponent, but Liverpool need to find a way to perform at their best and get a result to keep the season going.
8. A swan song by Firmino? Along with Jota, Roberto Firmino has also scored more Liverpool goals against Arsenal than any other team.
The Brazilian has scored 10 goals in 17 games against the Gunners, including a memorable 5-1 league hat-trick in December 2018.
Firmino will leave Anfield on a free transfer this summer and will take his last chance to score in this game if included.
Only Robbie Fowler (12) has more Liverpool goals against Arsenal than Firmino in all competitions.
9. Tierney in charge
Paul Tierney will take charge of Sunday’s match, a referee who has a history with the Liverpool manager.
Klopp protested against Tierney after his decision not to send Harry Kane off during the 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in December 2021.
The full-time manager told Tierney: “I have no problem with referees. Only you.”
10. Join us for coverage!
Liverpool vs Arsenal will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event, starting at 4.30pm (BST).
If you’re looking for a biased take on the proceedings, look no further than This Is Anfield’s live blog of the day, which will be available from 3.45pm.
A win please, Reds!
Liverpool and FSG can sign ideal Mohamed Salah foil with $55m transfer target faster than Kylian Mbappé
It would make sense for Liverpool to make a smart addition to their forwards to provide more options off the bench and make the most of their existing stars.
Liverpool’s recruitment squad will be fully aware of the task ahead of them in the summer as they look to renew Jürgen Klopp’s squad for next season. A versatile Spain international could be a savvy signing and help the Reds get the most out of a current superstar.
There is no doubt that addressing the dearth of options in problem areas such as central midfield, centre-back and goalkeeper will be high on the agenda at Anfield ahead of the upcoming transfer window, with a number of top-flight names that they will probably leave .
However, it might come as no surprise that Liverpool are also labeling the front line as an area that may need reinforcements with mainstay Roberto Firmino on the verge of leaving. An obvious cause for concern will be that this will leave the Reds with just four senior forwards for next season with three roles to fill. Furthermore, the burden on talismanic right winger Mohamed Salah has been quite heavy this season as the Egyptian lacks a clear backup, with the fact that he has played more minutes than any other Liverpool player on the pitch, making the Klopp’s dependence on the attacker.
Considering this, a move for Nico Williams from Athletic Club could be an attractive proposition for Liverpool, with the Reds potentially set to duel Aston Villa over his signature, according to AS. The exciting winger, who can play at either wing but has been deployed mainly on the right this season, has a $55m (£44m/€50m) release clause which could lead to him signing suitors from several clubs across the globe. elite this summer.
Like his brother Iñaki, the eight-time Spain international has been a loyal servant to his employers, exclusively representing the Basque giants throughout his La Liga career so far. There’s no doubt that this season has been the best of his career as the speedy winger has contributed to thirteen goals – seven goals and six assists – in 33 appearances in all competitions this season.
What will sound like music to Reds manager Klopp’s ears is that Williams also excelled at defending from up front, with the 20-year-old one of the best players in his position in Europe’s top five leagues at the moment. blocks in the last year. The rising star has averaged 1.46 blocks per 90 minutes in La Liga this season, which would put him in the top percentile of attacking midfielders and wingers, according to FBref, proving his suitability for a gegenpressing system like that used at Liverpool.
Furthermore, it is clear that Williams is a player who could be very effective when it comes to beating opposing defenders, which would give the Reds a real weapon on the counterattack, as well as an impact option from the bench. According to FBref, Williams is in the top six percent of players in Europe’s top five leagues in terms of average progressive transfers per 90 minutes and also in the top 11 percent for successful transfers.
Curiously, the Athletic Club star recorded the second fastest sprint speed at the World Cup in Qatar last year, with a speed of 35.59km/h, which was faster than both French superstar Kylian Mbappé and full-back Moroccan Achraf Hakimi. It’s clear Williams is a player who could prove devastating in future seasons, with his incredible pace now complemented by end products when it comes to goals and assists.
Naturally, Klopp will have a close eye on the development of top-flight winger Ben Doak, but at the tender age of just 17 and with just a handful of first-team appearances to his name for the Merseysiders, he is investing in a more experienced defender . -up for Salah makes sense. There is no mistaking the Scottish prodigy’s talent, but Liverpool will be wary of expecting too much too soon from the youngster they signed from Celtic last year.
Moreover, there is no doubt that Liverpool cannot continue to use first-choice right-winger Salah undeterred over his years. The legendary forward will turn 31 this summer and has played the most games for the red team this season and the most minutes for an outfield player at 3,413.
In many ways, signing Williams would make a lot of sense given his experience and talent, as the winger already looks set to become one of Europe’s most effective players in his position. A deal for the rising Spanish starlet would see Liverpool gain a player who will only improve while receiving the perfect foil for superstar Salah.
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