MX23RW : Thursday, July 16 22:47:54| >> :60:571:571:
Jul 15, 2020 at 8.15pm UK at Emirates Stadium
Lacazette (32'), Nelson (44')
Torreira (46'), Xhaka (81'), Ceballos (90+1')
FT(HT: 2-1)

Preview: Arsenal vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday night's Premier League showdown between Arsenal and champions Liverpool, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Champions Liverpool continue their quest for more Premier League history when they take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

Jurgen Klopp's side suffered a setback in their pursuit of top-flight immortality at the weekend, while the Gunners will be looking to bounce back from their North London derby defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Match preview

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on July 11, 2020© Reuters

Whatever happens in the final fortnight of the 2019-20 Premier League season, Liverpool's exploits will go down in history - they shattered numerous records and wrapped up the title two games faster than any other team has ever managed in the English top flight before.

However, while the supporters would undoubtedly be content with 'only' ending their 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England, a tame end to the campaign would threaten to take some of the gloss off their remarkable achievements.

It was not long ago - at least in terms of games played - that Liverpool were being touted as possible Invincibles and treble-winners and looked certain to break Manchester City's 100-point record, having picked up 26 wins and one draw from their opening 27 games.

They have since won four, drawn two and lost two of their last eight top-flight outings, in addition to being knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup - by no means enough to ruin their campaign, but certainly a drop-off in their previously unheard-of form.

Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Burnley means that Klopp's side must now win all three of their remaining games - against Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United - to break the points record, or take seven points from the nine available to equal it.

Liverpool's front three Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane celebrate scoring against Crystal Palace in June 2020© Reuters

The champions are more than capable of doing exactly that, of course, but those three teams will be feeling a lot more optimistic about taking points off the Reds now than they were before lockdown.

The Burnley draw brought an end to Liverpool's incredible winning run at Anfield as they dropped points at home in the league for the first time since January 2019, and their recent away form has actually been poor.

Last week's 3-1 triumph at Brighton & Hove Albion ended a five-match winless and goalless streak on their travels across all competitions, during which time they conceded 10 goals without reply.

Of course, these recent struggles also need to be kept in perspective; Liverpool have still amassed 10 points more than any other team away from home this season, and victory on Wednesday would see them break all-time club records for both most away wins and most wins overall in a single campaign.

Klopp's side are now battling against those legends of the past for their place in the historical rankings of England's greatest ever teams, rather than any contemporary rivals this season, and while the manager has claimed that he is not interested in that, there would be a small sense of a missed opportunity if they fail to capitalise fully on such an incredible start.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on July 7, 2020© Reuters

More than one Arsenal side is in that same conversation of English football's best ever teams, but the current crop are a million miles away and the scale of the job facing Mikel Arteta was once again laid out for all to see during Sunday's derby with Spurs.

There were positives for the Gunners as they dominated the game for long spells, but they gifted Spurs both goals and it remains impossible to rely on such a shaky defence.

Arsenal have now thrown away a whopping 21 points from winning positions this season - a tally which, if added to their current points total, would leave them third in the table, only a point behind Manchester City and with Champions League football for next term already secured.

As it is, the derby defeat saw them slip to ninth, level on points with Burnley and with the possibility of a top-four finish now beyond them.

Instead, Arsenal's eyes must now be on qualifying for the Europa League again, although that could also prove problematic with seventh-placed Sheffield United four points ahead with only nine left to play for.

Arsenal players celebrate scoring against Wolves on July 4, 2020© Reuters

The derby defeat should not cast complete doom and gloom over the club, though, as they had been making noticeable progress under Arteta before that, winning four and drawing one of their previous five games.

The Gunners can also boast an unbeaten home record in the Premier League this calendar year - a run which includes five wins and two draws, most recently being held by Champions League-chasing Leicester City.

Wednesday's match will be Arsenal's penultimate of the season at the Emirates, with Aston Villa away to come before hosting Watford on the final day - two games which look kind on paper but will come against teams fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table.

It has been a difficult run for Arsenal recently too, with four successive league games against teams currently above them in the Premier League table and an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City to come at the weekend.

The FA Cup may be Arsenal's priority now given the damaging nature of the derby defeat on their league position, but Arteta has already shown during his time in charge that he will not accept a drop-off in any competition regardless of its importance between now and the end of the campaign.

Arsenal Premier League form: LWWWDL
Arsenal form (all competitions): WWWWDL

Liverpool Premier League form: DWLWWD
Liverpool form (all competitions): DWLWWD

Team News

Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah after being handed a red card against Leicester City on July 7, 2020.© Reuters

Arsenal will once again be without suspended striker Eddie Nketiah for this match as he serves the second of his two-game ban following his red card against Leicester.

Alexandre Lacazette made a statement in his absence with a thunderous opener in the derby, and he is likely to lead the line again with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in support.

The match features a number of Golden Boot hopefuls, with Aubameyang, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane all looking to retain the award, having shared it in a three-way tie last season.

Mesut Ozil remains a major doubt for the home side as he continues to struggle with a back injury, while Matteo Guendouzi is out of contention following a bust-up with Arteta.

Gabriel Martinelli, Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers are all expected to miss the remainder of the season for Arsenal, who have been hit badly by injuries since the restart.

Liverpool will also be without two key players for the remainder of the campaign - captain Jordan Henderson missing out with a knee injury and Joel Matip sidelined due to a toe problem.

Klopp is being cautious with the fitness of James Milner too, and the veteran midfielder is again expected to be absent for this one after missing out against Burnley entirely.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita are among the players who will be pushing for a recall to the starting XI, while Klopp must again decide whether to rotate one of his front three.

All of them boast impressive records against the Gunners, with Salah scoring six goals in six meetings, Mane notching four times in seven games since joining Liverpool and Roberto Firmino scoring eight times in nine appearances - his best record against any opponent.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Sokratis, Luiz, Holding; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Head To Head

Arsenal have a torrid record in this fixture recently, failing to win any of the last 10 meetings across all competitions and nine in the Premier League stretching back to April 2015.

They are often entertaining affairs too, with the most recent showdown ending 5-5 in the EFL Cup in October - Liverpool winning on penalties - and the last nine meetings producing 49 goals at an average of more than 5.4 per game.

The reverse fixture in the Premier League saw Liverpool run out 3-1 winners in August, with Salah grabbing a brace.

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We say: Arsenal 2-3 Liverpool

The one thing seemingly guaranteed when these two sides face each other is goals - everything else is very up in the air heading into this one. Liverpool are stuttering in comparison to their form over the rest of the campaign, but know that only a win will do if they have a chance to surpassing Man City's record points tally.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have been on a good run at home and know that they can ill-afford to drop any more points if they are to qualify for the Europa League via their league position next season.

Both sides are likely to be gunning for victory, then, and that should play into the hands of Liverpool more than Arsenal. The visiting front three look ideally suited to take advantage of Arsenal's defensive issues, and we can see that being the difference between the two sides in an entertaining game.


Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Liverpool?

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Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld celebrates scoring against Arsenal in the Premier League on July 12, 2020
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rhs 2.0
2Manchester CityMan City36243993355875
4Leicester CityLeicester361881067363162
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd361711863352862
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves361414849381156
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs3615101157461155
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd361412103835354
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle361110153755-1843
14Crystal Palace36119163047-1742
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton36813153753-1637
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham3597194459-1534
19Aston Villa3687213966-2731
20Norwich CityNorwich3656252668-4221

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