Liverpool v Arsenal, Premier League
Saturday 24th August, Kick-off, 5:30pm
Preview by Will Reilly
It is first versus second in the Premier League table, both teams boasting 100% records after their first two league matches this season.
It is a fitting scene-setter for a game that has become one of the most-iconic Premier League fixtures – from Robbie Fowler’s 4m33sec hat-trick in 1995 to Andrey Arshavin’s four goals in a 4-4 Anfield thriller in 2009 to Liverpool’s recent domination.
The Reds are now unbeaten against The Gunners in their last eight meetings, home and away, and Arsenal haven’t won at Anfield since 2012.
The last three league games between the sides in Liverpool have ended 5-1, 4-0 and 3-1 in the home side’s favour. Roberto Firmino has scored five goals in those games and has, in fact, scored more goals against Arsenal than any other Premier League side he has faced.
Furthermore, Liverpool have scored three-or-more goals in home league matches against The Gunners in five of their last six meetings, and in the other one they scored twice.
Just for good measure, Sadio Mané has scored three goals in Liverpool’s last three home games against Arsenal while Mo Salah has chipped in with two.
For their part, Arsenal have scored on 15 of their last 17 league visits to Anfield. The trouble is, they have lost eight of those games and won just five and, as mentioned earlier, haven’t picked up three points at Liverpool since 2012.
A couple of other points: Arsenal haven’t won their opening three games in a Premier League season since 2004 and no Premier League fixture has seen more hat-tricks (6), than this one, the latest coming from Roberto Firmino last year.
It’s worth repeating that Liverpool won 14 of their last 15 games last season in all competitions and 18 of their last 24 (drawing five).
They lost just one Premier League game all season (2-1 at Man City on Jan 3rd), winning 30 of their 38 matches. They won their last seven home league matches, scoring 23 goals and keeping five clean sheets.
They have started this season by winning 4-1 versus Norwich at Anfield and 2-1 at Southampton, which was a very commendable effort given that they had travelled to Istanbul three days earlier for a Super Cup match played in extreme heat – which they eventually won against Chelsea on penalties.
Arsenal kept only five clean sheets in their last 25 Premier League matches last season and kept just one clean sheet away from home all season in their 2018/19 league campaign.
Both teams scored in nine of their last 15 league games last season, although they have started this season well, winning 1-0 at Newcastle and 2-1 at home to Burnley, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring in each of those matches.
Alisson Becker (calf) is still sidelined, as is Naby Keita, who picked up a muscle injury this week in training. Joel Matip is likely to keep his place in the team ahead of Joe Gomez, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri are all likely to be on the bench.
Granit Xhaka (bruising to lower back and leg) is being assessed, Hector Bellerin (knee) is continuing with his rehab, Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) is unavailable, Rob Holding (knee) is still recovering but is back training with the first team, while Kieren Tierney (groin) is expected to be back in full training in October.
Oh, and it’s a ‘Double The Odds On First Goalscorer Bets’ match with us. Firmino has scored first in two of the last three league meetings at Anfield between these sides, and scored the second goal in the other. He is 5/1 to score first on Saturday.