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Preview: Liverpool v Arsenal: team news, Welbeck to start + prediction
Arsenal desperately need a top performance when we take on top-four rivals Liverpool at Anfield this evening.
The race for Champions League qualification couldn’t be much tighter with just five points separating second from sixth so it’s vital we get something today.
At the time of writing, Arsenal occupy fourth spot but we could find ourselves in fifth by the time kick off comes around if United beat Bournemouth at Old Trafford in the lunchtime kick off.
A win for us at Anfield would not only enhance our top four chances but it would give the team a much-needed morale boost as we really need a big performance away to one of our rivals.
Our record in horrendous having won just two of our last 18 trips to the other ‘big 6’ teams so that has to be addressed if we’re to become a title challenger again.
The good news is that Liverpool are just as inconsistent as us and a 3-1 defeat at Leicester City last Monday made it just one win in their last seven league games.
There are conflicting reports on the fitness of Ozil with most outlets claiming he’s been ruled out after apparently failing to recover from illness but the Daily Mail seem to think he has travelled to Merseyside and a late decision will be made. He hasn’t trained in recent days so I think it will be difficult for the German international to start even if he is with the squad.
Ramsey is back in contention though after recovering from a calf injury that’s kept him out for a month while Koscielny is also set to return from a hamstring injury.
Giroud and Welbeck are in the squad but Elneny has been ruled out for three weeks with an ankle injury suffered against Sutton United last month.
As for Liverpool, they expect to have Lovren back in the team after he returned to training following a knee injury but Henderson has been ruled out with a foot problem while Sturridge is also out due to a hip injury.
With Ozil expected to miss out, I think it’s time to tinker with the system and play three in midfield with Xhaka at the base. I’d then go with Oxlade-Chamberlain and while Wenger is almost certain to start Coquelin, I’d go with Ramsey if he’s 100% fit.
I’d love to see Welbeck start through the middle with Alexis and Walcott on the wings. That pace and movement would cause Liverpool plenty of problems.
This would be my team:
For Liverpool, this is how I expect to see them line-up:
Mignolet – Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner – Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana – Coutinho, Mane, Firmino
Arsenal v Liverpool games are usually full of bad defending, excitement and late goals, and I think we’re going to see more of the same tonight. Our record at Anfield isn’t too bad and I personally don’t think we’ll lose this game but it will all come down to how we cope with their pressure and intensity.
Jurgen Klopp will be demanding a response following their poor showing at Leicester and this is the kind of game their players will be right up for. Can we say the same about the Arsenal players? If we can survive the early onslaught then I fancy us to edge it in the second half.
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal