[Image] Saka out, Martinelli starts in 4-2-3-1: My Arsenal line-up vs Liverpool

By on April 2, 2021

gabriel martinelli 2019

Arsenal take on Liverpool in a huge game at the Emirates on Saturday night. This is the team I’d like to see Mikel Arteta select for the match…

Obviously Bernd Leno will keep his place between the sticks but I hope we see Arteta make a couple of changes to the defence that started during the 3-3 draw with West Ham before the international break. Gabriel should be recalled to start alongside David Luiz in the middle of the back four with Pablo Mari dropping to the bench.

Kieran Tierney is nailed-on to start at left-back but it will be interesting to see who the Arsenal boss goes with on the right. Calum Chambers did very well against West Ham while Cedric Soares hasn’t let us down recently. However, I’d go with Hector Bellerin against Liverpool tomorrow.

Thomas Partey should obviously start in midfield and Arsenal will need a big performance from him if we’re to beat Liverpool. Granit Xhaka will keep his place so the likes of Dani Ceballos and Mo Elneny will be on the bench.

Martin Odegaard has been one of Arsenal’s best players in recent weeks so I hope he keeps his place in the No.10 role. The on-loan Real Madrid youngster is fit after recovering from a minor ankle injury that he sustained while away with Norway.

However, Bukayo Saka is a major doubt for the game against Liverpool due to a thigh injury that forced him to withdraw from the England squad. Saka has been unable to train fully this week so he’s clearly not going to be fully fit. As much as he’ll be a big loss, it’s not worth risking him so a place on the bench is the best he should hope for.

Emile Smith Rowe is another player who’ll be assessed after he was forced out of the England U21 squad with a hip complaint. It’s a minor knock and Smith Rowe is expected to be available so I’d start him in the Arsenal attack.

We’ll need plenty of energy on the wings to cope with Liverpool’s attack-minded full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. For that reason, I’d love to see Gabriel Martinelli given a chance. With Saka likely to be out, there’s an opening available and Martinelli would work his socks off for the team.

That would also allow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to move back up front after he played out wide against West Ham. Alexandre Lacazette did well in that match but I prefer Auba through the middle so Laca can settle for a sub role against Liverpool.

Nicolas Pepe and Willian would be other attackers on the bench so Arteta would have plenty of options to bring on if we need to change the game or bring on fresh legs in the final third.

This would be my Arsenal line-up:

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