Liverpool v Arsenal team news and preview
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With Arsenal heading to Anfield for tomorrow’s late match at Anfield under fire Arsene Wenger needs a victory to consolidate his team’s top four place – as pressure increases on the beleaguered Frenchman.
As speculation intensifies about his future beyond this season, his side needs to achieve a positive result against Jurgen Klopp’s team, who have been struggling with poor results since the turn of the year.
Bar their comprehensive defeat of Spurs, the only other win the Reds have achieved in 2017 was at fourth tier Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup third round replay – with their current league position of fifth mostly down to impressive form prior to the new year.
Arsenal welcome back both Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny for the crucial clash that kicks off at 5.30pm.
The Welshman has missing the last four games with a calf strain but is now in the frame to play a part in Saturday evening’s match.
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Centre half Koscielny – who missed the Gunners FA Cup win fifth round win over non-league minnows Sutton United with a thigh injury picked up during his team’s humiliating 5-1 thrashing at Bayern Munich.
Santi Cazorla with a serious achilles injury is a long-term absentee while fellow midfielder Mohamed Elneny (ankle) is not due to return until later this month as the earliest.
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Opta statistics show Klopp’s side are unbeaten in their last three home Premier League games against Arsenal with two draws and a win. The fixture has seen a feast of goals with 16 goals netted in that trio of games at Anfield at an average of more than five per game – with last January’s thrilling topsy-turvey 3-3 draw living long in the memory.
Liverpool have only kept a brace of clean sheets in their last 22 Premier League games against the North Londoners and none in their 10 meetings at Anfield since a 1-0 win in February 2006.
Klopp aims to become the first Liverpool manager since Gerard Houllier in 1999/2000 to do clinch a Premier League home/away double over Arsene Wenger in a single season – but striker Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last seven Premier League appearances against Liverpool, including three in his last two at Anfield, and will be hoping for more tomorrow if selected.
The only Arsenal player in Premier League history with more Premier League goals versus Liverpool than Olivier Giroud – with five strikes – is Thierry Henry who hit eight. Andrey Arshavin has five alongside Giroud – including all four in the never-to-be-forgotten 4-4 draw in April 2008.
Wenger – and the 3,000 travelling fans heading to the cauldron of Anfield will hope their team can continue the substantial number of goals they have scored against the Reds, while hoping they can tighten up defensively.
Arsenal (from): Cech, Ospina, Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Gibbs, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Perez, Sanchez, Giroud.