Venue: Anfield Stadium, Liverpool
Date: Monday, September 28, 2020
The Gunners head north to Merseyside to take on Liverpool for the first of two meetings between the sides in less than a week. The good news for Arsenal is that Mikel Arteta has so far had the better of Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, with the Spaniard boasting a 100% record against The Reds that is the envy of many sides in the top flight. This includes a 2-1 win at the back end of last season, albeit after Liverpool had clinched the title and seemingly taken their foot off of the gas a touch.
This is an important early game in the season as the two sides sit third and fourth in the fledgling Premier League table having both won their opening two games. Arsenal is in third after a couple of London derby victories which saw them beat Fulham 3-0 and West Ham 2-1. Liverpool, meanwhile, is in fourth place thanks to a hard-fought 4-3 win over Leeds on the opening day of the season and a 2-0 win over Chelsea – the most impressive win of the four – last Sunday.
There is a chance we could see the metronomic Thiago Alcantara make his first start for Liverpool on Monday night following his summer move from Bayern Munich. Thiago is a good enough player to start on his own merit, but Klopp may find that his hand is forced if Fabinho is again required to play in central defense to cover for injury issues at the position. Jordan Henderson will also be missing for The Reds here.
It is eight years since the Gunners last picked up a win at Anfield, a game so long ago that Arteta was in the Arsenal side that day. The Arsenal form – especially away from home – against the big clubs has been poor in recent years and a result here would go a long way towards suggesting that the manager’s rebuild is working.
Arsenal has been playing with a back three so far this season and David Luiz is back in contention for a place in the league after returning from a neck problem in their cup win over Leicester in midweek. Anything good that the Gunners do will likely come through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though it is worth noting that Willian has had a very successful start to his Arsenal career and that the Brazilian gives the side an extra cutting edge that has been missing in recent times.
Arsenal certainly feel like they have narrowed the gap to Liverpool compared with where the two sides were 12 months ago. Any team with Abuameyang, Willian, and Lacazette as a front three is going to be capable of causing problems for a defense. Liverpool looked shaky at the back against Leeds by their standards, but their attack looks as ruthless as ever with this high pressing style and ability to create both against a packed defense and on the break. I like Arsenal to nick a goal here, but I am not sure they will do enough to win. Taking the draw at 3.75 with BetXChange is the value bet.