Liverpool will be desperate to keep their Champions League hopes alive as they take on Arsenal at the Emirates tonight.
Neither Liverpool nor Arsenal have had a memorable campaign so far but the issues plaguing either side are quite different. While Liverpool’s injury issues have acted as an impediment to their steady progress, Arsenal are still trying to find an identity under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal haven’t won successive games in the Premier League since January and went into the international break without a win in their last two matches. Meanwhile, Liverpool registered successive wins right before the international break and the Kop will be hoping that is an indication of the side settling down.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at five reasons why Liverpool will beat Arsenal tonight.
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#5 Liverpool’s good away form this
Although Anfield has been breached multiple times this year to the point that it’s starting to get a bit embarrassing, Liverpool have showcased good form away from home.
Jurgen Klopp’s team have won seven of their last eight games away from home which is quite impressive. They recently eliminated RB Leipzig from the UEFA Champions League and were able to easily dispatch the Bundesliga outfit 2-0 in enemy territory.
Liverpool have been uncharacteristically vulnerable at home but they’ve been able to keep their necks above the water this season thanks to their away form this season and will fancy their chances as they travel to take on Arsenal tonight.
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#4 Arsenal’s bluntness in attack and defensive problems
Arsenal could be without Bukayo Saka for their game against Liverpool tonight. The youngster pulled out of the England squad for the international break due to fitness issues. Emile Smith-Rowe is also a doubt after missing the game against Croatia u-21’s during the international break.
In the absence of Bukayo Saka, Arsenal could be quite blunt in attack. The youngster has been their creator-in-chief on many occasions. But there’s only so much a 19-year-old can do. Martin Odegaard’s arrival has added a bit of a spark to their midfield.
Arsenal have also not been able to keep a cleansheet since their goalless draw against Manchester United back in January. In their most recent Premier League game, they conceded three first-half goals against West Ham before pulling off a remarkable comeback in the second half to draw the game.
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#3 Fabinho playing CDM helps unlock the playmaking abilities of Thiago and Wijnaldum
Although it’s three of their main centre-backs that Liverpool are missing, their midfield and attack have suffered too. In the absence of their go-to centre-back options, Fabinho has had to slot in at centre-back and this has curbed Liverpool’s control in the midfield realms.
Now that Fabinho will be playing in defensive midfield as Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak have done a decent job in defense, Thiago and Georginio Wijnaldum will be able to play with a lot more freedom.
Thiago Alcantara has looked a little lost in the center of the pitch and has not been able to gel well with his new teammates. Fabinho is a player who can play to his teammates’ strengths and he will be key to unlocking Thiago’s playmaking abilities.
#2 The return of Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino adds depth to Liverpool’s
Liverpool’s attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been nearly unstoppable over the past few years. However, they have been nowhere near their best this term. While the frontline wasn’t clicking early in the season, Diogo Jota’s introduction proved to be really effective.
The Portuguese attacker was sidelined for almost three months due to injury but has now returned. In his last four games for both club and country, Jota has scored four goals and provided an assist. He will add some much-needed dynamism to Liverpool’s attack.
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#1 Ozan Kabak – Nat Phillips partnership has settled down and worked in the last few games
Liverpool have had several injury concerns throughout the season but it is the absence of their first-choice center backs that has affected them the most.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have all been sidelined and this forced Liverpool to field Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to play in defense, thereby relinquishing a fair amount of control in midfield. However, they’ve been able to restore some stability at the back in recent times.
January signing Ozan Kabak has held the fort down with Nathaniel Phillips at centre-back. They have kept clean-sheets in their last two matches. This will, in turn, enable Fabinho to play in his preferred role in defensive midfield.
As a result, they will be stronger in attack and it will enable Liverpool to play their natural game.