After a long summer absence, Premier League football makes its much-anticipated return to Emirates Stadium on Sunday with Arsenal taking on Merseysiders Liverpool.
Arsenal have played against Liverpool 48 occasions, and especially at home, Arsenal have found a way to win 18% of the time. This next clash could be different though considering their pre-season forms coming into Sunday’s game.
While pre-season form is not generally a reliable indicator of what is to come, it certainly doesn’t hurt when the teams are do well.
In five matches, Arsenal have recorded four wins, one draw and have scored 17 goals. The summer stats make for encouraging reading.
Pre-season results have been mixed for Liverpool, and while a 4-0 demolition of Barcelona at Wembley certainly raised some eyebrows, defeat by the same scoreline to German side Mainz will have given Klopp food for thought.
Last season, Liverpool had to dig very deep to at Anfield to secure a 3-3 draw against their Sunday opponents after holding their Sunday host to a goalless draw in the first leg at the Emirates.
But over the summer, Arsenal have strengthened with the acquisitions of Rob Holding and Granit Xhaka from Bolton and Borussia Mochengladbach respectively. Liverpool have also brought in Sadio Mane from Southampton for £36m and Loris Karius from Mainz for £4.7m.
Arsenal: D W W W W
Liverpool: L W L W L
Head to head – Last 5 clashes
Arsenal: W1 D3 L1
Liverpool: W1 D3 L1
The Gunners’ faithfuls despite the arrivals of Xhaka and Holding are already complaining about their side’s lack of signings and they are currently short of fit centre-halves following injuries to Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Carl Jenkinson while Euro 2016 finalists Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud are not match fit..
Liverpool have injury problems too with Daniel Sturridge and James Milner sidelined with respective hip and heel injuries but I think Arsenal will bag maximum points on Sunday.
Arsenal: “I’m very happy with the way we prepared. I felt the quality of preparation was there, the focus was there, the team spirit is there… but now we want to transform all that work into points.” – Arsène Wenger
Liverpool: “Consistency is the only way to be successful. All of these big jumps in performance, up and down, don’t help. What we’ve tried to do in pre-season is to be more independent to the style of play of the other team. If they defend deep, we cannot change it – we cannot say, ‘come on, it’s boring, give us a little bit of space to play’.
“If they only play counter-attack, if they play high pressure, all that stuff, you need to always have a solution. That’s what we were working on.” – Jurgen Klopp