Preview: Arsenal v Liverpool


Jurgen Klopp has called on his players to maintain their defensive solidity when they face Arsenal at the Emirates on Friday Night Football.

Liverpool suffered a resounding defeat in their last game against a north London side when Spurs beat them 4-1 at Wembley in October but since then they have conceded just four goals in their last nine league games

Klopp said: “We have to be ready for a different challenge on Friday. It is Arsenal and they have quite a talented group there and they can create chances.

“We need to be spot-on, but all the players need to be spot-on in this specific part of the game.”

Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, expects a response from his players following their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool in the reverse fixture in August.

Goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge handed Liverpool a commanding victory in what proved to be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s final game as an Arsenal player.

“When you have such a long career as I have, you have some defeats unfortunately that hurt you for the rest of your life,” Wenger said.

“I believe what is interesting in football is you always have a time to make up for it. When you can put things right, do it.

“So let’s focus on what is in front of us and turn up on Friday night with a completely different performance.”

Team news

Arsenal will be without Olivier Giroud after the striker was forced off in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win over West Ham with a hamstring injury. The Frenchman is likely to miss the majority of Arsenal’s festive fixtures.

“It doesn’t look very good for him,” said Wenger. “I think he’s out of Friday night.”

Francis Coquelin also hobbled out of that game but could still be in contention although Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) is missing, as is long-term absentee Santi Cazorla (ankle). Wenger should be able to call on defender Shkodran Mustafi following a thigh injury.

Alberto Moreno (ankle) and Nathaniel Clyne (back) will definitely miss out for Liverpool while Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) and Joel Matip (muscle) are highly unlikely to feature.

On Matip’s fitness, Klopp said: “Joel Matip was back in training yesterday (on Thursday). We’re not sure if he’s ready for Arsenal but, for the games coming up, we’re pretty sure.”

Adam Lallana could be in contention to make his first start of the season after coming on for the final 20 minutes against Bournemouth last weekend having overcome a hamstring injury.

Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka and Dejan Lovren, meanwhile, are all in danger of picking up a one-match ban if they are booked in the game which would rule them out of their club’s Boxing Day fixtures.

Opta stats

Arsenal have lost their last three Premier League games against Liverpool – they have not lost four in a row against them since May 1998.

Liverpool have scored at least three goals in each of their four Premier League matches against Arsenal under Jurgen Klopp, scoring 14 goals in total (W3 D1).

This is just the third post-war league match between these sides on a Friday – in April 2004, Arsenal won 4-2 at Highbury with Thierry Henry scoring a hat-trick; the other was the title decider in May 1989 at Anfield with Michael Thomas scoring a last-minute goal to clinch the title for Arsenal on goals scored in a 2-0 win.

Liverpool are the first team in top-flight history to have won four consecutive away games by a margin of at least three goals.

Arsenal have won 13 of their last 14 Premier League games at the Emirates, losing the other against Manchester United (1-3) at the start of the month.

Petr Cech (199 clean sheets) is one clean sheet away from becoming the first ever goalkeeper to record 200 shutouts in the Premier League – however, he has conceded 14 goals in his five games against Liverpool for Arsenal; at least six more than he has against any other side.

Sadio Mane has scored in each of his last three Premier League games against Arsenal, and only four players have previously scored in four consecutive PL games against the Gunners – Tomasz Radzinski and Peter Beardsley (four in a row) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Harry Kane (five).

© Sky Sports


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