Liverpool v Arsenal: Premier League

Liverpool v Arsenal 2014

Today’s late kick off sees Liverpool v Arsenal from Anfield with the Reds returning back to winning form against championship leaders Bournemouth midweek.

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Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli serves a one-match ban for breaking Football Association rules  regarding his ‘tweet’ and defender Dejan Lovren is a doubt, while Daniel Sturridge and Glen Johnson remain out.

Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nacho Monreal and Theo Walcott all face fitness tests. Calum Chambers is back from suspension, but midfielder Aaron Ramsey could miss all of the Gunners’ Christmas fixtures with a hamstring injury.


Liverpool thrashed Arsenal 5-1 in this fixture last season, but it’s difficult to see anything like a repeat this time around. Liverpool’s form has nosedived dramatically this season, although Arsenal are still prone to dodgy away performances.

The key to the tactical battle here is Brendan Rodgers’ formation choice. He’s played a variety of shapes so far this season, and for the last two matches – a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United and a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth – has turned to a 3-4-3 formation.

Raheem Sterling is likely to continue as Liverpool’s main forward and with Laurent Koscielny out, Sterling will fancy his chances against both Per Mertesacker, who lacks pace, and Calum Chambers, who has a tendency to dive into tackles. He scored two in this fixture last year, and it’s worth backing him to get another here at 3.8

Adam Lallana and Coutinho will support Sterling by drifting from wide into central positions, allowing the wing-backs forward on the overlap. Jordan Henderson should play on the right, while Alberto Moreno will probably be preferred over Lazar Markovic on the left, despite the latter’s goal in midweek.

The real issue is at the back. Three of Kolo Toure, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho will start, and while all four are decent defenders on paper, there’s little sign of a good relationship between any of them, and Liverpool are repeatedly making needless defensive errors to gift the opposition goals.

The pace of Arsenal on the break could expose the space either side of the back three – see how Antonio Valencia got space in the opening stages at Old Trafford last weekend, creating Wayne Rooney’s opener – we struggle to see how Liverpool will keep a clean sheet with a three-man defence.

Arsenal are likely to boast tremendous speed. Olivier Giroud should spearhead the side, but Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck will expect to continue on the flanks, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain through the centre.

Santi Cazorla has been in fine form in the middle, though the concern for Arsenal is deep in midfield, where Mathieu Flamini hasn’t been particularly convincing this season. With Coutinho and Lallana drifting inside, Arsenal could become overloaded in that position, allowing Liverpool to provide Sterling with through-balls.



  • Liverpool won this fixture 5-1 last season thanks to two goals each from Martin Skrtel and Raheem Sterling and one from Luis Suarez. Four of those goals came in the first 20 minutes.
  • That was only Liverpool’s second win over Arsenal in their last 14 Premier League meetings.
  • Arsenal won the other two matches they played against Liverpool last season – 2-0 in the league and 2-1 in the FA Cup fifth round, both at the Emirates.
  • Liverpool v Arsenal has seen more hat-tricks (five) than any other fixture in Premier League history.
  • There have been four 90th minute or later goals in the last six league meetings between the sides at Anfield.


  • Liverpool’s midweek win over Bournemouth was only their third in their last 11 games in all competitions.
  • The Reds have failed to score in five league games this season, two more than in the whole of last season.
  • Based on three points for a win, Liverpool’s tally of 21 points is their lowest after 16 games since 1964-65.
  • Mario Balotelli has had more shots (42 – including blocked) than any other player yet to score in the top flight this season.


  • After drawing five of their first eight league games, Arsenal have drawn none of their subsequent eight (W5 L3).
  • They have only lost one of their last six matches in all competitions.
  • The Gunners have only failed to score in one league game this season.
  • Alexis Sanchez has scored (seven) or assisted (four) 11 of Arsenal’s last 17 league goals (65{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6}).

Suggested Bets…..

Basically, there’s likely to be goals at both ends here – neither team is convincing at the back. However, whereas Liverpool’s approach is likely to be one-dimensional and based entirely around Sterling,

Arsenal have the pace of Welbeck and Sanchez, the poaching of Giroud, the creativity of Cazorla and the power of Oxlade-Chamberlain and we see them winning the ultimate battle…and the match.

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Back Sterling to score @ 3.8

Back more goals in 2nd half at 1.81

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