Liverpool Vs Arsenal Preview: A High Scoring Entertainer on the Cards

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Liverpool versus Arsenal games are rarely boring. Although there have been many draws between them but at least recently, most of those draws have been goal fests. In the last ten games in all competitions between the two sides, there have been four draws, but only one was a 0-0 draw. In fact, that goalless draw was the only game out of the ten to have had fewer than two goals. The two sides have scored 41 goals in these ten encounters dating back to January 2013. The latest encounter between the two teams will take place on Sunday.

History

These two clubs are a part of an elite group of six clubs that have never been relegated from the Premier League. Thus in 25 seasons, they have met each other 50 times. Of those 50, Liverpool have won 18, Arsenal 15 and 17 games ended in a draw.  In the 25 matches at Anfield, Liverpool have won 11, Arsenal 6 and 8 have been without a winner.

As a Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp has never lost to Arsenal, having won both the games last season after drawing the home game of his debut season with Liverpool. Arsene Wenger has faced Liverpool 50 times in all competitions, and he has won 19, lost 15 and drawn 16 times.

Team News

After having beaten Hoffenheim comprehensively in the Champions League playoffs, and with an international break looming beyond the Arsenal game, Klopp can be expected to field the same side that started against the Germans. He would not want to miss out on getting more goals from the red hot from his attack and midfield displayed on Wednesday.

One change he might make could feature Robertson regaining the left back position from Moreno. Daniel Sturridge, James Milner and Joe Gomez will be unlucky not to start but could be great alternatives off the bench. Long-time absentees Nathaniel Clyne, Mamadou Sakho, and Philippe Coutinho will not feature, despite Klopp expecting the latter back after the international break.

Arsene Wenger has started with a 3-4-2-1 formation in both the two games played by his team. He has had to fill his back three with full-backs at times, but he has stuck to this formation. He is expected to start with the same formation but welcomes Laurent Koscielny in central defence. His talisman from last season – Alexis Sanchez is also likely to be available and could start. There should be no changes in other personnel, including Lacazette up top, Ozil in advanced midfield and Xhaka and Ramsey in the middle of the park, as well as Giroud off the bench.

Stats

The two teams are quite evenly matched in their strengths as well as failings. Both of them are sharp in attack, and a bit shaky in defence.

Arsenal are better in possession – keeping the ball for 42.0 minutes per day, compared to 40.2 for Liverpool. They keep 68% possession, compared to 59% for the Reds and their pass success % is also higher at 86% vs 79% this season. Conversely, Liverpool have enjoyed more aerial success winning 56% duels vs 43% for Arsenal.

In the attack, Arsenal shoot more per match (23 vs 19) and primarily from inside the penalty area (14 vs 6 shots). Liverpool shoot more from outside the penalty area (13 vs 9), but their shot quality is better thus resulting in higher expected goals (2.76 vs 1.98). This is interesting because this means that Liverpool have scored fewer goals than what they should be scoring, perhaps because they have faced highly defensive opponents in Watford and Crystal Palace so far.

In defence, as expected Liverpool tackle a lot more (22 vs 19 per match), while Arsenal intercept more (10 vs 8.5) and put in more clearances (19.5 vs 16.5). But it seems that Liverpool’s methods have worked better as they have conceded 6.5 shots versus Arsenal’s 8.5 shots. However, this again could be more due to them facing defensive teams, while Arsenal have faced Leicester in the first match.

Overall, Arsenal’s attackers and midfielders have got a better WhoScored rating, compared to Liverpool’s attackers and midfielders. But the Reds’ defenders have got a better rating than Arsenal.

Verdict

It is unusual for Arsenal, but they were not involved in the Champions League group stage draw yesterday. They will be participating in the Europa League group stage draw today. This is a reality that Arsenal cannot get used to and to change it for the next season; they have to ensure that they earn points against the league’s top six. This is the first big match of the season for both the teams and both will want to get the maximum number of points. With the prolific attacks and leaky defences that both teams have, we can expect a high scoring affair. But I think both the teams are too even to call it either way. I believe it will be a draw.

Liverpool 2 – 2 Arsenal

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