They say never return to the scene of the crime.
While no crime was committed at Anfield – other than Liverpool being streaks ahead of the rest – Arsenal are already back on Merseyside for Carabao Cup fourth round action on Thursday.
On Monday, Mikel Arteta’s side put in a far greater performance than we’ve seen from a Gunners side on such turf recently, but for all the magnificent work he’s doing, there is only so far inferior players can take you.
Obvious flaws in midfield were laid bare, while the outstanding quality of control Jurgen Klopp’s side possess make matches against the Reds clashes ones to be feared, not excited for.
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It will be a vastly different lineup for both teams, though. Expect wholesale changes as both managers seek to freshen their squads for the congested fixture list, while we can also hope for a more even contest as a result.
A composed 2-0 win over Leicester last time out in the competition ‘granted’ Arsenal this midweek honour, at the sight of their exit last season at the very same stage in a quite ludicrous 5-5 draw.
Here’s your preview of Thursday’s encounter.
How to Watch on TV
When Is Kick Off? Thursday 1st October
What Time Is Kick Off? 19:45 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Anfield
TV Channel/Live Stream? fuboTV (US)
Referee? Kevin Friend
Emile Smith Rowe is still out of action following an injury to his right shoulder, but while he is due to return to full training this week, the Anfield clash may come too soon for the versatile forward.
In defence, Kieran Tierney has returned from injury but is unlikely to start with the Gunners back in Premier League action on Sunday.
There are two defenders who may earn first team minutes, with Sokratis back in fully training following a calf strain, and likewise for Cedric Soares, who is back from a similar injury. Both are in with a chance to start.
Otherwise, Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah are all in line to feature in the starting XI.
For Liverpool, Thiago Alcantara will continue to wait for his first start for the club, after testing positive for COVID-19.
Skipper Jordan Henderson will have a late fitness test but is expected to be fit, while former Gunner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to be sidelined for a number of weeks with another injury. Joel Matip is still short.
Liverpool: Adrian; Williams, Williams, Gomez, Tsimikas; Jones, Gruijic, Shaqiri; Elliott, Minamino, Origi
Arsenal: Runarsson; Holding, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Cedric, Willock, Xhaka, Saka; Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson
Not much has changed from Monday’s clash other than one side maintaining their winning start to the season while the other has suffered their first defeat.
Liverpool were head and heels above Arsenal at Anfield, reminding us all – who didn’t need reminding anyway – that they’re the best side in the country. Despite Alexandre Lacazette opening the scoring with a scuffed shot off the back of an Andrew Robertson error, the Reds hit back immediately, then scored the second goal before half time that their performance warranted.
There could have been a chance to snatch a point, but Lacazette fluffed his lines and Jota sealed the deal close to the end. Looked like handball, though.
Both sides reached this stage of the Carabao Cup with comfortable wins in the third round. Liverpool brushed Lincoln City aside with a romping 7-2 win, while Arsenal looked mostly untroubled in their 2-0 success at Leicester.
A first blip in the road for Arsenal is quickly forgotten about as Anfield looms large again. Their defeat was them being outclassed, not overly poor in certain areas. There are weaknesses, sure, but there is nothing that can be solved without dipping into the transfer market.
Klopp’s side march on and continue their winning streak, with the club now three years and five months into an unbeaten home Premier League record. Just farcical.
Here is how each side has fared in their last five fixtures.
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal (28/09)
Lincoln 2-7 Liverpool (24/09)
Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool (20/09)
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds (12/09)
Liverpool 7-2 Blackpool (05/09)
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal (28/09)
Leicester 0-2 Arsenal (23/09)
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham (19/09)
Fulham 0-3 Arsenal (12/09)
Arsenal 1(5)-1(4) Liverpool (29/08)
While Arsenal can expect an entirely different clash on Thursday – one without Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah-shaped menaces – it doesn’t mean they’ll suddenly turn up and win. Liverpool’s second string is nowhere near the same quality as their starting lineup, but there are still enough weapons there to cause damage.
This is a game where Pepe has to step up. Against inexperienced defenders, he has to put in a performance that warrants no less than an 8/10. Simple as that.
Nelson showed he can be a serious threat with more match sharpness under his belt, while the King Power Stadium clashed showed good link up play between himself and Saka down the left flank.
That exciting forward line with Nketiah could prove a handful, which will make for a more even encounter, we can hope.
I think we can prepare for an interesting contest. Liverpool’s youngsters will want to impress enough to get themselves more opportunities in the first team, with the Gunners boasting many players needing to do the same. Could go down the Community Shield, I reckon.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal (Arsenal win on penalties)