Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield as they face each other for the first time in the Premier League this season. This fixture decides who goes into Christmas at the top of the table.
However, it is far more than that. It is a huge test for both sides. Arsenal have been on an upward trajectory since Mikel Arteta took over as manager. This match-up between Arteta and Jurgen Klopp has always been entertaining for fans and neutrals alike.
Klopp’s recent comments have reiterated the fact that Arteta has consolidated his side since last season. In their last meeting in the Premier League, the two sides ended the game in a draw. However, it was only in the dying moments that Liverpool grabbed a crucial goal to walk away with a point.
Jurgen Klopp heaps praise on Arsenal ahead of crucial meeting
Speaking during the pre-match press conference, Klopp said: “We play a super-strong team, a team who played exceptional last season and coming back, are even better than last season.”
Klopp went on to specify the three Arsenal newcomers that he reckons have majorly improved the squad. “They already had a top team, and bringing in really good players to improve the team did that. You bring in Rice and Havertz and it doesn’t make you worse. Raya in goal doesn’t make you worse,” the Liverpool boss said.
Arsenal and Liverpool have conceded the least amount of goals this season (15), but the Gunners have maintained more clean sheets (seven). Speaking on his opponents' strong run of form, Klopp said: “They went through the Champions League pretty easily and have played a really good Premier League campaign. Mikel could build exactly the team he wants.”
“They are difficult to play, they are a good mix between physicality - big, strong, fast players - good technique, very good organisation, really well coached, well drilled and you see every year they make another step,” the German manager added.
Speaking on the game and the title race, Jurgen Klopp said, “It’s a massive game. It’s great to have them, great to meet them. We have to make sure we make it a proper home game, a proper Anfield experience.”
“Being top of the table is pretty much the best thing to be, but it’s only important if you’re there at the end of the season. It will not happen that anyone runs away, that’s how it looks this season. That makes the title race a real title race,” he added.
Klopp’s side have not been defeated in their last 19 home games. Ending this unbeaten streak is a huge task for the Gunners. However, we have reached the stage of the season where all of Arteta’s new signings have clicked with the squad and are firing on all cylinders.
The likes of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz have been on top form lately. Bukayo Saka as always never ceases to excel and the defensive duo of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba proves to be menacing each game.
In their last encounter in the previous season, Arsenal faced the absence of Saliba due to injury, and the newly signed players were also obviously unavailable. This north London side is essentially an evolved squad and altogether a new challenge for Jurgen Klopp.