Preview: Liverpool vs. Arsenal – prediction, team news, lineups

Liverpool will seek to take another step towards the title of the Premier League when they meet Arsenal in Anfield on Saturday in their final game of 2018.

The Reds are six points clear at the top of the table, half of the season is gone, while their opponents Arsenal’ are fifth, two points behind the last Champions League spot.

Liverpool

Mohamed Salah is expected to line up against Arsenal at Anfield this weekend after avoiding a ban following an incident last time out against Newcastle.

The Egyptian forward has been criticised for winning a penalty after going to ground easily under the challenge of Paul Dummett.

 

The Reds are likely to revert to a three-man midfield in search of greater defensive solidity, having opted for a more fluid 4-2-3-1 last time out.

Xherdan Shaqiri will therefore drop to the bench despite his goal against Newcastle, while James Milner could miss out entirely due to injury.

The veteran midfielder has suffered a muscle injury so two of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Naby Keita are likely to line up alongside Georginio Wijnaldum.

Trent Alexander-Arnold returned at right-back on Boxing Day and should continue at the expense of Nathaniel Clyne.

Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren will partner Virgil van Dijk with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez still sidelined.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains a long-term absentee, although the England international was pictured doing some light training last week.

Arsenal head into the match with just one win in their past four matches across all competitions, 13 points behind Liverpool in the table.

Recent Premier League form: WWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Arsenal

Unai Emery struggles to deal with a serious injury crisis in the Emirates, while under performing stars make it difficult to select a team.

Up to six first- team players are sidelined in the clash with Liverpool, while three other players have serious doubts about their fitness.

Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil was substituted against the Seagulls and Alexandre Lacazette did not complete in the Premier League for 90 minutes since the draw with Wolves in early November.

On Boxing Day, the French striker showed his frustration at another early bath by throwing his gloves to the ground and it remains to be seen whether Emery will start the 27-year- old against Liverpool.

Ozil is even less likely to feature from the off, having been ineffectual at the Amex.

When asked about his decision to sub the 30-year-old, Emery said: “Sometimes I change Aubameyang, Lacazette, Matteo [Guendouzi] every player it’s happened with.

“Sometimes the result is good, it’s for improving the result and other times it’s not.

“The decision is tactical.”

Alex Iwobi is first in line to replace the German, having been sent on in a straight swap last time out, while Aaron Ramsey could displace Lacazette.

Elsewhere, Shkodran Mustafi is nearing a return to full training but is still doubtful due to a hamstring problem.

Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal are also fitness worries, with the club captain subbed after a knock against Brighton.

Hector Bellerin (calf), Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) and Rob Holding (knee) are all on the treatment table while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is out for six weeks with a broken metatarsal.

Emile Smith Row (groin) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) are also sidelined as Emery’s squad is stretched to breaking point.

Stephan Lichtsteiner is expected to be called upon at right-back while Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi should line up as a midfield trio.

Recent Premier League form: WDWLWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWLLWD

Liverpool predicted line-up vs Arsenal – Premier League

(4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Arsenal predicted line-up vs Liverpool – Premier League

(4-3-2-1): Leno; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, Torreira, Xhaka; Ramsey, Iwobi; Aubameyang

Head to Head

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Arsenal, winning three of them and drawing four in a run dating back to April 2015-their longest row since a 12-game sequence between 1994 and 2000.

The reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 draw in November, with Lacazette netting a late equalizer after Milner opened the scoring in the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal did not win any of their last five visits in Anfield, conceding 17 goals in that time, including a 4- 0 defeat in the match last season.

Our Prediction

We say: Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal

Liverpool are currently in brilliant shape and also has a tremendous record against Arsenal in Anfield. The Gunners should fight more than they did on some of their recent visits to Merseyside, but it would be surprising if they could show anything for it.

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