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    Liverpool vs Arsenal Match Preview


    Liverpool have the chance to lay down a marker against one of last season's rivals for a Champions League position this weekend when they entertain Arsenal at Anfield.

    Jurgen Klopp's side completed a rare double over Arsenal in 2016-17, which proved pivotal in their quest for a Champions League spot as they finished a point ahead of The Gunners after 38 matches.

    Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from last Saturday's 1-0 defeat against Stoke City, where they were denied a second-half equalizer due to a controversial offside decision and had several penalty appeals turned down.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool have begun the new season in spectacular fashion, scoring 10 goals in the first four matches after Wednesday's 4-2 win over Hoffenheim confirmed The Reds' participation into the group stages of this season's Champions League.

    Two goals from Emre Can in the opening 21 minutes ended any hopes of a Hoffenheim comeback, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino also scoring to earn Jurgen Klopp's side entry into the group stages for the 10th time.

    The reward for their progression is a group containing Slovenian outfit Maribor, Russian champions Spartak Moscow and Spanish side Sevilla, who famously beat Liverpool 3-1 in the final of the 2016 Europa League.

    Before they resume their European quest, The Reds must first negotiate two difficult Premier League fixtures against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, immediately after the international break.

    Klopp's side completed the double over Arsenal last season for the first time since 1999-00, while The Gunners have not beaten Liverpool since a 4-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium in April 2015.

    Another victory on Sunday would equal the start to the season that The Reds made in 2015-16, when a Brendan Rodgers-managed side also met Arsenal in their third Premier League fixture and earned a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium.

    Sadio Mane, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and new signing Mohamed Salah have all made spectacular starts to the campaign, with each player scoring two goals from the opening four games of the season in all competitions.

    Arsenal

    Arsenal are absent from the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, with Sunday's opponents Liverpool finishing a point above The Gunners following a battle for the top-four that was settled on the final day of the season.

    Arsene Wenger's team went on to claim the FA Cup against Chelsea just six days later, which was his side's third triumph in the competition in the past four seasons and a record seventh time that the Frenchman has lifted the trophy.

    The Gunners returned to Wembley three weeks ago to play Chelsea in the Community Shield and once again came out on top, with Olivier Giroud netting the decisive spot-kick as the season curtain-raiser was settled on penalties.

    New £52.7 million signing Alexander Lacazette and left-back Sead Kolasinac, a free transfer recruit from Schalke, both made their debuts that day, with Kolasinac scoring a late equalizer to send the game into penalties.

    Former Lyon striker Lacazette has also hit the ground running, scoring on his league debut after just 94 seconds to help his new team record a superb 4-3 win over Leicester City at The Emirates Stadium.

    Lacazette was controversially denied a second-half equalizer in last weekend's 1-0 loss against Stoke City, while Hector Bellerin was also unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty after he was fouled by Mame Biram Diouf.

    Much of the speculation surrounding Arsenal over the course of the summer has been focused on the futures of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mezut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who have entered the final year of their contracts and are yet to sign new deals.

    Liverpool Team News

    Philippe Coutinho is a major doubt for Sunday's match against Arsenal, with the Brazilian lacking match-fitness following a back injury and a subsequent illness that have delayed his start to the season.

    Right-back Nathaniel Clyne is also expected to miss out due to a hamstring problem, while Adam Lallana will not return to first-team action until the autumn after sustaining a thigh strain shortly before the start of the campaign.

    Jurgen Klopp will have to decide whether to keep faith with Alberto Moreno at left-back, or recall either James Milner or Andrew Robertson to play in that position.

    The Reds could name an unchanged line-up to the one which beat German side Hoffenheim 4-2 in midweek, with Trent Alexander-Arnold continuing at right-back and Daniel Sturridge only expected to be named amongst the substitutes..

    Arsenal Team News

    Alexis Sanchez is "ready" to make his first appearance of the season according to Arsene Wenger after the Chile international missed his side's first three matches with an abdominal injury.

    Laurent Koscielny will make his first appearance of the campaign having completed the three-game suspension he picked-up for a straight red card against Everton on the final league match of 2016-17.

    The only Arsenal player to currently be ruled out through injury is midfielder Santi Cazorla, who not played since October 2016 due to an ankle problem.

    Jack Wilshere made his comeback from an ankle fracture for Arsenal's Under-23 development side this week but the midfielder is likely to be sent out on loan to prove he is worthy of receiving a new contract.

    Head-to-head

    Liverpool have not recorded successive wins against Arsenal at Anfield for 12 seasons, with Luis Garcia netting a 87th minute winner to help his side achieve that feat back in February 2006.

    The Reds, however, have not lost to Arsenal in their last four meetings, although it required a 90th-minute equalizer from Joe Allen to earn Jurgen Klopp's team a 3-3 draw in the fixture in January 2016.

    Arsenal last won at Anfield in September 2012, which was also played on the third weekend of the season, when Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla both netted in a comfortable 2-0 victory for The Gunners.

    In a head-to-head that was first contested in 1893, Liverpool lead the overall standings by 85 wins to Arsenal's 78, with 59 of the 222 meetings having ended in draws.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs Arsenal Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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