Premier League: Liverpool vs Arsenal preview


Premier League leaders Liverpool end their calendar year with a tough match, they host fifth-placed Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday. The reverse fixture, played at the start of November, ended 1-1 as Alexandre Lacazette scored on 82 minutes to rescue a point for the Gunners after James Milner had opened the scoring for the Reds. Liverpool have won three of the last six direct matches and Arsenal have not been able to defeat the Reds since 2015, with seven matches played since then. Five of the last six matches between these teams had between four and seven goals scored.

Liverpool are looking capable of winning the Premier League title this season, they are still unbeaten at the halfway mark of the campaign and they have won sixteen of their nineteen matches. Their main strength is the defence, they have only conceded seven goals in nineteen matches and scored 43. The Reds have conceded just one goal in their last four Premier League matches, easing past Bournemouth, Manchester United, Wolves and Newcastle. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Joseph Gomez and Joel Matip remain the only injured players of Jurgen Klopp's list, while James Milner and Alberto Moreno might return after having missed the Boxing Day match against Newcastle.

Arsenal had their long unbeaten streak snapped by Southampton on December 16 and they don't really look like having recovered since then. That defeat was followed by a 2-0 loss to rivals Tottenham in the League Cup quarter-finals, then a 3-1 home win over Burnley and a rather lucky 1-1 draw at Brighton on Boxing Day. The Gunners' defence has been looking shaky in recent weeks as they have conceded in each of their last four competitive matches. Central defender Laurent Koscielny came off during the match at Brighton and might be out of contention for a while, along with Rob Holding, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Probable line-ups:

Liverpool: Alisson - Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson - Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita - Salah, Firmino, Mane

Arsenal: Leno - Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac - Guendouzi, Torreira, Xhaka - Ramsey - Aubameyang, Lacazette

My prediction: Liverpool to win 3-1, the Reds will surely exploit the defensive weaknesses of the Gunners.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Liverpool win - 1.50
Draw - 4.75
Arsenal win - 7.00

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