Matches between Liverpool and Arsenal always provide plenty of entertainment and that should be the case again when they meet at Anfield on Sunday (16:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
In the last 18 years, there has only been one goalless draw between Liverpool and Arsenal. Six of the last seven league encounters between them have yielded four or more goals, with last season’s meetings producing two wins for Liverpool: 3-1 at home and 4-3 away.
In last season’s Premier League, they had the worst two defensive records in the top six, while matches involving them respectively averaged the second and third most goals in the division. There is little to suggest that is likely to change this time around given that Liverpool began their season with a 3-3 draw away to Watford, while Arsenal triumphed 4-3 at home to Leicester.
Liverpool followed that opening-day draw with a more comprehensive and rounded performance in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last weekend. It took them until the 73rd minute to score the decisive goal through Sadio Mane, but they dominated throughout, creating a number of good chances while limiting their visitors to very few.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side were back to their more chaotic norm on Tuesday, as they qualified for the group stage of the Champions League with a 4-2 victory at home to Hoffenheim. They made a blisteringly fast start, scoring three times inside the opening 25 minutes to blow their opponents away in what Klopp afterwards described it as a “thunderstorm.” In summary, he described the encounter as a “crazy” match that “could have ended 9-7.”
With the rapid forward three of Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino interchanging positions and Emre Can (who scored twice) making forward runs in support, Liverpool looked a frightening attacking prospect. With Philippe Coutinho still to come back – presuming the club are able to continue resisting strong interest from Barcelona – they are a side who would usually fancy themselves to outscore their opposition.
But Liverpool have struggled to secure their prime targets during the summer transfer window. The feeling persists that they are a little light on numbers and quality in certain areas to find the defensive stability and consistency in performance levels they will need in order to sustain a challenge domestically and in Europe over the full course of the campaign.
Unlike Liverpool, Arsenal do not have Champions League football to contend with. Last season’s fifth-place finish was their worst since 1996 and means that for the first time in nearly 20 years they won’t be involved in Europe’s premier club competition. Despite last season’s success in the FA Cup, long-serving manager Arsene Wenger needs a strong campaign this time around to silence doubts over his continued suitability for the position.
Arsenal defeated Leicester with an 85th-minute winner on the opening day but then fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Stoke in a fairly dull encounter last weekend. Wenger’s side probably created enough chances for a draw to have been a fair result but it was nevertheless a disappointing display and one that did little to promote confidence in their ability to regain a top-four spot.
Wenger has at least confirmed that Alexis Sanchez is back and ready for action this weekend. The Chilean forward contributed 24 goals and 10 assists last season and despite continuing speculation over his future, his return will be very much welcomed.
With a full complement of attacking talent now at his disposal, it will be interesting to see if Wenger elects to move away from the three-man defence with which Arsenal ended last season and began the current campaign. He has switched to a back four in-game in both of their matches to date and could be enticed by the possibility of fielding Sanchez alongside Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and another forward by switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Our Preview’s Liverpool vs. Arsenal Betting Tips Verdict
Regardless of their alignment, Arsenal have had serious problems containing the Liverpool attack in recent meetings between the sides and there seems little reason to suggest that will change on Sunday. That will probably give Liverpool the edge in what is likely to be an entertaining and high-scoring encounter. So in our battle to get the better of the sports betting sites, these are this preview’s betting tips:
- Back Liverpool to win @ 6/5 with William Hill.
- Bet on over 3.5 goals @ best odds of 6/4 with Betfred.
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