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Arsenal vs Liverpool: Match Preview

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Liverpool travel to Arsenal on Monday evening and the fixture could prove vital at the end of the season with both sides pursuing a top-four finish.

The Reds have started off the 2015/16 Premier League campaign with two 1-0 wins against Stoke City and Bournemouth. Both performances were laboured, but Brendan Rodgers will be more than satisfied how his side have begun as there looks a solid foundation to build on.

Arsenal have too not been the most inspiring in their first two games. They were comprehensively beaten 2-0 by West Ham United at home on the opening day of the season before grinding out a 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last week.

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Travelling to the Gunners has traditionally been a graveyard for Liverpool and they'll be desperate to reverse recent trends. In this fixture last term, Alexis Sanchez inspired Arsene Wenger's men to an easy 4-1 victory and the Merseyside outfit have won just one of their last 12 away trips against the north London side.

Team News

Arsenal's injury list always seems to have a host of top stars on it given any period of the season and today's game is no different. Jack Wilshire, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky and all side-lined which limits Wenger's options going forward. 

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Liverpool could be without captain Jordan Henderson who limped off against Bournemouth with a foot injury and was replaced by Emre Can with 40 minutes to play. Rodgers will be desperate to have his skipper present at the Emirates and Henderson will likely undergo a late fitness test before the game.

Daniel Sturridge's rehabilitation treatment has come to an end and he's arrived back on British soil. It's unclear when he'll be fully fit but it looks likely the England international will be back sooner than first expected. Jon Flanagan and Joe Allen are still both injured, also.

Arsenal

Arsenal were many people's tip to win the title this term, especially how they finished last season in such emphatic style. 

Petr Cech's arrival is nothing but an admirable purchase and his experience could prove invaluable. He was criticised for his performance against West Ham but bounced back to perform much better against Crystal Palace. Cech, alongside centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, will have to be at their very best to neutralise the threat of Christian Benteke, especially in the air.

Sanchez was top-class in last season's corresponding fixture last April and the Gunners floundered without him against West Ham. The Chile international is still searching for full fitness after representing his country at this summer's Copa America but will typically look to expose Liverpool's defence who have looked vulnerable despite keeping two clean slates this term. 

It'll be Francis Coquielin's responsibility to keep Philippe Coutinho at bay throughout. Coquielin has not doubt added plenty of strength to Arsenal's spine and did a grand job of exposing Yohan Cabaye against Crystal Palace before replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Predicted Line-up

Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscienly, Monreal; Coquielin, Corzola, Ramsey; Ozil, Giroud, Sanchez

Liverpool

Rodgers is not usually one to restrict his side's attacking credentials but, given how valuable just a single point would be, this could be the case.

Lucas has not featured in the Northern Irishman's 16 man squad for the opening two games but he'll likely be promoted to the bench. If Liverpool are being overwhelmed, the Brazilian could come on to help shield the back-four.

Can will likely come in for Henderson which will far from displease Reds' fans. The Germany Under-21's international has a monumental future ahead of him and brought much more stability when he came on against Stoke and Bournemouth. Can will have the task of keeping grasp on Mesut Ozil who played a blinder against Palace as well as keeping tags on the thrusting runs of Aaron Ramsey. James Milner will join Can in the centre of the park and he could well play a more restricted role than what he has done this term.

Adam Lallana's Liverpool career has been disenchanted and this could be last chance saloon for him. His performances against Stoke and Bournemouth were from sufficient and, with Roberto Firmino almost reaching full fitness, another disappointing effort could see the England international out of the firing line.

Benteke will be invaluable holding the ball up for his side, especially if Arsenal are dominating the game. The 24-year-old performed fairly well against Bournemouth, as well as grabbing his first goal for Liverpool - albeit Coutinho was offside - and he should continue to become accustomed to the style encouraged by Rodgers.

Dejan Lovren has claimed his place alongside Martin Skrtel and centre-back and the pair cannot afford any relapses that both have displayed in the two opening games on the season. Joe Gomez's early effort have to be commended but this is his biggest test to date and there is no doubt Arsenal will look to expose the 18-year-old down the right-hand side.

Predicted Line-up

Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren, Gomez; Can, Milner, Coutinho; Lallana, Ibe, Benteke

Prediction

Both side's have yet to show their true potential, but Arsenal's quality within the side correctly makes them favourites. Sanchez's willingness and relentless work-rate will give Liverpool all sorts of problems and the class of Ozil, Ramsey and Santi Cazorla doesn't help either. 

Despite two clean sheets, the Reds' back-four isn't convincing. Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne have been sound additions but it is through the spine of the defence that is alarming. Also, we seen how Manchester City exposed youngster Brendan Galloway against Everton on Sunday and this could well be the case with Gomez.

Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool

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Topics:
Football
Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal
Liverpool
Christian Benteke
Premier League

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