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Wenger's side face Liverpool next Sunday.

Arsene Wenger confirms absence of three Arsenal stars vs Liverpool

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Arsenal will have hoped for an easier opening fixture heading into the new Premier League season.

The pressure is well and truly on for Arsene Wenger's men to keep pace with their big-spending rivals and challenge for the title following a season where they lost out to Leicester City despite being favourites.

In Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, Arsenal face a stern test where they must be on top of their game to claim all three points and get their season off to the perfect start.

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Should they lose at the Emirates Stadium, much like they did against West Ham last term, fears will mount that another frustrating campaign awaits.

A promising pre-season suggests Arsenal are well prepared yet they are far from it, after Wenger revealed three star players will miss out against Liverpool.

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And it's the Gunners' spine that will suffer because of it, with Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud all unavailable.

Following his side's comfortable 8-0 victory over Viking FK on Friday night, Wenger was asked whether the trio would be ready in time, to which he replied: "The Liverpool game will come too early for them."

Worrying news, I think you'll agree.

Quite how Arsenal will cope without Koscielny, Ozil and Giroud remains to be seen but, considering their importance to the side last season, their absences will be sorely missed.

Gabriel Paulista will likely deputise alongside Calum Chambers or Rob Holding after Per Mertesacker was recently ruled out through injury; Aaron Ramsey is Arsenal's best option in the No.10 role; and as for up top - well, options are limited.

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Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott are Wenger's best options but neither of the two are out-and-out strikers, with the former needed on the left flank.

That leaves 18-year-old Chuba Akpom who, despite scoring three goals on the bounce in pre-season, is far from ready to take on a club of Liverpool's size.

Not having Giroud will only expose Arsenal's need for another striker this summer, with fans praying Alexandre Lacazette will sign in the coming weeks.

Previous reports suggested the Frenchman was in talks to sign for the Gunners but, according to the Evening Standard, Wenger is unlikely to make an improved bid.

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The frustrating fact of the matter is that Lacazette is available too, after Lyon manager Bruno Genesio admitted they could sell at the right price.

He said: "When you say 'could leave', of course, every player who is sought after could leave, by definition, since, as my president has said, there are sometimes offers that cannot be refused.

“But in any case, my desire and my responsibility as manager is to ask that the best players in my squad stay at Lyon."

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Alexis Sanchez
UEFA Champions League
Europa League
Football
Liverpool
Premier League
Arsenal

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