The Reds looked to have flown out of the blocks in 2017-18 with a 4-0 thumping of Arsenal in August but inconsistency has held them back ever since. Nevertheless, 18 games in, Liverpool sit in fourth place with Gunners one point south.
It won’t be an easy task for Jurgen Klopp’s men, though, who line up against an Arsenal team with an immense recent record at the Emirates stadium.
However, Liverpool will take great optimism from their thrilling 4-3 victory there on the opening day of last season, even if their only other trip to north London this season ended in a 4-1 drubbing.
It all depends on whether Liverpool’s mercurial attacking quartet of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho can outweigh their creakiness at the back.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher is certainly concerned about said defensive frailties and reckons there’s a very distinct issue at the heart of it all.
The 39-year-old used comparisons to his partnership with Sami Hyypia as means of highlighting the lack of a consistent centre-back pairing, with two defenders sticking out for him.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Carragher expounded: “It’s a big concern (Matip and Lovren don’t play enough), oh it’s massive concern.
“You always build any top team from your goalkeepers and your centre-backs. When me and Sami Hyypia played, we were fortunate as we never got injured and these two just get injured too much.”
A massive concern? Even when it was that very centre-back partnership unravelled so easily at Tottenham?
Well, in an ideal world, Carragher proposes an even better solution.
“Liverpool need quality. Basically one of those two needs to be third choice,” he continued.
“You need a centre-back to come in and one of those to play with him, and (Ragnar) Klavan is your number four.”
Harsh words but difficult to argue with, it must be said. Furthermore, there seems a brilliant choice to partner either Lovren or Matip and Carragher is under no illusion that Virgil Van Dijk is the man.
“We all know Van Dijk was the one [Klopp] wanted, so because he never got another centre-back, Klopp, now he’s waiting until maybe January or the end of the season, I hope it’s January.”
He won’t be the only Kopite hoping to see Van Dijk pull on the Red jersey ASAP but that’s one bullet Arsenal can dodge ahead of the big clash.
Who are you backing for the win on Friday night – Liverpool or Arsenal? Have your say in the comments section below.