Arsenal v Liverpool: Live team sheet

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Liverpool's top-four ambitions could be made or broken when they travel to Arsenal this Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers' men suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Manchester United two weeks ago, leaving themselves five points behind their North West rivals in fifth place.

As the Reds look to keep track of Louis van Gaal's side, a draw against the Gunners seems the absolute minimum needed to keep their top-four hopes alive. 

Arsenal have been in fine form and took maximum points from their last six games. Arsene Wenger's men are in contention to finish second in the Premier League as they trail Manchester City by just a single point and will be hungry for top-two finish.

Sturridge to play through pain

Daniel Sturridge's season has been menaced by injury and he recently picked up a hip injury following Liverpool's defeat against United.

The former Chelsea man hasn't looked himself since returning from injury, scoring just four goals since the end of January.

However, he is Liverpool's best striker by a country mile and Rodgers will be desperate for him to play in this game. The rest of the Reds' strikers haven't cut the mustard this term and Sturridge's goal against United would have gave him plenty of confidence.

It has been reported that he is back in full training, which indicates he should be fully fit to start at the Emirates.

Will Sterling Play?

Like Sturridge, Adam Lallana also picked up an injury following the loss against the Red Devils. 

However, with Steven Gerrard suspended for the game following a stand on Ander Herrara, Liverpool look short of options in the attacking front. 

Philippe Coutinho will start in behind Sturridge, however, Rodgers prefers to play a partner alongside him. The Brazilian has been in excellent form since the turn of the New Year and most of the Reds' chance will come directly through him.

Raheem Sterling looks to be an ideal candidate to partner Coutinho but his current contract situation makes things difficult for Rodgers. Of course, the Northern Irishman will not want to attract attention by leaving Sterling out of the squad, but you have to question the mentality of the 20-year-old.

Nonetheless, he has reportedly stalled contract negotiations to concentrate on aiding the Merseyside club finish in the top-four this season so he should be starting in north London if that is the case.

Sterling struggled playing as a wing-back against United but will be much more suited to a more advanced role were he can run at the Arsenal back-four to create chances for the Reds and score goals.

Markovic back In

Lazar Markovic impressed against Arsenal back in December at Anfield when he enjoyed a good spell in the Liverpool team.

In recent weeks, the Serb has been over-looked by Rodgers and didn't even make the Reds squad to face United.

However, the Liverpool boss has little to choose from with Gerrard, Lallana and Jordan Ibe all injured and it seems that Markovic will be recalled to play at right wing-back.

The 21-year-old has showed glimpses of his talent throughout his Anfield career however he must be more aggressive to expose the Arsenal back-four. Markovic is blesses with extreme pace and ball skill and has to use those attributes to his and his team's benefit.

Alberto Moreno had a rare off-day against the Red Devils. The Spaniard was far too attacking-minded and left Juan Mata with acres of space for both his goals.

Rodgers will likely instruct the former Sevilla man to play more reserved at the Emirates given the strength in the Gunners' attack.

Lucas To Return

Lucas Leiva has not been seen since limping off against Everton in January but Rodgers will want the Brazilian back in his team.

Lucas performed well in the All-Star charity game at Anfield last Sunday; he protected the Jamie Carragher XI well when playing against the likes of Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres and Gerrard making a number of excellent challenges and blocks.

Not just that, but his attitude was at the highest level and he was desperate to impress Rodgers to win his place back in the team.

Arsenal have an outstanding attack and Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Santi Corzola can all stun teams on the counter-attacker in a matter of minutes.

Lucas' presence would shield the Liverpool defence and he would be an asset to have once again.

Jordan Henderson will captain the Reds and could have a busy afternoon ahead. The former Sunderland man will have to constantly help his side out when on the back foot as well as surging forward to create chances for his team. His performance could well make or break the result of the game.

Toure Or Lovren?

Following the loss against United, Martin Skrtel was slapped with a three game ban following a stamp on David De Gea.

Skrtel has been magnificent this season and has become a leader of the Liverpool defence, performing well above average throughout.

He will be missed at the back and Rodgers is now forced to reshuffle his back-four.

Emre Can and Mamdou Sakho have been regulars this term and should start on at both right-centre and left-centre back but somebody must fill the gap in between them.

Dejan Lovren cost Liverpool £20 million last summer however he is yet to show his best form on Merseyside. The Croatia international has looked uncomfortable when given the nod by Rodgers and has been on the end of six individual mistakes - the highest in the Premier League.

Kolo Toure is enriched with experience and would be a much more suitable replacement. Despite being 34, the Ivorian has was top-class prior to leaving the Reds for the African Cup of Nations and was heroic when Liverpool were beaten 1-0 by Real Madrid in the Champions League.

He may not have the speed he once had, but Toure makes up for that with experience, positioning himself well to cut out and danger. His presence would bring much more confidence to Can, Sakho and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet if he was to start.

Confirmed teams


Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud


Macey, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott, Welbeck


Mignolet, Can, Toure, Sakho, Allen, Lucas, Moreno, Henderson, Coutinho, Markovic, Sterling.


Jones, Johnson, Lovren, Sturridge, Manquillo, Borini, Brannagan

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Raheem Sterling
Premier League

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