Liverpool vs Arsenal - Match preview and team news
Saturday 01 September 2012
A heavyweight clash at Anfield sees Liverpool and Arsenal look for their first victories of the season after a summer of change for both sides. Brendan Rodgers’ side have one loss and one draw, whereas Arsene Wenger has two goalless draws so far.
Liverpool were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by West Bromwich Albion on the opening day and were ahead twice against champions Manchester City last weekend before succumbing to a 2-2 draw. Silly defensive mistakes cost Rodgers his first victory as Reds boss and the Scotsman is hoping for the victory he has craved as Liverpool manager. An added element for the game sees Nuri Sahin, who decided to join Liverpool ahead of Arsenal, available to make his debut for the Reds.
As well as Sahin, Daniel Agger is back available for the Reds after serving a suspension. Sebastian Coates replaced Agger in last week’s draw against City and is expected to drop to the bench. Lucas Leiva has been ruled out for three months with the thigh problem suffered last time out, but Rodgers has a fully-fit squad available. One player who will not play is Charlie Adam after the Scottish international completed a £4m move to Stoke City.
Arsenal’s summer has been eventful once again after the departures of Robin van Persie and Alex Song to Manchester United and Barcelona respectively. Theo Walcott’s future was in doubt before the transfer deadline, but the England international has not left for another club this summer. Arsenal have started the season looking promising, but they have failed to score and have goalless draws at home to Sunderland and away at Stoke City.
Wenger has Laurent Koscielny available from a calf injury and the Frenchman is expected to slot back into the centre of defence. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny faces a fitness test on a rib injury and Vito Mannone could again feature in goal, hoping to build on the clean sheet kept at the Britannia Stadium last weekend. The Gunners have lost another striker in Nicklas Bendtner, who has signed for Juventus on a season long loan.
This corresponding fixture last season saw Robin van Persie’s double give Arsenal the victory that inspired them on to a third placed finish. Liverpool vs Arsenal always throws up classic fixtures and there is optimism for another great game with both sides keen to get their win tallies underway.