Liverpool Club Focus – Dalglish preparing Reds for trip to Arsenal

Liverpool may not have beaten Arsenal since Arsene Wenger’s young side moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2005 but this weekend presents the best opportunity for Kenny Dalglish’s Reds to finally get a win under their belts against the north Londoners. The Gunners will be without a number of key players for the important clash, while Liverpool are looking fresh and hungry for points.

The Anfield outfit could only manage to secure a 1-1 draw against Steve Bruce’s new-look Sunderland side in the highly-anticipated opening day fixture last weekend, but will be hoping to improve on that performance and collect all three points against their rivals. Both Arsenal and Liverpool could be fighting for a place in the top-four come the end of this campaign, therefore it would be quite significant if one of the teams could take an early head start.

If Dalglish’s side play as well as they did during the first-half of their game against Sunderland, then they will certainly have a chance of beating their opponents. However, Liverpool – who have won only one of their last 11 league games against Arsenal – fizzled away in the second-half when they faced the Black Cats, something that the manager will have addressed in training this week.

But Arsenal currently have even bigger problems to solve. Not only have they won just two of their last 12 Premier League fixtures and scored a miserly three goals in their previous five home matches in the top-flight, but star man and captain Cesc Fabregas also left for boyhood club Barcelona this week, while talented French midfielder Samir Nasri is reportedly on the verge of sealing a move to big-spending Manchester City. Alex Song and new signing Gervinho are suspended following their antics last weekend, while promising Englishman Jack Wilshere could miss out through injury. The Gunners will be significantly weakened by the absences of so many first-team players.

Dalglish has however warned it will not be an easy task to beat Arsenal, despite all their problems. He said: “It’s not going to make it any easier for us that they’ve lost Fabregas, Nasri might not be playing and that they’ve got a couple of suspensions. It’s still going to be a difficult game for us and they’re still a team I have the greatest respect for, so we’ll go there with the same feelings that we had last season, thinking that it’s going to be a really difficult game, but hopefully we can make it as difficult for them as they will for us.

Meanwhile, Moroccan winger Nabil El Zhar has sealed a switch to Spanish outfit Levante after his contract with the Reds was terminated. The 24-year-old, who moved to Anfield from St Etienne in 2006, spent last season on loan at Greek club PAOK. He failed to make an impact during his time on Merseyside and many supporters will be glad to see the back of him. Another attacking player, David Ngog, could also be leaving soon, with Owen Coyle reportedly interested in taking the Frenchman to Bolton Wanderers.

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