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Liverpool vs. Arsenal: 10 key things to know as Reds eye Christmas top spot

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It is a huge game for Liverpool this weekend as they come up against table-toppers Arsenal in a clash with significant title race implications.

Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Premier League (18) | Anfield
December 23, 2023 | 5.30pm (GMT) 


The Reds are faced with their biggest evening of the season so far on Saturday as the top two go head-to-head with plenty at stake just two days before Christmas.

Mikel Arteta’s side are in impressive form and look like contenders for the second season in a row, but fell short at a rowdy Anfield last season and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping for a repeat on this occasion.

Let’s take a look at the 10 main things you need to be on top of ahead of Liverpool vs. Arsenal.

 

1. Team news

The boss confirmed that both Alexis Mac Allister and Diogo Jota remain absent for this one, but declared Ryan Gravenberch as “fine” when previewing the contest.

Klopp did hint that he hopes to welcome Andy Robertson back in January, but he couldn’t fully confirm such in his pre-match press conference.

 

2. Arsenal injuries

While Liverpool are light in certain areas of the pitch due to injuries, the visitors aren’t without their own fitness troubles in the middle of the park.

Arteta revealed in his pre-match press conference that Saturday will come too soon for Thomas Partey to make a return from his thigh injury.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Elneny could make his way into contention as he works his way back from a hamstring problem, while Jorginho remains a “doubt” with a knock.

 

3. Promising record

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 9, 2023: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates his side's equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arsenal haven’t had much joy at Anfield in recent years, winning none of their 11 trips since Klopp took over back in 2015.

There have been a few thrashings in that time, too, with the Reds winning 4-0 twice and 5-1 on another occasion.

Saturday represents Liverpool’s biggest test at home so far this season, but you would have to go as far back as 2012 to find Arsenal’s last win at the stadium.

 

4. More tweaks to come

The festive schedule isn’t slowing down, with the Reds facing another three-day turnaround before their biggest game of the campaign so far.

It means the manager will be forced to ring the changes again from the side that saw off West Ham, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Alisson among those expected to come back in.

 

5. Jota a miss

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 11, 2023: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Diogo Jota’s absence has been felt in recent weeks, but it could feel even more noticeable than usual given his impressive record against the Gunners.

The Portuguese forward has netted seven times in nine appearances against Arsenal for the Reds, a fixture he has been more prolific in than any other.

 

6. Arteta to keep his cool?

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta (right) exchanges words with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (not pictured) during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday November 20, 2021. Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

The Arsenal boss ignited the Anfield crowd with his touchline antics back in 2021, leading Liverpool to storm to a 4-0 victory following his touchline spat with Klopp.

He recently vowed to continue to show emotion in the dugout despite being handed a one-match ban, something that was later overturned having described a VAR decision against Newcastle as a “disgrace” last month.

One would imagine the Spaniard has learned his lesson with regard to letting his passion spill over at Anfield, however, but we shall see!

 

7. Visitors’ advantage

Unlike Liverpool, Arsenal have had the benefit of a week-long break following their 2-0 win over Brighton last weekend.

The Gunners were knocked out of the League Cup by the side the Reds dispatched 5-1 on Wednesday night and had a free midweek in their schedule, meaning they should be well-rested for this one.

 

8. Expect goals

Liverpool vs. Arsenal is historically the highest-scoring fixture of the Premier League era, with 184 goals coming between the sides since 1992.

There were nine goals in the two meetings between the teams last season alone, and with the attacking talent at the disposal of both managers, you wouldn’t bet against similar numbers on Saturday afternoon.

 

9. Some familiar officials

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 10, 2022: Liverpool's Manager Jurgen Klopp is spoken to by referee Chris Kavanagh during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chris Kavanagh will take charge of the encounter and Liverpool have a positive record in his fixtures, with 13 wins and just two defeats from the 16 games he has been in the middle for.

The VAR is a more unpopular figure, however, with David Coote situated at Stockley Park having assumed the same role during a controversial 2-2 draw in the Merseyside derby two years ago.

Simon Bennett and Dan Robathan will assist the referee from the touchlines, with Craig Pawson on fourth official duty and Lee Betts joining Coote in the VAR room.

 

10. Follow the big one with us!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: A general view before the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As always, This Is Anfield are on hand to provide live, partisan updates from the contest as the Reds try and provide us all with the perfect early Christmas present.

Our matchday liveblog will be available on our website from 4.45pm (GMT) ahead of kick-off at 5.30pm.

Just win, Liverpool.