Liverpool look to kick-start their disappointing Premier League campaign (today) Sunday when they meet old rivals Arsenal at Anfield.
The Reds were beaten 3-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend and dropped into the bottom half of the table with their fourth defeat in seven league matches.
The Merseysiders, however, did bounce back Tuesday when they won 3-1 at Championship side Bournemouth in the League Cup, with Raheem Sterling scoring twice and Lazar Markovic adding a third with his first goal for the club to set up a semifinal match against Chelsea.
Victory over Bournemouth eased some of the pressure on under-fire Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who earlier this week was forced to deny reports of unrest in the Merseysiders’ dressing room.
“I think slowly we’re getting there,” Rodgers told his club’s website after the Bournemouth match. “I’ve said that my teams have shown here at Liverpool that as the season goes on they get better and better.
“There are a lot of players adapting. I’m looking to find solutions to make us more creative, because we haven’t been that at all this season and that’s the mark of the team. We obviously work very hard on our possession and movement and creativity. It’s taken a long time for us to find rhythm this season. But what has never stopped is the work-rate of the players.”
Arsenal climbed back into the top six after claiming their third win in four league matches with an impressive 4-1 victory against Newcastle United at the Emirates last weekend. France striker Olivier Giroud scored twice, while Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla also bagged a brace, including one from the penalty spot.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger says he is looking forward to taking his side back to Anfield.
“There’s a special atmosphere,” Wenger told his club’s website. “I have a lot of respect for the crowd at Liverpool because they stand behind their team.
“I remember one day we were leading 5-1 at Liverpool and they were chanting ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. It’s one of the few grounds in the world where you can see that. There’s a special combination of knowledge of the game at Liverpool and support for their team. I have a huge respect for that.”
Liverpool will be without striker Mario Balotelli, who has been handed a one-match ban by the FA for a controversial racial post on social media, while central defender Dejan Lovren faces a late test on a groin problem.
Reds striker Daniel Sturridge remains sidelined with a thigh injury and will spend time in the United States with the medical team of the Boston Red Sox, who are owned by Liverpool’s John W. Henry.
Arsenal trio Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (both groin) and Nacho Monreal (ankle) all face late tests, while Aaron Ramsey is ruled out with a hamstring problem.
The home side won both league matches last season. Arsenal prevailed 2-0 at home in November on goals from Cazorla and Ramsey before Liverpool routed the Gunners 5-1 at Anfield in Feb. 8. Martin Skrtel and Sterling both scored twice, with Sturridge netting a fifth. Mikel Arteta scored a consolation goal for the Londoners from the penalty spot.
Arsenal avenged that defeat just over a week later by beating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski netted for the Gunners before Reds skipper Steven Gerrard scored from the spot after an hour, but the Merseysiders couldn’t find the equaliser. The Gunners would eventually win the FA Cup, their first trophy in nine years.
Liverpool are 2-5-7 in their last 14 meetings with Arsenal in all competitions dating back to the beginning of the 2008-09 season.
Source: ScoreMobile FC