After two disappointing draws, Liverpool got back to winning ways in the best possible way with a thumping 4-0 win over AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday that not only saw them reclaim their place in the top-four, but also sends them to North London on Friday brimming with confidence.
Hot on their heels in fifth place, Arsenal will be looking for some measure of revenge after getting turned over at Anfield earlier in the season. Evenly matched on paper, the bookies are playing this one safe with the Gunners at +140 to win while the Reds are being offered at a cool +175 — the kind of odds that have punters checking up on the UK offers from betting sports sites all over the internet.
The crunch of the festive fixtures means rotation remains the name of the game for the Merseysiders with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp once again likely to tweak his starting eleven.
“Joel Matip was back in training yesterday,” explained the German manager, giving an injury update during his pre-match presser. “How it is always now we have these little reactions on the last game so we need to wait a little bit, we have different players but in this moment it looks like apart from Daniel Sturridge, who is a little bit ill, or was, but he could be back,” hinted Klopp, keeping his cards close to his chest. “But Joel Matip, it’s positive. I’m not sure if he’s ready for Arsenal, but [will be] for the games coming up then, I’m pretty sure. That’s it, I think.”
Although he remains the best defender on their books, Matip’s ongoing absence hasn’t exactly upset Liverpool’s back-line too much with only two goals conceded during their past five outings in all competitions. While the Cameroonian is expected back shortly, another member of the Reds back-line is still weeks away with Alberto Moreno yet to rejoin full training. This fixture always produces goals and the oddmakers have reflected that with Both Teams to Score being offered at -225 while a scoreless draw is at +162 — a rather unlikely scenario considering Adam Lallana could be ready to run out against Arsenal.
“It was aggressive! Was it 10 seconds until he had a yellow card or so?!” said the Reds boss when asked about his return to action. “He’s back and that’s good but he needs to collect minutes now, we will see how we manage that,” continued Klopp, coy over Lallana, but playing it straight when it came time to talk about Moreno. “Unfortunately he is still not even on the pitch so that could still take a few weeks.”