Liverpool vs. Arsenal
Venue: Anfield Stadium
Kick off: 5:30PM
While purists and cynics might justifiably sneer at talk of a top-of-the-table clash in August, the numbers show Liverpool and Arsenal at the summit ahead of today’s round of Premier League games.
The Reds and the Gunners are the two sides with perfect records following Manchester City’s dramatic draw with Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday, when the champions were denied a last-minute winner at the Etihad Stadium via the ever-popular spectre of a VAR call.
Several teams could have supplanted the top pairing by the time of their late kick-off, although City will be watching for any slip-ups from the home side as they prepare for a trip to Bournemouth on Sunday.
Both teams had less comfortable wins than they would have liked last week, Arsenal seeing off visitors Burnley 2-1while Liverpool won by the same scoreline at Southampton.
The cruelly narrow margin by which Liverpool missed out on the title last season means they will be thrilled to take any advantage they can over Man City at this stage of the campaign.
They opened a two-point gap with a performance at St Mary’s showing little of the lethargy observers had suspected could creep in following their post-midnight midweek exertions in Istanbul to win the Super Cup against Chelsea.
Coach Jurgen Klopp praised his players for an “outstanding” performance and admitted that the match was an obvious banana skin following the glamour of picking up the first trophy of a season he hopes will bear more for his squad.
Building a mentality in which every game is afforded paramount importance is something Klopp has increasingly spoken about, keenly aware that any complacency could lead to surprise setbacks that City are well placed to exploit.
Despite Arsenal’s top-six status, this is another match in which his players could be forgiven for hardly anticipating their sternest test of the campaign.
Liverpool have scored at least three goals on each of the last four occasions against these visitors – the best of which came in last season’s 5-1 win, when Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick.
Klopp set a remarkable record last Saturday, comfortably becoming the quickest Anfield boss to reach 300 points during their tenure by doing so in just 146 games.
Liverpool possible XI: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Mane, Firmino.
Arsenal possible XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Aubameyang, Ceballos, Pepe, Lacazette.