As they enter the home stretch both Arsenal and Liverpool have much to do to salvage success from a season that has turned remarkably sour for them. While European competitions are their last remaining hope of silverware there is still plenty to play for, not least momentum to take into next week’s fixtures, at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side could find themselves needing to make up an eight point gap to Chelsea in fourth by kick-off whilst Arsenal’s only realistic hope of European qualification through the league involves them winning most if not all of their remaining fixtures. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
- Date: Saturday, April 3 | Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Emirates Stadium — London, United Kingdom
- TV: NBCSN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: Arsenal +210; Draw +250; Liverpool +125 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Arsenal: The strides Arsenal’s defense have taken under Mikel Arteta are clear for anyone to see but recent weeks have seen a notable regression in their work at the back with familiar tendencies for individual errors rearing their heads in the Europa League and a 3-3 draw at West Ham where they needed to overcome a largely self-inflicted three goal deficit.
“One of [the areas that we need to improve] is related to the attention and focus that you need during the whole game,” said Arteta. “For example, the way we conceded the second goal against West Ham, where we turned our backs on a free-kick close to our box, is something that we cannot do. It just gives a goal to the opponent.
“And there’s also the other face, that we really like, the way the team played and reacted, the character we showed and the quality that we provided on the day to come back against a really good opponent from three goals behind.” Which side of Arsenal Liverpool will see on Saturday remains unknowable.
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Liverpool: Whilst dropping Fabinho to the centre of defense felt the natural and logical response when Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffered major injuries, recent games have shown the value of restoring the Brazilian to his natural role anchoring Liverpool’s midfield. Suddenly Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson can push higher up the pitch whilst Thiago looks far more like the player the Reds believed they were signing when free from tackling responsibilities.
However restoring Fabinho to midfield comes with its risks and could mean a central defensive pairing of Nathaniel Phillips and Ozan Kabak against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and company. The question Klopp will be asking himself is whether the value of having a near full-strength midfield is worth compromising the heart of his side’s backline.
Two teams that have such serious question marks at the back should offer chances to the others but one would suspect that it will be Liverpool who make the most of those opportunities. PICK: Arsenal 1 Liverpool 2