If ever there was a time for Liverpool to “go again,” it’s now.
Liverpool visits Arsenal on Saturday in a crunch Premier League game between two contenders for a top-four finish. Six points separate fifth-place Liverpool from third-place Arsenal in the Premier League standings with just eight games remaining in the 2014-15 season. Liverpool is five points behind fourth-place Manchester United.
Liverpool and Arsenal are the hottest teams in the Premier League. Arsenal has earned 27 out of 30 available points in 2015, topping the Premier League in the second half of the season. Liverpool is second with 26 points in 10 games.
Liverpool dominated its last game against Arsenal (on Dec. 21 at Anfield) but had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
What’s at stake?
Liverpool can hoist itself back into the reckoning for places in next season’s UEFA Champions League with a win. A draw would keep things as they are. Defeat could end Liverpool’s chances of catching Arsenal and qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League directly.
What to expect
The international break disrupted both teams’ rhythms, as many players spent the last two weeks with their national teams. Most returned to their clubs Wednesday or Thursday, and the quick turnaround for Saturday’s game could negatively impact the quality of the contest.
Nevertheless, Liverpool-Arsenal should be fast and competitive, and history shows us there’s a good chance a new hero could emerge.
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Arsenal has won eight consecutive Premier League games at home. It’s the Gunners’ best run since 2005, before they moved to the Emirates Stadium.
Liverpool has shut out its last six opponents in Premier League road games. It can set a new club record if it shuts out Arsenal.
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LFC team news
Liverpool will be without Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard, who currently are suspended because of their actions during the 2-1 loss to Manchester United on March 22 (which ended Liverpool’s 13-game unbeaten run).
Their absences will force manager Brendan Rodgers to reshuffle his deck, but the Liverpool manager received some good news in recent days.
Daniel Sturridge should be available for selection after recovering from a hip muscle injury he suffered during the Manchester United game. Adam Lallana also could play, having shaken off a groin problem.
Lucas Leiva has overcome a groin injury of his own. The Brazilian defensive midfielder could start after practicing for the last three weeks without a notable setback.
“It’s a game we will want to get something from,” Rodgers said Thursday, according to LiverpoolFC.com. “In terms of the objectives going into the game, it’s no different to what it was before Manchester United, but of course we had a disappointing result and performance last time out.
“We really want to make sure we perform and give ourselves a chance to get a positive result.
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