It is another big night at Anfield, when Liverpool hosts Arsenal. It is a showdown between two of the biggest clubs in England – the current league table is a paradox to this fact where Arsenal are seventh and Liverpool a lowly eleventh. Standings set aside, Liverpool vs Arsenal is always a big match in world football.
Liverpool and Arsenal matches have been often exhilarating and enthralling over the years. The 4-4 result at Anfield in the 2008-09 season a testimony to the above statement. Both teams have come to have known for their attacking brand of football, with incisive passing, and forward movement.
The managers at both clubs, Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger share their preferred sides in the football field – i.e. the attacking half. The neglected part of the pitch has been the cause of worry for both managers for a long time now. The presence of Luis Suarez upfront and the 100+ goals Liverpool managed last season overshadowed their defensive frailties, but it has come to haunt them this season. The Arsenal side is no stranger to getting destroyed by big clubs on the road – Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Everton amassed 20 goals against the North London club, denting their title challenge and even threatening a top 4 finish (which the gunners managed eventually).
Given the defensive record of both clubs in the recent past, and no signs of change in tactics for a better defensive showing by both managers, the draw may well be accounted by which team finds the net most times tonight in Liverpool.
The match though, would be won by defence – if a team can hold fort, it can end up with getting an all important three points; how badly both the clubs need them!
Arsenal has been inconsistent at best – winning one then going on to lose the next. Liverpool’s performance has been no better – an early exit from the Champions League and a 3-0 humiliation by their nemesis Manchester United being the most recent wounds. Liverpool has just not gotten up from their hangover of the late title surge of last season and sourly miss a marksman – with Suarez rediscovering himself in Spain and Sturridge out injured. Arsenal may not be in such a deep state of bother, but a title looks fairly out of reach. Alexis Sanchez has carried the gunners in many games now, and the North London club would be looking to steadily go upwards in the league table.
Since both the teams enter the field with the same playing styles, it would be a case of mastering tactics and who outsmarts who. Rodgers edged Wenger last year when Liverpool exposed Arsenal’s slow and open defence in a 5-1 humiliation. It looks improbable now, with the Merseysiders inability to find the net. But the pace of Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, and Phillipe Coutinho can still cause problems to a shaky Arsenal backline. It is tough to predict what happens at Anfield tonight, but one thing is certain. The defenders may not leave the pitch very happy.
Image Source: [https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8186/8432497114_e96c33ca97_b.jpg]