Arsenal have a gilt-edged chance to send out the clearest message yet to their title rivals that they’re not going anywhere, by defeating Liverpool at Anfield.
However, given only Southampton have inflicted defeat on the Reds at home all season, it’s a tall order for the Gunners in the weekend’s Premier League curtain-raiser.
Below are three key areas we’ve identified which could improve Arsenal’s 9/4-rated chances of collecting all three points on Merseyside and going five points clear of the pack in the process.
Force Steven Gerrard into mistakes by harrying him in deep positions
For all his wondrous attributes, if there is a flaw in Gerrard’s game, it’s his ability to make an errant pass in a dangerous place when under pressure.
In his new role covering for the injured Lucas, Liverpool’s captain marvel is still a large attacking threat, if given the time to wave his wand of a right foot.
But, as Aston Villa showed in their barnstorming first-half display at Anfield, if you get into him, Gerrard is mere flesh and blood and capable of giving the ball away.
Isolate Liverpool’s weakest link Aly Cissokho
For all Brendan Rodgers’ astute business in the transfer market, the Frenchman he bought in on loan from Valencia to provide cover for long-term casualty Jose Enrique is questionable in the extreme.
Cissokho has a horrific first touch, poor distribution and his desires to bomb aimlessly forward can be easily exposed by Arsenal on the counter attack.
Allocate Philippe Coutinho-duties to Mikel Arteta
There is no doubt the man who makes free-scoring Liverpool tick in the offensive department is their little Brazilian schemer, Coutinho.
If Mathieu Flamini hadn’t been banned, the Frenchman would’ve been a prime candidate to marshal the former Inter man wherever he goes.
However, Arteta has the energy and tenacity to match him and Arsene Wenger would be wise to stick the Spaniard on the diminutive number 10 for the duration.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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