Big Game Focus: Arsenal v Liverpool

The mammoth Premier League clash between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates this weekend is the subject of our Big Game Focus.

Both sides have enjoyed an impressive start to the 2018/19 season, although Liverpool remain ahead of their hosts this weekend in that regard. The Reds are currently joint-top of the Premier League standings with Manchester City on 26 points, although they trail Pep Guardiola’s side on goal difference.

Under the guidance of new manager Unai Emery, Arsenal have rediscovered a kind of consistency that has barely been seen at the club in nearly a decade. They have also been able to retain flair even as they have added a steely side to their game. A 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace last weekend saw them drop slightly off the pace and are now four points behind the leaders.

Here is our preview of the game, including betting advice, team news and predicted line-ups.

Betting tips

Arsenal’s record of 24 goals in the Premier League this season is only matched by Chelsea and bettered only by champions and leaders City, who have 27. Liverpool have only scored four goals fewer than Emery’s men. Neither of the two teams have failed to score in any league match this season, save for their respective encounters with Man City. Back Both Teams to Score at odds of 1.40 here.

This fixture has historically been a source of goals and excitement, and we could be set for another memorable game. Here is a record of the score lines in the last five matches between the two: 3-3, 4-0, 3-1, 3-4 and 3-3. Over 2.5 Goals has occurred in all but four of Arsenal’s 15 matches in all competitions this season. Liverpool have won their last two matches 4-1 and 4-0. Odds for Over 2.5 Goals are at 1.50 here.

After a relatively slow start to the season, Mohamed Salah has surely rediscovered his best form since the end of the last international break. The Egyptian superstar has four goals in three matches in that time; he had only scored three in 11 games before that. With three career goals against Arsenal to his name so far, Salah has never failed to score in a match against the Gunners. He is valued at 1.90 to be Anytime Goalscorer here.

Eleven of the last 16 goals scored in Liverpool matches have all come in the second half. The contrast between Arsenal’s productivity in the first half and in the second half of matches this season has been stark. They have bagged nine goals in the first period, but managed to add 23 after the break. Philippe Coutinho’s goal had Liverpool leading at half-time the last time these two teams met, but the game ended 3-3. Bet on the Second Half With Most Goals at 2.05 here.

Team news

Hector Bellerin is a huge doubt for the hosts after he suffered a thigh injury in the Palace match. Mohamed Elneny is also sidelined with a thigh injury and the wait continues for the return to fitness of centre-backs Konsantinos Mavropanos and Laurent Koscielny. Young midfielder Matteo Guendouzi will miss the match after he was sent off in the Gunners’ midweek win over Blackpool in the Carabao Cup.

The midfield will be an area of concern for Liverpool as doubts remain over a number of key players. Naby Keita is yet to recover from a hamstring injury that he sustained whilst on international duty last month. His alternative in the engine room Jordan Henderson, had to come off against Huddersfield last weekend.

Likely line-ups

Arsenal: Leno; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Sokratis, Xhaka; Torreira, Ramsey; Iwobi, Özil, Aubameyang; Lacazette

Liverpool: Alisson; Gomez, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Milner, Wijnaldum, Lallana; Salah, Firmino, Mané