Wednesday, 30th October 2019
Arsenal seek to salvage their hopes of clinching silverware in the Carabao Cup in the midst of a chaotic season when they make the long trip to meet Liverpool at Anfield.
The high profile encounter pits the two heavyweights of English football in search for a place in the quarter finals of the League Cup. The clash comes at a time when the sides are on opposing sides of the optimism scale.
The Reds go into the cup fixture riding on a high wave of optimism that has their fans on cloud nine. Jurgen Klopp’s men are top of the Premier League, six points clear of their nearest challenger and very confident after staging a magnificent 2-1 comeback victory over Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend.
In contrast, nothing seems to be working for their London rival. Arsenal are in full crisis mode after Sunday’s league match that saw them throw away a 2 goal lead for the second time this season to draw at home against Crystal Palace. The final result was upsetting but the scoreline only tells half the story beleaguering the team.
It was another failure to win against a team that Arsenal should typically beat. Same as the 1-0 loss to new boys Sheffield United last Monday.
As has often been the case over the course of the last decade, the Gunners find themselves in a precarious but all too familiar scenario. This time it comes in the form of a crisis in confidence in manager Unai Emery.
The visitors lie fifth on the log with 16 points, four points off the top four that they have to failed to break into for the past three seasons and 12 points behind their Merseyside rival.
Emery is on the receiving end of the fans’ wrath for his team management skills, or lack thereof. 18 months into the role, the Spaniard is yet to fully nail his starting XI and has been exposed for his atrocious man management.
His differing treatment of Mesut Ozil, the team’s creative maestro has had an effect on Arsenal’s attacking output. In addition, he appears to have ostracized his captain Granit Xhaka as was evident in the Palace match.
With hopes of challenging for the league title all but gone, it remains to be seen how the Basque native will set up his team in the cup fixture that has been the preserve of the second string of players.
Academy graduates Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe could have their chance to shine as they have proven themselves on the Europa League stage.
Klopp could line up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against his old club who could use this as a chance to lay a mark on the German and lay a statement of intent.
Virgil van Dijk suffered a dead leg last time out and is unlikely to feature along woith Mohamed Salah who took a knock to his ankle.
Head to head:
The visitors are winless in their last five meetings against Liverpool suffering by a 12-2 aggregate scoreline on their last 3 visits to Anfield.
Liverpool win and both teams to score.