Liverpool – The Biggest Test

The Reds picked up where they left off in 2019/20 with two  straight league wins, whilst the Gunners followed up victory over  them for the Community Shield with back-to-back league wins of their own.

On the back of that Arsenal make the first of two long trips to Anfield this week for their much anticipated Premier League clash against champions Liverpool.

Good day one and all.

With two meetings these last two months already, these sides should know each other pretty well by now. And although the Gunners got the better of the Reds on both occasions, some argued that neither of those games were priority for Liverpool; as they already had the league title sewn up when they visited the Emirates and that the Community Shield nothing other than a “glorified friendly”.

Be that as it may, none of those matches were at Anfield where Jurgen Klopp’s side are on unbeaten league run stretching back to April 2017. However, they didn’t look quite as invincible when they hosted Leeds on opening day. The Peacocks came from behind three times, only to be undone by a late Mo Salah penalty that handed the Reds a 4-3 win – all four goals came from set-pieces.

If opposition fans thought maybe this is the season Liverpool are there for the taking, those were quickly put to rest when they made light work of Chelsea in a 2-0 victory last Sunday.

Mikel Arteta won’t doubt his side’s chances though. In his short managerial career he is already two for two over the Merseysiders. In fact, in Arsenal’s last nine matches (all competitions) we have beaten four of last season’s top-five: Liverpool (twice), Man City, Chelsea and most recently Leicester in a Carabao clash.

It’s still early days though to say whether that is proof that Arteta is the man to lead the Gunners back into the top-four, especially ahead of a very tricky league run of five matches against last season’s top-seven. But if we can come out the other side in good shape, well, I guess we can start feeling confident of our chances.

Despite Marcelo Bielsa not cc’d on that memo, a trip to Anfield remains a daunting task for any team and we haven’t won there in a really long time. But this Arteta’s Arsenal is a resolute bunch, that come a long way from that side that lost their heads in a 2-1 defeat at Brighton. And despite our personal feelings about the politics at Colney, these boys deserve our support each time they step on that field.

Team news

There’s no new injuries as Kieran Tierney, who pulling out in the warm-up ahead of last weekend’s win over West Ham is due back. So is David Luiz who could make his first league start of the season.

Eddie Nketiah came off the bench to score the winner against the Hammers and was on the scoresheet again in midweek, but it’s unlikely that he will start ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, who was on target in both our opening two league fixtures.


Liverpool is amongst the top three teams in Europe, so we will be up against it, but we also don’t need to sell ourselves. We are on a pretty decent run and our recent wins against them should give us all a boost.

These clashes also aren’t exactly short on entertainment, with 20 goals scored in our last three visits up north, and this one could be no different. First real hurdle for both teams this season and I’m looking forward to it. COYG!

— @LaboGoon

29 comments on “Liverpool – The Biggest Test

  1. Thanks Labo: familiar feelings of dread made almost worse by the slight hope that this time the boys might get something out of the game. The last league win there I can remember saw a Diaby masterclass and a Cazorla goal (his first for the Gunners?). Liverpool were pretty average back then and their rise since, first under Brendan and then Klopp, shows that inspirational coaching and astute transfer dealings can make real change happen. I am full of hope that Arteta can do much the same for us.


  2. German FA admits to Ozil ‘mistakes’ that forced Arsenal’s World Cup-winning star into retirement amid racism storm
    Chris Burton

    The enigmatic playmaker quit international duty in 2018 after being singled out for a meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and poor performances

    The German Football Association (DFB) has admitted to “mistakes” in its handling of Mesut Ozil in the wake of the Arsenal playmaker’s decision to meet with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

    Ozil, along with Manchester City midfielder and international team-mate Ilkay Gundogan, sparked controversy ahead of the global showpiece in Russia.

    He was pictured with Erdogan on the eve of the tournament, with many of those in his homeland questioning the actions of a player with Turkish heritage

    Ozil was made a scapegoat for the struggles that 2014 world champions Germany then endured on the field, with Joachim Low’s side suffering a humbling group-stage exit when defending their crown.

    In the wake of that disappointing showing, and with criticism still being aimed in his direction, Ozil took the decision to retire from international football and launched into a scathing attack on the DFB.

    He said in a lengthy statement: “It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that because of recent events, I will no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.

    “I used to wear the German shirt with such pride and excitement but now I don’t. This decision has been extremely difficult to make because I have always given everything for my team-mates, the coaching staff and the good people of Germany.

    “But when high-ranking DFB officials treat me as they did, disrespect my Turkish roots and selfishly turn me into political propaganda, then enough is enough. That is not why I play football, and I will not sit back and do nothing about it. Racism should never, ever be accepted.”

    DFB general secretary Friedrich Curtis has now admitted that errors were made in the handling of a high-profile case and character, with Ozil being forced out unnecessarily.

    He said at a meeting with young scholars at the Deutschland-Stiftung Integration: “The DFB made mistakes in dealing with the events surrounding the Ozil case.

    “A photo became a burning glass for many topics.

    “The moment there were racist allegations, we missed the time to meet with the player.”
    Article continues below

    Curtis went on to address the wider topic of migrants in Germany and the lack of diversity that exists within DFB structures.

    He added: “Integration is such an awfully wooden word. It’s about treating each other with respect.”

    Ozil retired from Germany duty with 92 caps and 23 goals to his name and currently finds himself frozen out at club level after failing to convince Mikel Arteta of his worth at Emirates Stadium.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Labo, this is going to be a tough game, they will want revenge for the last 2 games, but hope we can get something out of this, there have been stranger results this season than us winning at Anfield


  4. Almost certain Pen to LiVARpool maybe worth a wager


  5. Thanks Labo – really appreciate these pre-match write ups, not always easy to do and but always sets the scene nicely.

    I think it’s fair to suggest Arsenal struggle more to beat teams that don’t expect to beat us at the moment. That said, you would imagine the big teams are at least aware of the threat now posed by Arteta’s Arsenal, even if they are not always sure how to counter it.

    For us, shutting down Liverpool’s attack alone is the biggest ask so I do wonder if we may be set for a draw, as unlikely as it sounds? And that would be a perfectly decent result for us, compared to recent seasons when expectations had all but collapsed.

    Fingers crossed.



  6. Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 60 Premier League games at Anfield.

    so its high time they lost


  7. It is quite true they have to lose sometime and we can beat anyone on our day so who knows. Massive test but COYG.


  8. Still a lot of work to be done, because Rome and all that jazz. But I have faith in the boss and will walk the path with him.


  9. Should we lose, even lose badly, it won’t necessarily be season defining. If we nick a point or even three from sitting back and hoping we might deny and then score on the break it won’t mean automatic top 4. Arsene used to say judge in May, but I think we will be in a position to have a nuanced view by the end of December.


  10. WTF Why no red card for mane

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I felt in advance that the price if that community shield supercup victory so close to the league victory was enough of a heads up for Klopp on how to combat the tricks Areta had up his sleeve. Auba locked down so far.

    Real shame he doesn’t have a veteran Özil coming off fresh from the bench to help have a go at them if chasing in the last quarter.
    Can you imagine the screeching if it was Özil who let his man go for Liverpool’s second instead of his current replacement Willian.

    Fingers crossed the team get a result somehow.
    When you’re already the underdog it doesn’t help if your owner/master is stamping down for some insane reason upon your *****.



  12. Feel like the Gunners are doing OK in this recent spell/period.
    Xhaka off for Ceballos is a big change.
    almost an immediate result but Lacazette finishes poorly after a fine pass from Dani.
    Laca’s game today has some fuel for his critics.

    I’ve enjoyed Holding’s game. Luiz too. Tierney most likely not a hundred percent today.


  13. The Martinez-Leno story reminded of competition between Lukic & Seaman. I’m probably not the only one thinking of ‘safe hands’ Martinez.

    Although still dangerous Liverpool not as sharp as they were, they can tire. Poor corners from Pepe. Ignoring values it helps with the points in the table when a team has all the best players available (see what happened with Ozil-Ramsey last time).


  14. That game showed this team what they are at this moment, brave, hard working, good counter attack, sometimes, but ultimately a bit of a work in progress under a new coach and new philosophy. As much as I admired our bravery in intricately passing around our own area, against that attack, there were plenty of heart in mouth moments, Liverpool could easily have scored more, as could Lacca.
    I think our play will pay dividends against lesser opponents but we were not at Liverpool’s levels for now, especially with them playing above even their usual game as they did this eve. Liverpool are a completed team, play almost the same players week in week out and have done for several years, it’s very rare the front three, fullbacks , and VVD don’t start.
    Wouldn’t even take too much from that game for now, except that Pepe should not take corners

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am pleased that I only saw 30 minutes of this game as it was 30 minutes of utter embarrassment.

    We were not second best but 50th best.

    Complete rubbish would be a compliment of what I saw.

    Yes, the ref should have called a foul against Auba, but that was one second in 30 minutes of rubbish

    Who said that we can beat anyone?


    The proof is ion the pudding, as they say. Play against a good team and we play like amateurs.

    We can beal teams as bad as us or worse, but no one better, when it matters.

    The difference in class was so marked. I do not think a single Liverpool pass went astray when countless passes from our players did.

    Can you all please remove your rose-tinted glasses about how well Arteta is doing and start being realistic.

    Until now we had no midfield, but today we showed we have no defence and not much of an attack either.

    All this talk about spending vast sums to buy in new players, money that we do not have, yet the truth is that anyone we buy for big money will most probably end like Pepe, whose 2 corners today did not beat the first defender.

    Arteta’s skill has to be to manage with what he has. He could be good at that but chooses to ignore players that can make a difference.

    Emery’s mirage period lasted 22 games. Arteta’s was much less, but the effect is the same.

    The fans have been enticed into thinking that we are much better than we are when in truth we have no midfield, no creativity, and a porous defence when attacked by a good team when the game matters.

    We have a striker in Auba, who looked like he could not be bothered today and another Laca whose confidence is low. He missed a chance that most good strikers would eat for breakfast.

    Wake up please, everyone.

    All is far from rosy here.

    Oh yes and how about that great saviour Willian? Now you know why Chelsea were glad to let him go.


  16. Oh yes.

    Now 10 shots on targeting 3 games.

    Put your hands up anyone who thinks that that is acceptable.

    No midfield, no creativity means no shots.

    The playing out from the back is suicidal.

    The pressing was totally ineffectual.

    Whilst I was watching it did not gain possession once.


  17. That all said, Liverpool should have been down to 10 men after a few mins, but as we know, that doesn’t happen to Liverpool


  18. We need a better, more diversified midfield. Aouar, Partey and Ozil would bind this team into champions. Of this I have no doubt. Liverpool were dead tired after all that pressing. Well done to them.
    A week left to get the unwanted out the door and those 2 gems in.


  19. Liverpool and pressing, they are the first team I have ever seen that seem to be able to press for 90mins each game in multiple competitions over seasons. There was a time when conventional wisdom said a team could not press for 90mins and had to time things. You are right, they must be tired, but don’t seem to show it so often, must have damn good doctors
    Liverpool have a great manager, some great players, on top of that, they get , let’s just say, their fair share of decisions, we saw that this evening, and certainly many times over the last couple of seasons, they are financially stable, they, perhaps unlike us, have sold well, owners who presumably, have put money into the club, not commenting on the rights or wrongs of that, just mentioning for comparisons sake, and their fitness, if I hadn’t become used to it over time, I would describe it as suspicious. Say what you want about Arsenals shortcomings, real of perceived, but from what Arteta inherited, catching Liverpool will be a formidable, and likely expensive task. Silverware in his first six months, with what he inherited and has had to deal with, injuries, Covid, Raul, Emery’s aftermath, finances, even if I don’t get all he does, Arteta is punching above his weight.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Yes JJ, Liverpool hasn’t lost a league match at Anfield in over 3 years. All Arteta’s fault.

    How are any Premier League supposed to beat them there while he remains the manager, Stan the owner, Edu, Vini and whatever it is Kia is doing.

    Arteta OUT!


  21. Sounds like we, well, clung on and found ourselves in with a shout until late in proceedings. Which, not having watched, I’m ok with given just how tough we’ve found it there for many years (had look through results and was very surprised to see a 0-0 about 4 years ago, but apart from that, 3 least we have conceded in about 6/7 go’s)

    Anyone can get overwhelmed there, nobody has beaten them in goodness knows how long in league. I guess in part it’s a sign of how football has changed, as even while at our imperious best I’m sure likes of Spuds could come to our gaff with reasonable hopes of stemming flow of chances, and succeed in that aim every now and then; while, there, for us, it’s been impossible for a number of years.


  22. But the red, ah, the reds. that’s 3 games on bounce they have had strong contenders for red cards, while we have had just the one. So of course it was that one which went to monitor and resulted in only red.

    Last night they may well have still found a way to get a result, but it would dramatically improve our chances. The real damage/ boost, though, is hard to calculate and applies over seasons in their totality.

    Almost literally, what happens if you are, when there’s a case for one, near immune to straight/early reds vs what if they are common for you. What does that amount to over the course of a season, or 10-15 years?


  23. The advantage to the team with the immunity, in terms of how high they can keep their aggression, and how much stress on the team is saved by the absence of getting their dues for overstepping the mark. It’s an incredible advantage for them and disadvantage for us. Wenger required an unbelievably good team to overcome it, and it is far worse now under Riley than back then


  24. I have come to the conclusion that my disappointment about how the club is being run, is clouding my feelings about Arteta. He might be innocent and be in no position to do anything other than he’s doing.
    I love Arteta and I don’t want him to become the lightening rod for me.
    I must try harder not to be so pissed off, because I’ve stopped enjoying football.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I barely watch it at all now, just enrages me the bullshit the PGMO and pundits commentators get away with. Never mind all the business surrounding how the club is run. That’s on top.


  26. Some pundits (and rival fans) seek to damn with faint praise with the line ‘but a good cup team’ and over the course of the last few years The Arsenal have been one of the very best cup teams, quite regularly beating the very best opposition and landing trophies to boot. What I am now coming to understand is how much that is down to the way Cup games are refereed as opposed to League games.


  27. I think there is an easy conclusion, Liverpool are the better team, and as Arteta says, several years further into their journey under Klopp
    But, can only imagine what would have happened to Xhaka if he had used the Mane elbow technique on an opponent, in fact , dont have to imagine, we have seen what results
    The point has been well made, as good as they are, Liverpool play with the freedom of knowing they will get away with a lot, Real, Barca, Bayern, peak, and non peak Utd have the same. As for Liverpool, I dont think I saw a VAR decision go against them last season until they had the title sewn up, that despite a lot of blatant dives from their front players invariably resulting in pens, that and some cynical fouls as we saw yesterday.
    The media heavily back Liverpool and always have done, but the treatment they and Utd benefit from surely goes right to the top of the EPL establishment.
    I know some refs will be ambitious, some careerists, some clearly have affiliations with Utd and Liverpool, some might have worse motivations, but others must feel embarrassed for themselves and profession at what they are willing to do


  28. A pat on the back from Uncle Mike must be reassuring though eh.


  29. Pat on the back, good assessments, up the merit table, more games and fees, yearly bonus at his discretion, better chance at big games, including finals, put forward for Uefa.

    Pretty easy to shape it, without outright corruption, if man at top is that way inclined and it is agreeable to all the parties who can hold him to account (though that’s probably a chicken and egg situation, as they put him there). Anyone likely to take a real stand of course would be weeded out before joining the elite pool. Or if slip through or try to go rogue, put in place.


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