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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Liverpool should come out on top of shootout with Gunners

Expect goals at Anfield

Liverpool fans with a Jurgen Klopp flag
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League, 4pm Sunday

Their fans may not care to admit it, but there have been some curious similarities about Liverpool and Arsenal's season so far.

Both were involved in frenetic high-scoring openers before playing out single-goal encounters - to differing levels of success - on matchday two. But it is in their transfer dealings where the similarities are really stark. 

While the Manchester clubs have spent with care-free abandon, Reds and Gunners fans have been forced to watch on with envy as their clubs battle to keep hold of their stars rather than bring players in - an all-too-familiar occurrence for Arsenal supporters despite the promise of change.

Liverpool's chances of hanging on to Philippe Coutinho have improved in recent days with Barcelona's capture of alternative target Ousmane Dembele, but the Brazilian remains on the Reds' injury list for the visit of the Gunners.

Arsenal, however, could welcome back their talisman Alexis Sanchez but the vultures continue to circle for the Chilean.

Judging by recent trips to Anfield, Arsene Wenger's side could do with some Sanchez inspiration on Sunday afternoon if they are to bounce back from their disappointing 1-0 defeat at Stoke.

On two of their last four trips to the red half of Merseyside, the Gunners have been sent back to the capital with their tails between their legs.

In February 2014, they were tormented by the hosts' front three of Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge in a 5-1 hiding, while last season Jurgen Klopp's troops were comfortable 3-1 victors.

Wenger has been beset by injuries to his defensive line and while Laurent Koscielny is available after suspension, the pace and dynamism of Liverpool's attack points to another miserable afternoon on Merseyside for the Gunners.

Since arriving at Anfield in October 2015, German boss Klopp has turned the Reds into one of the most potent attacking units in the Premier League.

Even without the guile of Coutinho, Liverpool have already scored ten goals in four Premier League and Champions League appearances this season. Using his wing-backs in unison with their forwards who play on the flanks, Klopp has a team who look capable of ripping any side apart on their day.

As with Arsenal, their defence is a concern - they have conceded six goals already - but what they lack at the back they more than make up for going forward.

At odds-against there is plenty of mileage in backing the hosts to inflict a second straight defeat on the visitors, but recent history suggests this fixture is unlikely to be dull and a Liverpool win in a game containing three or more goals represents greater value at 15-8.

The last ten league and cup meetings between the pair have garnered 41 goals and that trend looks likely to continue.

Arsenal should be better suited to playing a side who are not only set up to defend like Stoke, but the considerable threat represented by Liverpool's deadly attacking triumvirate of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino could be too much for their shaky defence to keep at bay.

Liverpool to win and over 2.5 goals
2pts 15-8 general

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Team news
Trent Alexander-Arnold faces a late fitness test on a dead leg sustained against Hoffenheim on Wednesday. Emre Can (knee) is a doubt, but Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are out.

Defender Laurent Koscielny is available after suspension. Alexis Sanchez could feature after an abdominal strain

Key stat
There have been 41 goals in the last ten meetings between the sides.

Arsenal could welcome back their talisman Alexis Sanchez but the vultures continue to circle for the Chilean
E.W. Terms
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