Two of the biggest names in the English game square off in the Premier League on Saturday as Arsenal take on Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.
There is no doubt that both clubs are giants of English football, but both sets of supporters would also admit that they have had difficult campaigns.
For visitors Liverpool they are almost certainly set to give up their Premier League crown after a limp title defence which sees them begin the weekend in 7th place.
After securing their first top flight title in 30 years last season, Jurgen Klopp’s side have been unable to show the requisite application to maintain their status as Champions.
Injuries have played a significant role in their mediocrity this campaign, but on the whole they have been far from good enough – although they do remain in the Champions League knockout stages away from domestic affairs.
Mediocre would also be an apt description of Arsenal’s endeavours this season.
Heading into the game at the Emirates in 9th position, Mikel Arteta’s side – who hoisted the FA Cup aloft last season – have been a long shot from where they would have wanted to be.
For a club like Arsenal, finishing in the top 4 should be a minimum requirement, yet 2020-21 will mark the Gunners’ 5th consecutive season without Champions League football barring a remarkable upturn.
Whilst finishing in the top 4 may be a stride to far for Arsenal, Liverpool won’t have given up hope of sneaking into the picture – a win over the Gunners will briefly elevate them to 5th in the standings before Tottenham and West Ham play their respective fixtures later in the weekend.
One of the positives to come out of Arsenal’s otherwise indifferent campaign is the emergence of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe as first team regulars.
Disappointingly for Mikel Arteta, though, both breakthrough youngsters are a doubt to face Liverpool with hamstring and thigh complaints respectively.
In terms of Liverpool’s squad selection, gaffer Jurgen Klopp will have been delighted to welcome Roberto Firmino back to first team training this week following a knee injury – especially considering the Brazilian has an excellent goalscoring record against Arsenal.
Divock Origi is a doubt in the forward areas, whilst the Reds remain without long-term absentees Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson.
Arsenal v Liverpool kicks off at 8pm on Saturday 3rd April.
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