LIVERPOOL AND ARSENAL enter their clash at Anfield on Saturday having recorded huge wins last time out.
Carling Cup champions Liverpool, sitting seventh, are seven points adrift of Arsene Wenger’s men and have a game in hand.
They will host an Arsenal team carrying momentum after a memorable 5-2 win over North London rivals Tottenham last time out. Liverpool edged Championship outfit Cardiff City on penalties in the Carling Cup final on Sunday, but will need a better performance if they are to overcome Arsenal.
Winger Stewart Downing produced arguably his best performance in Liverpool colours as he took man-of-the-match honours at Wembley. But Kenny Dalglish’s men again struggled in attack, squandering several chances – as they have throughout the campaign.
Liverpool are among the most wasteful teams in the English Premier League, with strike pair Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll failing to net regularly. Uruguayan Suarez has provided a constant threat, but he has let himself down by wasting several chances in goalscoring positions.
His conversion is a far cry from that of Arsenal forward Robin van Persie – the Premier League’s top-scorer with 23. The Dutchman has carried his team throughout a disappointing campaign that sees them sitting seven points adrift of third-placed Tottenham and 17 off league leaders Manchester City.
Wenger’s team are also on the verge of elimination from the Champions League after a 4-0 first-leg loss to AC Milan in the round-of-16. Theo Walcott continued his strong form with a brace against Tottenham, while Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky produced one of his best performances of the season.
Liverpool will be without defender Daniel Agger after the Dane broke a rib in the win over Cardiff, while Brazilian midfielder Lucas remains sidelined until the end of the season. Wenger, meanwhile, is likely to be missing the likes of Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey, while defender Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere will definitely be sidelined.
While Liverpool have a chance to close the gap on fourth spot – the last Champions League place – Wenger will hope his team can build on their confidence-boosting win over Tottenham.