Liverpool will be desperate to reignite their Premier League campaign when they host a resurgent Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday.
Prior to the recent international break, the Reds suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat to West Ham that ended a remarkable unbeaten, and also did some serious damage to their log position.
Not only did that result enable West Ham to leapfrog Liverpool into third place on the league standings, but Manchester City’s win over Man United elevated them into second spot – just three log points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
Liverpool are four points behind the league-leading Blues, and now face a tricky fixture against a confident Arsenal team that has quietly but efficiently climbed the log ladder to lie in fifth place.
The Reds will certainly be smarting after seeing their 25-match unbeaten run come to an end at the London Stadium. “We can be better 100 percent,” an enraged Jurgen Klopp commented afterwards, and it will certainly be interesting to see what the response turns out to be this weekend.
Liverpool will head into this clash without the services of Roberto Firmino, who was ruled out before the international break with what Klopp described as a “serious hamstring injury” sustained against Atletico Madrid.
Another star, Sadio Mane, was forced off during Senegal’s 1-1 draw with Togo last week after suffering a rib injury, but fortunately he was seen back in training with Liverpool this week.
Reds captain Jordan Henderson was also sent home early from international duty following an injury worry in England’s 5-0 win over Albania on Friday, although reports suggest it’s also nothing serious.
James Milner appears to have recovered from a hamstring strain, which will continue to ease fears for Liverpool just as it started to seem that injuries could threaten to derail their season.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are missing Granit Xhaka, who is still expected to be out until the New Year with a knee injury, but Mikel Arteta should be able to call on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after overcoming a minor injury scare while on international duty.
The Gunners cruise into Saturday’s fixture after building a 10-match unbeaten run across all competitions, which has included six wins and two draws in the Premier League.
Yet this will be a different challenge altogether as Arsenal test themselves against their first real top-four competitor since the heavy defeat to Manchester City in August.
Anfield has certainly not been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent years, having failed to win there since 2012, but they may just see an opportunity to strike another blow to Liverpool’s title charge.