Liverpool Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
The Easter celebrations have been great thus far with me having some catching up to do with the family. The last time I paid my parents a visit here at Abuja was this same time last year, so you’d blame my mum for trying to stuff me up with food. Today’s gonna be fun though because I’m going to watch the game with the Mrs. and my friends, so I can only hope for a great game of football while drinking some of that Orijin goodness.
The Gunners had been on amazing form before the international break and from the best of my knowledge, Danny Welbeck seems to be like the only player that picked up a knock or so while representing England. Kieran Gibbs featured against Italy and played for a while while Theo Walcott kinda failed to impress.
Yesterday, I was happy to see the manager and his alpha-dog in attack, Olivier Giroud, holding their manager and player of the month plaques. It’s obvious that both individuals deserved their awards but they can’t rest on those laurels. Giroud has to continue his scoring streak for more reasons than one (this is nothing to do with the fact that I recently put him in my Fantasy Premier League team -___-) and Arsene Wenger has to motivate his lads to keep on the winning streak so that they’d have a strong finish in the competition while challenging for honors in the FA Cup.
“Our desire is just to continue to win. We have built a level of confidence and are conscious that if we do certain things well, then we can win games.” – Arsène Wenger
The manager has thrown the gauntlet to his players to keep up their form against a Liverpool side up until their defeat against Manchester United, was the most in-form team in the division.
The visitors have only kept one clean sheet in their past 18 matches against Arsenal. But they come into this fixture having equalled a club record six consecutive clean sheets on the road, which is a very incredible record. Simon Mignolet and his defensive cohorts have not conceded in over nine hours of away action and with defensive lynchpin, Martin Skrtel, getting a suspension for going a-stamping on David de Gea, Arsenal’s cause will be helped.
Liverpool’s away record against the Gunners is quite shocking with just one win in their last 18 visits to London (W1 D7 L10). Brendan Rodgers would have to assess the fitness of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling while Adam Lallana is likely to miss out with a groin injury. Jordan Henderson is odds-on to lead the lads out with Steven Gerrard facing a 3-match ban for his disgraceful stamp on Ander Herrera.
To injuries, the Gunners welcome four players back into the fold but this game would be too soon for them. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still on his way to full fitness and Wenger would be happy to have many fit players at his disposal. The more the merrier.
I’d expect Per Mertesacker to return to the defense ahead of Gabriel to partner Laurent Koscielny while Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin flank them. The young fullback made his debut for the Spanish Under-21s during this break so he’d be buzzing. In midfield, Francis Coquelin must have gotten enough rest and I hope his nose has healed completely. Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla will make up the numbers in the center of the park. If Mesut Ozil is fit enough from his
nightclub duties illness, he can play alongside Alexis Sanchez and Giroud in attack.
It promises to be an exciting clash and I hope the Gunners will come back with all three points.