Liverpool and Arsenal lock horns at Anfield on Monday night with their 100% Premier League records on the line. Mark O'Haire analyses the odds...
"Goals tend to be rife when Liverpool and Arsenal lock horns with Both Teams To Score banking in 14 of the past 16 head-to-head meetings across all competitions"
Liverpool v Arsenal
Monday September 28, 20:00
Liverpool impress at Stamford Bridge
Liverpool delivered a powerful statement of intent about their desire to retain the Premier League title with a comfortable dismissal of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Jurgen Klopp's champions were in complete control even before Blues defender Andreas Christensen was correctly shown a red card on the stroke of half-time.
Sadio Mane punished Chelsea with two swift goals after the break to confirm Liverpool's vast superiority. New £20m signing Thiago Alcantara, on as a half-time substitute, did give the Blues a lifeline from the penalty spot but Alisson saved his spot-kick to ensure a comfortable afternoon for the Merseysiders, who are two from two to start the season.
It was a satisfying afternoon for Klopp, who was without both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Fabinho was used at the heart of the defence alongside Virgil van Dijk and will be an option again for Monday night should Gomez fail to recover in time. Skipper Jordan Henderson should be available, whilst new signing Diego Jota is also expected to be involved.
Arsenal scrap late home success
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised his side's mental strength after Eddie Nketiah's late winner maintained the North Londoners' 100% start to the season with a 2-1 win against West Ham. The Gunners largely controlled the opening stages of the contest and deservedly went ahead when Alexandre Lacazette headed in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross.
However, the Hammers, who always looked dangerous on the counter-attack, levelled just before the interval when Michail Antonio bundled in. While Arsenal continued to enjoy more of the ball after the break, West Ham created the better openings but, Nketiah's late tap-in from a Dani Ceballos pass ensured Arteta's outfit of maximum points at The Emirates.
Kieran Tierney was withdrawn late on and replaced by Sead Kolasinac after feeling an issue in the warm-up. The Scottish international is expected to be fit enough to feature at Anfield with David Luiz also back to full fitness and available for selection. Arteta looks likely to persist with his 3-4-3 system with Aubameyang and Willian flanking Lacazette in attack.
Merseysiders strong favourites at Anfield
Arsenal are winless at Anfield since 2012 (W0-D2-L5) but the Gunners head to Merseyside having avoided defeat in both meetings with Liverpool under Mikel Arteta's tutorship. The capital club enjoyed a smash-and-grab success at The Emirates towards the end of last season and followed that victory up with a win on penalties in the Community Shield.
But Liverpool 1/21.50 remain well worthy of their short price for Monday's match-up. The Reds have picked up a huge 202 points from a possible 234 since the start of 2018/19, earning 64 wins from 78 in that sample. Jurgen Klopp's troops have suffered only four defeats in that time, half of which arrived after the Merseysiders were crowned champions.
Arsenal 11/26.60 have undoubtedly improved under Arteta's watch. The Gunners are playing with composure and character, whilst showcasing a much more unified proposition in defensive areas. Nevertheless, the visitors finished a whopping 43 points behind Liverpool last season and bridging that gap appears an impossible task for the time being.
Reds to edge enjoyable encounter
Goals tend to be rife when Liverpool and Arsenal lock horns with Both Teams To Score (1.65) banking in 14 of the past 16 head-to-head meetings across all competitions. A repeat on Monday night is too short to support but combining both sides to get on the scoresheet alongside a Liverpool win is well worth considering at 2.70 quotes on Betfair Sportsbook.
The Reds were put under pressure by both Leeds and Chelsea with enterprising balls over either full-back and Arsenal do possess the pace and clinical attitude to make their mark when opportunities arise. However, it's difficult to see the Gunners keeping Liverpool quiet with the hosts scoring at least three goals in their last five Anfield encounters with Arsenal.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 6.00 pts
Returned: 3.79 pts
P/L: -2.21 pts