Live Liverpool v Arsenal – Premier League!
Minute-by-minute report: Will Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal continue their strong form by getting a result against the champions? Join Rob Smyth
“Under Arteta, Arsenal seem to have coherent strategies,” writes Juan. “Team selection is easy to understand and appropriate to his tactics for each game. The players look as if they know what they are doing. Won’t help us tonight, mind.”
“Keita moves the ball forward in central areas by running with it or quick short passes,” says Niall Mullen. “ I’m not sure how effective that’s been in this team that likes to attack from out wide but I like watching it.”
Oh aye, I’m not saying he’s the new Istvan Kozma; he just hasn’t stood out when I’ve seen him. That said, and odd as it sounds, it’s hard to judge non-highlights players when you do a liveblog because you spend half the match typing/looking at emails/being asked whether you get paid to write this.
Updated at 7.42pm BST
“As an Everton fan it’s exceedingly rare to be looking down on either of these teams in the table, let alone both of them, so under the circumstances my desired outcome is a draw,” says Matt Burtz. “If Liverpool must win, I would prefer it if it’s only by one goal. If Arsenal wins, well, let’s reckon with that if it actually happens. And yes, I’m aware that only three games have been played, but I’ll take what I can get.”
“Naby Keita seems to be getting a run of games at the moment, regardless of who else is fit,” says Ben Raza. “He’s blown hot and cold (and, mainly, lukewarm) since he came to Anfield. The early part of this season looks like his last big chance I reckon.”
I half thought Curtis Jones might start tonight. Keita has never been that impressive when I’ve seen him, but I get the impression I’ve missed his better games. Liverpool have serious depth in central midfield now.
Diogo Jota is on the bench for Liverpool, but Thiago is out with a minor injury. Alisson starts - he was doubtful with an unspecified injury - and Fabinho moves back into midfield to replace the injured Jordan Henderson.
Mikel Arteta has picked a slightly more cautious team: Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny preferred to Gabriel, Bukayo Saka and Dani Ceballos. The new goalkeeper Alex Runarsson is on the bench.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Williams, Milner, Jones, Minamino, Jota, Origi.
Arsenal (3-4-3) Leno; Holding, David Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Runarsson, Gabriel, Saka, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Pepe, Nketiah.
Updated at 7.14pm BST
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Aston Villa are hammering Fulham at Craven Cottage in the early game. It’s 3-0 just after half-time: Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Tyrone Mings scored the goals.
Arsenal: your country needs you. Sure, it’s the same country that has sneered at you for most of the past decade, but you must understand that it was only banter. Besides, we all need a favour. Because if somebody doesn’t undermine Liverpool pretty soon, the 2020-21 title race will be over by Christmas for the second year in a row.
While the rest of the Big Six have started the season in varying states of shambles, Arsenal have won their first two games and start tonight’s match above Liverpool on goal difference. Yes, those wins were against Fulham and West Ham, but they have continued Arsenal’s obvious improvement under Mikel Arteta.
They beat Liverpool, albeit in a dead rubber, at the back end of last season and then again on penalties in the Community Shield. Anfield is a whole new level of difficulty, a place where Arsenal have been taken apart in recent seasons. On their last eight visits, they have conceded a bruising 30 goals.
Arsenal do have the players to hurt a Liverpool defence that has been a bit slapdash in recent months. But while they have improved at the back themselves, keeping Liverpool quiet at Anfield is nigh-on impossible. For Gabriel, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney - for the whole Arsenal team - this is the real quiz.
Liverpool are an awesome team who, at the moment, look unstoppable. So did Arsenal in the autumn of 2002 and 2004, yet they didn’t win the league in either season. Things can change, such is the primacy of confidence, but for that to happen somebody needs to urgently introduce Liverpool’s mentality monsters to the concept of self-doubt. Leeds almost managed it; Chelsea didn’t come close. Now it’s Arsenal’s turn. For once, the nation is with them.
Kick off 8pm BST.