Liverpool’s season has been left hanging in the balance following a shock defeat to Leicester City last week and they face a huge clash this weekend, as they welcome an Arsenal side to Anfield that is also under intense pressure.
The Gunners have a huge week ahead of them as they will try to overhaul a 5-1 deficit in the Champions League against Bayern Munich, before hosting Lincoln City in the FA Cup next weekend- which presents their only realistic chance of winning silverware this season.
Arsenal have consistently struggled against the top-end sides in the Premier League this season, whilst Liverpool are unbeaten against the top-ten, and former Liverpool man Mark Lawrenson expects that record to continue this weekend.
“I think Monday’s defeat by Leicester has led to Jurgen Klopp’s first real crossroads moment, in so far as he needs to have a bit of a rethink in regards to the make-up of his team. It is difficult with his current squad, because at the moment the team basically picks itself – excluding teenagers who have come through the system, he probably only has 15 or 16 players to choose from.”
“I think Liverpool have some really good players in there but as a team they are weak mentally and, if someone really goes at them like Leicester did, they cannot keep them at bay. It also feels like, if Plan A fails for the Reds, they don’t have anything as a back-up. Again, we saw that against Leicester.”
“But then you come back to the conundrum which is Liverpool’s form in games against the other leading teams this season, where they are still unbeaten and top of that mini-league. Arsenal are bottom.”
“The Gunners have other issues, of course, with Arsene Wenger’s future still under scrutiny, but they did have the benefit of a weekend off because they were meant to be playing Southampton, who were in the EFL Cup final.”
“This is a big game in the race for the top four and a lot of the time I tend to think these matches end up in a draw. After the week Liverpool have had, though, wouldn’t it just be typical of them to win it?”
Lawrenson is predicting a 2-1 victory for the hosts, which could see the Reds rise into the top-four and see Arsenal slip to sixth.