Premier League preview: Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal could be boosted by the return of up to four players when they host Liverpool in a Premier League blockbuster on Sunday.Arsene Wenger is hopeful that young goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Johan Djourou will make a return to first-team action from finger and shoulder problems respectively, while midfield pair Denilson and Alex Song could also feature at the Emirates Stadium.

Szczesny made a bright start to his Arsenal career with a string of impressive performances and could end Jens Lehmann’s brief return to the Gunners’ starting side if selected.

“Djourou and Wojciech are question marks,” Wenger told Arsenal TV online.

“It could be a possibility that they could be available. It’s difficult to say what their chances are. Denilson and Song have a chance to be available as well.”

Bacary Sagna is unlikely to play due to a knee problem while long-term absentee Thomas Vermaelen will not be risked despite returning to training after an Achilles injury saw him spend seven months on the sidelines.

Arsenal’s last fixture saw them post a 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Blackpool on Sunday, a victory that was much-needed and broke a string of five matches without a win in all competitions.

The Gunners will need to make the most of their chances against a Liverpool outfit who impressively disposed of Manchester City 3-0 at Anfield which has improved the club’s chances of qualifying for European competition.

While a Manchester United or a Manchester City FA Cup victory would allow Liverpool to qualify for the Europa League if they finish sixth, they want to make sure of that spot and not leave it up to chance by finishing fifth.

Andy Carroll’s brace against Manchester City were his first goals for the club and if he and strike partner Luis Suarez can form a potent partnership in the last few matches of the season, Kenny Dalglish’s side have every chance of earning a European berth.

However, Liverpool also have a lengthy injury list, with defenders Daniel Agger, Martin Kelly, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Glen Johnson all sidelined while inspirational captain Steven Gerrard has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin problem.

The last time these two sides met, a Pepe Reina own goal in injury time gave Arsenal a point in a 1-1 draw on the opening day of the season.

 


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