Saturday’s lunch time clash at the Emirates even at this early stage of the season is a huge game for both parties involved as we head into the first crucial game of the season.
A busy summer has seen a number of new faces at Anfield as Dalglish has been assembling his desired first XI. First impressions on Saturday against Sunderland were encouraging in particular the impact of Stuart Downing and Charlie Adam in the first half. On the other hand Jordan Henderson struggled to impose himself on the game, which as a result will probably see him on the bench come kick off. Jose Enrique was somewhat rushed and many Liverpool fans were expecting his debut to come in the London trip.
It was clear from outset that Dalglish sent his side out to lay down a marker on Saturday and on any other day they would have been out of sight at half time. The somewhat surprise inclusion of Suarez from the off seemed to do the trick despite his early penalty miss, but Sebastian Larsson’s cracker ensured a deserved share of the points as the reds ran out of gas by the end.
After the somewhat false start, this weekend presents the perfect opportunity for Liverpool’s season to spark into life. Arsenal are there for the taking, the countless times Udinese were able to open up the Gunners’ back four on Tuesday will have Downing and Suarez licking their lips. Despite appearances Arsene Wenger will be reeling from the loss of Cesc Fabregas this week and the absence of Nasri, Wilshire, Song and Gervinho will serve as a massive blow to his plans to impose his side on the league early on into the campaign.
Defensively there are still a number of question marks and in Robin Van Persie Arsenal have a genuine threat and Theo Wallcott will ensure the full backs are kept busy. The role of the holding midfielder who it maybe will be crucial in providing the all necessary protection to the centre backs.
Enrique will have had a week to bed into life on Merseyside and will now know his team mates that bit better. A lot is expected of young John Flanagan and game by game he is improving and will look back on his impressive showing at the Emirates back in May for inspiration. The likely pairing of Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher will have to be at their best and will be keen to impress the boss as he is still very much on the lookout for a new defender.
Arsene Wenger’s side will certainly have been targeted by Liverpool as the side they want to overhaul into fourth spot.
There are a number of twists and turns ahead with and you get the feeling Dalglish and his backroom staff are trying to find the right balance in order to deliver success this season. Despite not having a certain first XI in mind, this early game is the perfect chance for the reds to land the first blow on their assent back ontoEurope’s grandest stage.