Mikel Arteta has likened Anfield to a ‘jungle’ ahead of this weekend’s high-profile clash against Liverpool.
Arsenal travel to Merseyside on Sunday afternoon as they look to maintain their eight-point advantage at the top of the Premier League, with Liverpool currently sitting in eighth after an under-par season of struggle.
The Gunners beat Jurgen Klopp’s side earlier this season, though the league leaders have not won at Anfield in the league since 2012.
Last year, Amazon’s All or Nothing documentary showed Mikel Arteta preparing his side for a trip to Anfield by blasting You’ll Never Walk Alone throughout a training session, explaining during the episode that it was during a trip to Anfield that he felt powerless to play.
The atmosphere at Anfield can be intense 🔥
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) August 2, 2022
The North London side still went on to lose that game 4-0, with Arteta and Jurgen Klopp also involved in a touchline spat, however, the Spaniard defended his preparations for that particular game, saying you cannot prepare for a trip to the jungle by taking a trip to the zoo.
“I don’t like seeing myself like this,” Arteta said of that incident with Klopp.
“If you want to isolate only a context that is about an atmosphere you’re going to live in, then they should not shoot on goal,” he said.
“Because if they have to shoot on goal on Sunday, don’t [make them] shoot on goal on Thursday just in case you miss.
“You have to prepare the players, you have to tell them what they’re going to be facing and you have to recognise that. And an error and a mistake becomes an opportunity to do that and develop yourself.
“You have to expose yourself; you cannot train the players in the zoo and then go to the jungle on Sunday. It’s impossible.”
Arteta said his players need to ’embrace’ the challenge of ending Liverpool’s dominance in this fixture as they eye a first league title since 2003/04.
“We have to enjoy it and we really need to embrace the moment and go for it,” he said.
“The team is full of enthusiasm and positivity. We know that we have a big challenge, but it is a big opportunity to do something we haven’t done in many years. That is what is driving the team the past few days.”
Arsenal have played a game more than Manchester City, who do have to play each other in a few weeks time, and Arteta was asked if his players believe they can win the title.
“I think they do,” Arteta said. “When you listen to them and what they have been saying internally and publicly, they certainly do.
“It is something that we see signs of every single day. The chemistry they have, the understanding between them, the enjoyment they have playing with each other, has made a really positive contribution in that eagerness — and as well in that belief that they can go out there and beat any team. This is crucial before doing it.”