The Premier League’s top two clubs face off this weekend as Liverpool host leaders Arsenal at Anfield.
The hosts will be looking to regain top spot after they were held to a stalemate against rivals Manchester United last Sunday, while the Gunners comfortably beat Brighton 2-0 to replace the Reds at the top.
Here’s everything you need to know about this Saturday’s festive fixture.
Manchester United became the first team to take points off Jurgen Klopp’s side at Anfield and the first to keep a clean sheet against the Merseyside outfit this season, as a lack of quality in the final third for both clubs meant the game ended goalless.
The draw resulted in a fifth Premier League clean sheet of the season for Alisson. The Reds’ 15 goals conceded in the league means they are level with Arsenal for the joint-best defensive record in the division.
At the other end of the pitch, only Aston Villa (37) and Manchester City (40) have scored more goals than the Reds (36), and Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah has had a hand in half of them.
Leon Bailey joins an elite group 🤝
Firing and providing in equal measure ⚽️🅰️ pic.twitter.com/xrW991MJHA
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 17, 2023
The 31-year-old is only behind Erling Haaland in the goalscoring charts with 11, while the two-time African Footballer of the Year is tied first in the assist rankings alongside Pedro Neto and Kieran Trippier with seven.
Alexis Mac Allister remains out until the New Year with a knee problem, so fellow summer signing Wataru Endo will likely remain in the holding midfield position while Ryan Gravenberch, who went off last Sunday with an injury, will be assessed ahead of the fixture.
Diogo Jota and Andrew Robertson remain on the sidelines, as do Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip, who recently suffered an ACL injury.
Mikel Arteta’s side’s impressive home form continued as goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz sent the Gunners top of the Premier League against Brighton.
🎯 Eddie’s pass
🔥 Kai’s finish
Fine free-flowing football pic.twitter.com/UHA2kFw2HN
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 18, 2023
The Emirates has been a fortress for the North London side this campaign. Only Newcastle and Aston Villa (both 24) have picked up more points at home than their 23, but an impenetrable defence away from the Emirates has helped propel the Gunners to the top of the table.
The Gunners have only conceded seven goals in their eight away matches, three of which came in one game, as the Gunners have helped themselves to four clean sheets on the road.
Arsenal aren’t reliant on one main goal-threat, as seven players have scored more than three Premier League goals this season. Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah lead the way on five, with Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard sat on four.
After a slow start which saw Havertz score once in his first eight league outings, the attacking midfielder has contributed three goals in his last five league games.
The 24-year-old scored a late winner away against Brentford, a second-half equaliser against Luton, and a goal to wrap up three points against Brighton last weekend.
The midfield trio of Mohamed Elneny, Jorginho and Thomas Partey will all likely miss the trip to Anfield. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Fabio Vieira are out until 2024.
Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal, April 9th 2023
Arsenal were flying at the top of the Premier League and cruising at Anfield the last time the sides met, before a Granit Xhaka yellow card became the catalyst for a comeback.
Mikel Arteta’s men were coming off the back of seven successive Premier League wins and flew out the traps, as they breezed into a 2-0 lead after just 28 minutes.
The ball fell for Gabriel Martinelli to opening the scoring, as the Brazilian poked past Alisson inside eight minutes, before Gabriel Jesus glanced home a free header to double the away side’s advantage.
Tempers flared when Granit Xhaka got into an altercation with Trent Alexander-Arnold, which only riled up the home fans to create an electric atmosphere inside Anfield, and Klopp’s men used it to their advantage.
Liverpool had a goal back before half-time when Mohamed Salah was alert at the back post to tap home, and he had the chance to make the game level early in the second half but uncharacteristically fired a penalty wide.
Roberto Firmino headed home late on to earn a point for the six-time Champions League winners, which started a run of two wins in eight games for the Gunners, form which ultimately cost them the title.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Konate, Tsimikas; Endo, Szoboszlai, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Diaz.
Arsenal: Raya; White, Gabriel, Saliba, Zinchenko; Rice, Odegaard, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.
Who is the referee?
Is Liverpool v Arsenal on TV?
UK and Ireland: Sky Sports Main Event.
What time is kick off?
Saturday 23rd December, 17:30pm GMT.
Liverpool – 7/5
Draw – 13/5
Arsenal – 9/5