Make-or-break for Arsenal as it welcomes in-form Liverpool

Arsenal

Jurgen Klopp’s long goodbye continues this weekend with a trip to the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal will look to rain on his parade.

The Liverpool boss, who will leave the club at the end of the season, knows he cannot take anything for granted, even though his club holds a five-point lead at the top of the table as Manchester City has a game in hand.

Liverpool has played 22 games and is on 51 points. Arsenal is third, on 46 points, the same as City, which has played 21 matches.

For Arsenal, this could be a make-or-break match, as it cannot afford to drop any more points. Arsenal received a boost midweek as Declan Rice maintained his record of starting every Premier League game this season.

There were fears that Rice, a £105 million summer buy from West Ham, would be out for several weeks after complaining of a hamstring issue in the 5-0 demolition of Crystal Palace on Jan 22.

The England international limped off with Arsenal 3-0 ahead, but due to the English game’s version of a winter break, it meant the Londoners were not in action until Wednesday morning, giving him enough time to recover.

He played another key role in Arsenal’s narrow 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest which moved it temporarily into second place until City defeated Burnley 3-1 the following day to leapfrog it on goal difference.

With Thomas Partey also returning to training after undergoing surgery in October, Arsenal will be confident of finally beating Liverpool this season – the teams drew 1-1 at Anfield in December.

Liverpool has been in superb form and has scored four goals in each of its last three league matches, even though Darwin Nunez keeps hitting the woodwork.

The Uruguayan striker hit the post and crossbar four times in the match against Chelsea on Thursday morning – an unwanted Premier League record. This season alone, he has struck the woodwork 14 times but has still managed 11 goals and 11 assists.

City, meanwhile, is only in action on Tuesday morning against Brentford (4am). It should have no problems claiming three points as the Bees have suffered four defeats from their last five matches.

The early kickoff sees fourth-placed Tottenham taking on Everton at Goodison Park.

Everton, waiting to hear the result of its appeal against a 10-point deduction for overspending, is winless from its last five games, while Tottenham has won three, drawn one, and suffered one defeat in that time.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)
SATURDAY
Everton vs Tottenham (8.30pm)
Brighton vs Crystal Palace 11pm)
Newcastle vs Luton (11pm)
Burnley vs Fulham (11pm)

SUNDAY
Sheffield United vs Aston Villa (1.30am)
Manchester United vs West Ham (10pm)
Chelsea vs Wolves (10pm)
Bournemouth vs Nottingham Forest (10pm)

MONDAY
Arsenal vs Liverpool (12.30am)

TUESDAY
Brentford vs Manchester City (4am)

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