All too often we as fans build one match up to have added significance but it’s hard to look past the importance of playing Arsenal at the Emirates this coming Saturday. Defeat will not derail all momentum but it would definitely drain some of it. Win and we can dust off the pretender tags and become genuine title contenders.
Some already believe Arsenal are on the verge of a mini crisis after successive defeats at home to Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea, should Liverpool make it a hat trick of losses Arsene Wenger will have to endure more sensational headlines after seemingly putting out those fires with the signing of Mesut Ozil and eight wins on the trot.
The margins are fine in the Premier League at the best of times but after the weekends fixtures we could potentially be top of the league or alternatively sitting around sixth depending on other results. That’s the sobering reality of such a wide open Premier League season. You can’t help but feel this young Liverpool team need a win of this magnitude to not only cement their place in the top four but to really believe they deserve to be there.
The two major questions for many Liverpool fans is whether Rodgers will keep faith with the 3-4-1-2 formation and will Coutinho be in the starting eleven? A 4-1 win and arguably the performance of the season has breathed new confidence into the formation after growing concerns that it wasn’t as fluid as the 4-3-3 variation Rodgers started out with.
I think the WBA game proved that Victor Moses’ skill set wasn’t best suited for playing in the hole and replacing him with another midfielder made perfect sense. For once this season our midfield seemed to ‘work’ last Saturday. Jordan Henderson has gone from being a makeweight in a deal for Clint Dempsey to being the most expensive utility player Anfield has ever seen. There’s a compliment in there somewhere. He has featured at right wing back and pretty much all of the three central midfield positions in the team. This is a game where Jordan Henderson’s attributes will shine more so than in a game where Liverpool dominate from start to finish. His high intensity pressing and his great engine are a perfect fit for the match at the Emirates and on this basis I think Coutinho will have to bide his time getting back into the team. Who better to make an impact from the bench around the hour mark than our perfect ten Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool’s early season form has a lot to do with the form of their two strikers Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez. They are just oozing confidence at the minute, the goals against West Brom illustrate as much. They give Liverpool a fighting chance going into any game and the SAS partnership will look to sabotage Arsenal’s title hopes by continuing their ruthless streak in front of goal. They have both added a clinical touch to their finishing and Suarez especially just doesn’t seem to be missing the same chances he was maybe 18 months ago. Arsenals backline and Per Mertesacker in particular will not enjoy Luis Suarez dropping deep and running at him, after all, reports in the media during the week suggested Luis Suarez could nutmeg a mermaid and I tend to believe he could. For this very reason I think Liverpool can win at the Emirates. Prediction 2-1 win.