Thiago and Alisson out? Mikel Arteta to go bold at Anfield? How Liverpool and Arsenal should line up after latest injury news

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Thiago and Alisson out? Mikel Arteta to go bold at Anfield? How Liverpool and Arsenal should line up after latest injury news

The sleeping giants of English football are just starting to wake after decades of slumber.

Leeds United are back in the Premier League, Aston Villa have smashed their record transfer fee for a striker and Everton sit second in the table.

Yet the re-emergence of both Arsenal and Liverpool after years of mediocrity is fascinating.

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Mikel Arteta is slowly but surely rejuvenating Arsenal

Admittedly, the Gunners are nowhere near the Reds at this current moment in time; Jurgen Klopp has lifted the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup trophies in the past 18 months alone.

Yet Mikel Arteta is quietly going about his business in north London and looks like he is laying the foundations for a seriously bright future.

After defeating Chelsea in the FA Cup final at the start of August, the Spaniard picked up the Community Shield a month later after defeating Liverpool at Wembley.

Of course, there are sceptics who insist this is not a trophy. Yet the performance and the statement delivered on that day in the capital sent a serious message.

Arsenal beat Liverpool to win the Community Shield earlier this summer

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Arsenal beat Liverpool to win the Community Shield earlier this summer

The two sides meet in the Premier League on Monday evening (gloriously rearranged to accommodate pub-goers) at Anfield.

In the same fixture last season, the chasm between the two sides was gaping. Unai Emery’s charges were comfortably beaten 3-1 on Merseyside.

Yet by the end of the season, it was Arsenal who claimed revenge thanks to Arteta’s tactical tinkering and even his counterpart on Monday night admits the job he has done in such a short space of time is ‘pretty impressive’.

“I am not sure I should compare, but Arteta has showed in a short period he seems to be an exceptional football manager,” the Liverpool boss said in his pre-match press conference.

Jurgen Klopp is a fan of Arteta’s style of management

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Jurgen Klopp is a fan of Arteta’s style of management

“The team he sets up now, the structure is exceptional. You can see the balance between defence and attack. Good organisation but freedom for players, uses them in right place.

“He’s done a pretty impressive job. He has changed the whole mood in the club, I don’t think a lot of people thought he would have won anything but he did that with the FA Cup.

“And now the English super cup, that’s pretty impressive. They will be a tough opponent.”

So what sort of game should we expect to see?

Liverpool fan tells talkSPORT he wants the Reds to sign Mesut Ozil from Arsenal this summer

Liverpool team news

Captain Jordan Henderson is unavailable for the game against Arsenal, Klopp has confirmed.

The midfielder was forced off during the clash with Chelsea last Sunday, which meant Thiago was handed a slightly earlier debut than expected.

Joel Matip is likely to also be out until the international break with a hamstring injury, although Joe Gomez and Billy Koumetio both returned to training on Friday.

This is likely to mean Fabinho will deputise as a makeshift centre-back on Monday.

Thiago may not make his full debut though with reports suggesting he and goalkeeper Alisson could now be out of the clash.

Mohamed Salah ran riot against Arsenal in this fixture last season


Mohamed Salah ran riot against Arsenal in this fixture last season

How Liverpool should look against Arsenal

Liverpool’s back four remains rock solid and should be unchanged, despite accusations of arrogance thrown at them.

Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will have to be measured in their approach to this game; push too far forward and the high line could be exposed by Arsenal’s pace.

Thiago’s possible absence makes things trickier, especially with Jordan Henderson out.

Georginio Wijnaldum could, in this case, sit as the 6, with Naby Keita and Curtis Jones playing ahead of him and looking to create in the final third.

The front three also picks itself quite comfortably, with Mohamed Salah hoping to continue his incredible record against the Gunners – scoring five in the league since returning to England in 2017.

Adrian is set to be the man to replace Alisson if the Brazilian is deemed unfit.

Arsenal team news

The last time Arsenal won at Anfield, Mikel Arteta was in the team. David Luiz has returned from a neck injury and will be hoping to provide a similar amount of experience on Monday.

Willian is also familiar with winning at Anfield, with the new signing from Chelsea fitting seamlessly into the team so far. Nicolas Pepe is a more than capable impact sub for a game like this.

Lucas Torreira is pushing for a move away from north London so, despite scoring here last season, the Uruguay international is unlikely to be anywhere near the squad. Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka is the first choice midfield combination.

Kieran Tierney impressed against Liverpool already this season, although he missed the games against West Ham United and Leicester and so Sead Kolasinac could be entrusted to start alongside new signing Gabriel Magalhaes.

David Luiz was imperious at Wembley last month

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David Luiz was imperious at Wembley last month

How Arsenal should look against Liverpool

Using a 3-4-3 formation has become something of a signature move for Mikel Arteta at Arsenal.

Possession-based football is still very much the name of the game, but Arsenal are more fluid and move quicker than ever before, thanks in part to the width they play with.

Bukayo Saka and Hector Bellerin are both naturally wide players, meaning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian can drift inside and either run in behind Alexandre Lacazette or come short.

The French striker may have to drop deep without the ball to stop the Liverpool midfield dictating play, but Arsenal will want to impose their own style and identity on this game.

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