It seems almost a lifetime ago when Liverpool last played a game. It was March 15, to be precise, when the Reds defeated Wolves courtesy of a Diogo Jota goal, and after success against RB Leipzig in the Champions League as well there was the tiniest slither of momentum being gathered in a season wholly lacking in it. And then along came the international break to spoil everything.
Still, at least it has given Jurgen Klopp time to work with some of his squad – those few that weren’t serving on international duty, that is.
The major concern at these times is that a player will return bedevilled by an injury or even jet lag for those flying to all four corners of the globe, however the prognosis is fairly positive for the Reds.
Gini Wijnaldum and Jota were among the goals for the Netherlands and Portugal respectively, while Mo Salah was at the double for Egypt
The likes of Ozan Kabak and Neco Williams all played 90 minutes as well, while Sadio Mane was a second half substitute for Senegal.
The great news, from a Liverpool perspective anyway, is that a number of players didn’t travel to meet up with their respective national teams. The World Cup qualifiers in South America have been postponed, and so the Brazilian contingent of Alisson, Fabinho and Bobby Firmino were at home in Merseyside.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Divock Origi simply weren’t picked by their international managers and so they have also had a couple of weeks off, as have Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and James Milner.
So, aside from those on the treatment table, Klopp will have a decent squad to call upon for Saturday’s trip to the capital to take on Arsenal, and they will be looking to replicate the performance level of that 1-0 win over Wolves a few weeks ago.
Jota returned to haunt his old club, and he will be a crucial figure in the squad heading into the business end of the campaign. And the Reds could have won by an eve wider margin, with Mo Salah seeing a goal chalked off and other chances missed.
It was a while ago, but a repeat of that performance should be enough to see off Arsenal.
Liverpool Team News
We’re still awaiting developments as players return to England from their international duty, but it’s a case of so far, so good on that front.
Otherwise, there are only four injury concerns – and so Klopp has a near enough full arsenal to call upon for the trip to, erm, Arsenal.
Jordan Henderson won’t feature – he is still recovering from his groin surgery, and the possibility of a return before the end of April is his best hope.
And then we have Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, all of whom are unlikely to pull on the red shirt again this season.
Otherwise, Klopp should have a full deck to choose from – it will be interesting to see which combinations he fields on Saturday.
If the momentum Liverpool had has been halted by the international break, you could argue that Arsenal have been hampered even more significantly.
Three good wins prior to the hiatus – over Leeds, Tottenham and Leicester – were matched by a battling defeat to Manchester City, and so Mikel Arteta had the Gunners in good order before the break.
It will be interesting to see how the reset will affect his team – they had eleven players away on international duty all over the world.
Arsenal vs Liverpool Betting Tips
One of the accusations levelled at Arteta when he was under the most intense of scrutiny was that his side was too safe and conservative.
He certainly seems to have addresses that of late, with five of his side’s last six Premier League games witnessing both teams scoring and four of those yielding three or more goals.
While Liverpool’s attack has stuttered at times this season, there’s no doubt that the Reds are in better shape now that Jota is fully fit, and at the other end of the pitch sides will fancy their chances against the youthful central defensive pairing of Kabak and Phillips.
So, on this occasion, we’re happy to follow the trends and back Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score in a double at even money.
As to who will win this game, answers on a postcard! You could make a case for either based upon their form prior to the international break, and it will be interesting to see how that time away effects the teams.