They have both made flawless starts to the season with two wins from two but someone’s perfect record will have to go.
Unai Emery said Arsenal never want to play Liverpool after last season’s 5-1 defeat at Anfield, but they will have to face their fear on Saturday.
Whether Emery is playing mind games or simply expressing genuine anxiety, Jurgen Klopp will not allow it to affect his preparations.
Although it’s early in the season, he will know after last season they cannot afford to let slip a first sighting of a chance to put some distance between them and Man City.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool face first big test of the season when they host Arsenal on Saturday
LIVERPOOL: Firmino can show again why he is the dominant influence for Jurgen Klopp’s men
Some will say Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk or Sadio Mane, but Roberto Firmino has proved in recent weeks that he is the driving force in this Liverpool team.
Jurgen Klopp’s side look a completely different outfit when Firmino is on the pitch.
He interlinks play well with Salah and Mane and almost always contributes an assist, goal or makes something happen that leads to one.
In the European Super Cup, he started on the bench and Chelsea were much the better side for the first 45. Then Firmino was introduced and the whole dynamic of the game changed.
Roberto Firmino’s importance to Liverpool cannot be understated after recent performances
Within two minutes he produced panic at the back which allowed Mane in to equalise.
Days later, he scored what proved to be the difference at Southampton. The Brazilian’s significance to Liverpool cannot be understated.
He is the kind of player that you can rely on to summon up a moment of magic when required. Firmino is red hot at the moment and when he is in this kind of form he verges on the unplayable.
He will have fond memories of this fixture last season, having scored a hat-trick as Liverpool put Arsenal to the sword.
Emery will know any chance of securing a result will depend on shackling Firmino.
Unai Emery will know any chance of securing a result will depend on shackling Firmino
ARSENAL: Has Unai Emery found the perfect midfield maestro… and why they should shoot on sight
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s importance to Arsenal has been highlighted in these opening games with the striker scoring in both of their victories.
But strikers can’t do their jobs if they aren’t given the service. Admittedly, against Burnley, Aubameyang still had plenty to do before he unleashed a shot into the bottom corner, but the take away from that win was that in Dani Ceballos, they have got a real creative force.
The Spaniard looked every bit a Real Madrid player as he dazzled in his first game for his new club, covering large distances and laying on numerous chances for his team-mates.
Arsenal fans may have been scratching their heads as to why Madrid allowed him to leave on loan on the basis of this performance, but they won’t mind.
Dani Ceballos showed he has the potential to be a real midfield maestro for Arsenal
With strikers like Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette around, Unai Emery knows he has the players to stick the ball away and now with the introduction of Ceballos, they could get even more chances to do so.
Should they have the opportunity to take aim on Saturday, common sense would tell you Emery will be telling his players not to hesitate.
Adrian would have been brimming with confidence after stepping in for the injured Alisson to deliver European Super Cup glory for Liverpool.
But he was brought crashing back down to earth on the south coast a few days later after his mistake almost cost Liverpool three points.
Adrian will be experiencing some self-doubt after his error and Arsenal must try and utilise that by piling the pressure on him. You’d expect the message from the Arsenal boss will be to pepper his goal with shots and crowd the box for corners.
Emery should be telling his players to try and pile pressure on Adrian after last weekend’s error
Liverpool’s Predicted Starting XI: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Mane, Firmino, Salah
Arsenal’s Predicted Starting XI: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal, Willock, Guendouzi, Nelson, Ceballos, Aubameyang, Lacazette
What do the bookies say?
It will surprise no-one to see the Reds installed as 1/2 favourites to beat the Gunners on home soil – however 11/2 for the Arsenal win is a tempting price for the punter, while a draw is 7/2. Both teams to score is 4/7.
For Liverpool’s ‘big three’ of Salah, Mane and Firmino to score first at 7/2, 4/1 and 5/1 will also surprise nobody. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Arsenal’s best bet at 6/1 to net the first goal of the game.
The most popular score is a 13/2 for a 2-1 Liverpool win while you can get 11/4 with some bookies for Jurgen Klopp’s side to win by more than three goals.
All odds via betting aggregator Bookmakers.tv
Who’s saying what?
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum: ‘Everyone says we will finish first or second but we must still show it and perform at the end of the season. We have to make sure we deal with the situations and give everything we have. They [Arsenal] made some good signings but they were always a good team.’
Arsenal defender Sokratis: ‘It (playing Liverpool) is a different game. Maybe it is more easy, because you don’t have to fight a lot – but they also play football. If they are on good day and you are having a bad day, it is hard.’
KEY MATCH FACTS
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Arsenal in all competitions (W4 D4) – they last enjoyed a longer such run in February 2000 (14 games).
Arsenal are without a win in their last six visits to Anfield to play Liverpool in the Premier League (W0 D2 L4), conceding two or more goals in each match (22 in total).
No Premier League fixture has seen more goals than matches between Liverpool and Arsenal (155 goals in 54 games). The fixture has also seen the most hat-tricks in the competition (6 – Robbie Fowler 2, Thierry Henry, Peter Crouch, Andrey Arshavin and Roberto Firmino).
Arsenal have lost 13 Premier League away games versus Liverpool at Anfield – only versus Manchester United at Old Trafford (16) have they lost more in the competition.
Liverpool have won 11 consecutive Premier League matches, equalling their best-ever winning streak in the competition, previously set between February and April 2014 under Brendan Rodgers. Victory against Arsenal would see Liverpool equal their longest winning run in league competition (12 between April-October 1990 under Kenny Dalglish).
Arsenal will be looking to win their first three games of a top-flight season for the ninth time in their history and for the first time since 2004-05, when they finished second behind Chelsea.
Liverpool have gone 41 Premier League games without defeat at Anfield (W31 D10 L0), since a 1-2 defeat to Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace – a run lasting two years and 123 days.
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has scored more Premier League goals versus Arsenal they he has against any other side (8 goals in 8 games). The Brazilian has netted in all four of his Premier League appearances versus Arsenal at Anfield, scoring seven goals and assisting two more.
Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored three goals in 13 Premier League games against fellow ‘big six’ sides, averaging a goal every 356 minutes – in games against non-big-six sides, he has scored 31 times in 38 games, averaging a goal every 94 minutes.
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino is one goal away from becoming the first Brazilian player to score 50 Premier League goals.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has faced Arsenal seven times without defeat in the Premier League (W4 D3) – against no side has he faced more without losing in the English top-flight (7 – level with Everton).