Arsenal are preparing to go head-to-head against Liverpool for the fourth time this season
The two teams have already met across three different competitions, with the Gunners coming out on top in the Community Shield as well as the Carabao Cup thanks to a pair of successful penalty shoot-outs.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side were victorious in the reverse Premier League fixture back in September with Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson, and Diogo Jota all on target in a 3-1 win.
Both teams will have one eye on their respective Europa League and Champions League commitments next week, but the game at the Emirates Stadium remains an important one.
Just four points separate Arsenal and Liverpool in the table and victory for either will be a big boost in attempts to salvage their Premier League campaigns with a respectable top-six finish.
Mikel Arteta‘s side go into the game on the back of a 3-3 draw with West Ham United before the international break.
At one stage, the idea of leaving the London Stadium with a point looked unlikely as the Gunners trailed 3-0 after 32 minutes, but staged a dramatic comeback thanks to a pair of own goals and Alexandre Lacazette’s header.
That made it four league games unbeaten for the north London outfit, but hopes of extending that run to five have been dealt a blow with news that Emile Smith Rowe could miss out through injury.
The 20-year-old was rated as “very doubtful” for England U21’s final European Championships group stage game against Croatia and was not named in the lineup ahead of kick-off.
It has been revealed that Smith Rowe’s absence was down to failing a late fitness test which places his involvement against Liverpool in doubt.
Since Christmas, Smith Rowe has been a regular in Arteta’s midfield set-up whether that be as the number 10 behind the main striker or from the left to accommodate Martin Odegaard in the same side.
But his potential absence will leave the Spaniard with a big decision to make.
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Arteta is not short of wide options at all. Willian, Nicolas Pepe, and Gabriel Martinelli will all be pushing for starts, but it seems the Arsenal boss has already hinted at who will get the nod if Smith Rowe misses out.
Judging by the Spaniard’s team selection against Burnley at the beginning of March – the last time Smith Rowe missed a game through injury – it’s possible that he thinks Willian is better suited to operating from the left.
But with Lacazette scoring in his last two appearances, Arteta could revert back to using captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the left-wing.