Mikel Arteta has urged his Arsenal players to believe in themselves as they look to win a Premier League game away at Liverpool for the first time in nine years.
Arsenal last came away from Anfield with all three points in September 2012, a game in which Arteta played a full part.
The Spaniard is now in his first managerial job with the Gunners and heads to Merseyside with his team in great form thanks to a run of six wins in an eight-game unbeaten streak.
Saturday’s trip to Liverpool is undoubtedly the toughest game Arsenal have faced during that run, but Arteta sees no reason why his side cannot pick up a rare Anfield victory.
“It’s always a big test to play there. It’s a fascinating stadium to play football in,” Arteta said. “You have to be at your best.
“You have to raise the level to your maximum standards – emotionally, physically, tactically, technically – because if you don’t, you will get exposed.
“But you have to believe that you can go there and beat them. If somebody doesn’t have that mindset they should not put the shirt on and go to Anfield tomorrow.”
Liverpool have collected just one point from their last two games and cannot afford to slip up again as they aim to keep pace with leaders Chelsea.
Questions have been raised over Klopp’s future following Steven Gerrard’s arrival at Aston Villa – the midfield legend having been tipped as Klopp’s eventual successor – but the German insists his Reds reign is far from over.
“I don’t have to think about these kind of things at the moment – thank God – because we are in the middle of the season,” he said.
“No other manager gets asked so often about things that could happen in two or three or four years.
“I didn’t think about it, I don’t want to think now about it, it’s all fine how it is. It’s over when it’s over, but it’s far from being over.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Liverpool – Diogo Jota
Roberto Firmino may be nursing an injury, but Klopp is still blessed with an incredible front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Jota. Jota was a real thorn in Arsenal’s side last season, scoring twice at Emirates Stadium and once at Anfield, taking his tally to four league goals against the Gunners in six games for Liverpool and Wolves.
Arsenal – Emile Smith Rowe
With his goal against Watford two weeks ago, Smith Rowe became the fourth player to score in three successive Premier League appearances for Arsenal when aged 21 or under after Nicolas Anelka, Jose Antonio Reyes and Cesc Fabregas. He was rewarded with a first England cap during the international break and marked his full debut with a goal against San Marino, making it six goals in 10 games overall for club and country this campaign.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Liverpool have won their last five home Premier League matches against Arsenal, netting at least three goals in every win – they last had a longer home top-flight winning run against the Gunners between September 1981 and January 1988 (seven in a row).
– Since Klopp took charge of Liverpool, Arsenal have won just one of 11 Premier League games against the Reds (D3 L7), with the Gunners coming from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at the Emirates in July 2020.
– Liverpool’s defeat at West Ham last time out ended the Reds’ 20-game unbeaten run in the Premier League. Each of their last three defeats in the competition have been against London sides, with the Reds losing consecutively against Chelsea and Fulham before that 20-game run.
– Arsenal are now on the longest unbeaten run of any side in the Premier League (8 – W6 D2). The Gunners last had a longer run without defeat in the competition between August and December 2018 (14 games under Unai Emery).
– Liverpool are unbeaten in nine Premier League home games (W5 D4), having lost six in a row at Anfield before this. However, the Reds let a lead slip to draw their last two home league games 2-2, dropping as many points from winning positions in these games as they had in their previous 23 at Anfield combined (four).