Arsenal v Liverpool Preview/ Lineup: Arteta Faces Four Selection Challenges

Arsenal v Liverpool – September 28th, 2020

Early Liverpool

The origins of the city of Liverpool date back to 1207, when King John issued letters patent advertising the establishment of a new borough – ‘Livpul’. Soon after, in 1235, the building of Liverpool Castle was completed. This stood on the spot where the Victoria monument now is (on the aptly named Castle Street) and was removed in 1726.

In its early days, Liverpool comprised of just seven streets, which are all still there today – Bank Street (now Water Street), Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street (now High Street), Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street) and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street). It would remain a relatively small and unimportant city until its rise to prominence in the 18th century as part of the booming transatlantic trade.

In 1715 the first ever commercial wet dock was completed in Liverpool on the River Mersey, originally known as Thomas Steer’s Dock. The dock accommodated up to 100 ships and was originally a tidal basin accessed directly from the river, and by 1737 via Canning Dock.

In July 2004 Liverpool received the UNESCO World Heritage accolade after a bid centred on Liverpool as a Maritime Mercantile city, reflecting the significance of the city as a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence.

The World Heritage Site stretches along the waterfront from Albert Dock, through the Pier Head, up to Stanley Dock and through the commercial districts, such as the Ropewalks area, to St George’s Hall.

Liverpool FC’s origins lie with their neighbours Everton. Founded in 1878, Everton moved to Anfield in 1884, a facility owned by the club’s president, John Houlding, a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool. In 1892 a dispute arose between Houlding and the Everton board of directors, over the club’s tenancy of the ground. The annual rent had risen from £100 in 1884 to £250 in 1892; Houlding wanted to sell the ground to the club, which in turn wished to agree a long-term rental. Houlding would only agree to this on the basis of a rent at a level unacceptable to the club. Negotiations having failed, the directors decided to leave Anfield and find another ground, leaving Houlding with an empty stadium. His response was to form a new football club to occupy the stadium. He attempted to retain the team name “Everton” by registering the name “Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited” with Companies House, but the Football League decided that the name belonged to the departed Everton club, which acquired new premises at Goodison Park. Houlding therefore adopted the name “Liverpool Football Club” for his new venture.

Our away record against Liverpool is less than stellar. Our last win was on September 2nd 2012. In the EPL era we have only won 6 league games in 28 attempts, and our overall league record including stands at 24 wins in 96 games.

Our last game was a 3-1 thrashing, am I confident? – not in the least. But with the new spirit at Arsenal it would not surprise me to come away with a draw.

Arsenal v Liverpool EPL – Away Games
23-Aug-921  20
02-Oct-93 1 00
28-Aug-94  103
23-Dec-95  113
19-Aug-96  102
06-May-98  104
22-Aug-98 1 00
28-Aug-99  102
23-Dec-00  104
23-Dec-011  21
29-Jan-03 1 22
04-Oct-031  21
28-Nov-04  112
14-Feb-06  101
31-Mar-07  114
28-Oct-07 1 11
21-Apr-09 1 44
13-Dec-091  21
15-Aug-10 1 11
03-Mar-121  21
02-Sep-121  20
08-Feb-14  115
21-Dec-14 1 22
13-Jan-16 1 33
04-Mar-17  113
27-Aug-17  104
29-Dec-18  115
19-Aug-29  113
Total :68143262
Arsenal v Liverpool All – Away Games
Div 200205
Div 118113775125
Total :241953107192


TA’s Expected Starting-11 for Arsenal:

There are four questions regarding the line-up: Is Tierney fit enough to play, Elneny or Ceballos next to Xhaka, Bellerin or Saka on the right wing, and Willy or Pepster on the right wing. Perhaps there is a fifth question: Laca or Eddie up-front, but I reckon that Laca’s current form and experience will lead to direct selection.

Tierney is doubtful, but I would imagine the wee beastie from Wishaw will somehow be fit for this one. If not, AMN will do his deadly marking job on Salah again and again.

Arteta’s biggest challenge is to keep it tight in midfield AND make the right wing work much better. These two challenges are related. Willian is better at passing the ball in tight spaces but Pepe has that ability to burst the high Pool line and that will worry them. Not an easy one for Arteta, but I reckon Willian will be picked initially.

Saka was fabulous v Pool at Wembley and I reckon he offers that extra dimension that we need when it comes to picking the right pass at the right time. So I could see him start instead of the more steady Bellerin, in terms of defensive capability. Yet I guess Arteta will start with Hector.

The biggest question is whether Arteta will start with Elneny or Ceballos. You know my thoughts on this by now, and I wonder what Xhaka would say if he was asked by Mikel. Getting this selection and their game instructions right will be pivotal. Ceballos has that ability to escape a press situation but is also prone to give the ball away dangerously. Elneny is a much quicker passer (needs less touches), keeps his position really well (aligned with Granit) and offers more physicality but is less good at escaping tight situations. I would go with a right wing of Saka, Elneny and Willian on Monday.

All to play for. COYRRGs.              

65 thoughts on “Arsenal v Liverpool Preview/ Lineup: Arteta Faces Four Selection Challenges

  • GN5, that is a fine match preview. Liverpool is a fine city and the first English city I got to know when I arrived in the UK back in the early nineties. It was more dilapidated back then but I loved the Albert Dock area (especially the Tate gallery) and the two very different cathedrals. I was also lucky to work their for a couple of years in the 2002-5 and get to know the people. I didnt know another Gooner in that city back then but they were always respectful towards Arsenal and Wenger. My very first watched football game in the UK was Everton v Villa in 1992. It was a drab draw and I was shocked by the racisms in the stands; luckily this has changed a lot in recent years, even though much more improvement is needed.

    It is a city that loves its football and has a certain calm and grace about it that I missed in Manchester.

    With two wins under our belt in the PL and two recent good results against Pool, we go there with relative lightness. If we lose we are still ahead of the Chavs and the Mancs and the Spuds cannot overtake us this weekend. It will be hard to get a result, no doubt about it, and they will want to smash us after we dared to beat them (albeit it once via the lottery of penalties), but Arteta knows what is coming and we have both the discipline to absorb the pressure and the weapons to beat them on the rebound/counter. For the PL it would be great if we could beat them and I think they are as nervous/confident about the game as we are. Let the cannon roar and roar. COYGs!

  • Thanks a lot, GN.
    Reading you always both informs, and humbles me. I’m always thinking: shouldn’t I – an English teacher – have known the story of the main British cities better? I also feel regretful sometimes: getting the students to know more about Britain, through the story of its football clubs would have been a great idea. I actually spared a thought for it sometimes, but didn’t dare do it. For lack of time first, because I was supposed to teach literature – and loved (in the past tense, because come Christmas, I’ll be a retired teacher) doing it – and didn’t have enough time with my students to do both.
    But also because while letting the young ‘uns know you’re a football fan is one thing, imposing on them a series of lessons based on this idiosyncrasy of yours is another one, which looks very much like stepping on slippery ground, especially with those who just don’t care about football.
    Anyway, my job will have provided me with enough good memories, so I won’t waste time brooding on this – and … well, thanks again, GN.
    There’s always – I suppose – a colleague of yours who ends up becoming a very good friend. It so happens in my case that this colleague is a ‘Pool fan. His mother is Welsh, so his most burning passion is rugby, but he was a lecturer in Liverpool for two years in the late 1990s – early 2000s (?), and came home to Le Havre (his birthplace) “red” enough never to bring him and kev together. Friday night, before we drove home, he bought me a drink, and told me this was likely to be the last one, since given the thrashing we were gonna get Monday, I wouldn’t be talking to him ever again afterwards.
    I’m a “revenge-cold-dish” kind of guy, so I drank and said nothing – didn’t buy another round, though. But if we didn’t beat them to a pulp because one of our lads didn’t work his socks off, I want to do his rating.
    But it won’t happen, I believe in Mick and his boys; I actually like your lineup a lot TA. Just like you I wonder about Kieran, my gut feeling tells me he will play, but that’s just a feeling. Ainsley was my first choice as anti-Mané RB, but he didn’t look comfortable on that flank against the Foxes, and Hector’s cameo was impressive, so I think Hector will be picked. Lastly, Bukayo is in great creative form (as always) so I can’t imagine Mick doing without him; he’s likely to be our RW (he’s certainly ahead of Pépé, ahead of Willyboy I’m not so sure).
    As for Granit’s partner in the engine room, I vote Mo’ – no hesitation whatsoever.

  • Well, technically I’m not, the (small) town I live in is Mont-Saint-Aignan, on the north/right bank of La Seine (Lillebound). The university is there.
    But actually I am, I live ten/fifteen minutes away from the “Old Market Square”, part of Rouen’s historical centre (with the cathedral), where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake.
    The “Stade Robert-Diochon” where The Arsenal played in ’69, is on the south/left bank (Parisbound, 30/40 minutes from my place), in Le-Petit-Quevilly (Rouen – not Rouen all the same, but the town is bigger). The factories are (were) there.

  • Nice one. It is also the city of Flaubert isn’t it? How much loved is he in Rouen? He seemed much more likeable than Hugo, yet I believe the latter is much more beloved in France?

  • It’s interesting that as many English football clubs began their lives as cricket clubs back in the 19th century that many French football clubs began as cycling clubs, Racing Club du Paris and Racing Club du Lens for example.

  • As always a fab preview and tour GN5– thanks.

    Going to add-on to one of LG’s remarks about Tierney’s fitness. Do feel that it will be AMN will be on the left to give Salah the same treatment he gave Mahrez in the FA Cup semi. I’ve seen Rob Holding fare just-fine twice in battling Sadio Mane recently. Catching both giving the other knowing grins after a clash.

    Yeah Kev– there was no way I felt Newcastle was going to claw back a point vs Sp*rs earlier. What with no shots on target in regulation. So I went and took the dog out– letting Mrs jw1 sleep-in right at 90+1. Walked back in and she’d risen. Walked around the corner to see she had paused the match just after the PEN. Was able rewind and enjoy the withdrawal from Jose’s karmic bank account. Still sporting a Cheshire Cat’s grin. 😁

    Thay young GK for the Barcodes– Karl Darlow was amazing. His first PL start since 2018.


  • Slightly different tangent Kev– but in the sport that 17HT and I played (Ultimate)– we felt that soccer players made the best converts to our game. 👌


  • And now to the Scousers…

    I’m not sure and it may well be more recent than it feels to me, but I cannot honestly remember when Arsenal last beat Liverpool three times on the spin. Liverpool has over the years been a disastrous venue for Gunners’ teams not least because of the huge pressure that the crowd exert on the officials, who crumble at the first tumble in the box of a Liverpool player.

    Of course our amigos in the media will give us faint hope, I mean our two recent successes were at the Emirates and Wembley, so they don’t really count do they?

    This is at mighty Anfield where the crowd will roar their favourites on to victory after victory, only the crowd won’t be there and therefore we have no pressure on the officials and we have VAR.

    We also have Mikel Arteta and if early indications are correct, he seems to have Klopps number.

    Liverpool are still a fantastic team, they’ve signed some quality players this window and look as powerful as ever – but are they? The media will give the impression to everyone and his dog that Arteta and the Arsenal team might as well stay on the bus, turn around and return south and hand the three points on a plate to the most ‘wonderful football club in the universe’…

    And maybe they’re right, but maybe they aren’t?

  • Most US sports JW, seem to be high on hand eye co – ordination and that’s why I’ve heard it said that the US produces some top class goalkeepers, although the conveyor belt has dried up in recent times.

  • Good post N5.
    I’d like to see TA’s back 3, not just for today, but for the next while. If he’s fit, Tierney makes us much better as a LB or LWB. For an opponent like this, I would instruct him to shade towards the defensive side, but Tierney is already our most intelligent, positionally aware player in general, so we’ll be lucky if he can play.

    Definitely Elninho to start because we want the extra defensive player. Willian unquestionably over Pepe as the more industrious all around player, even though Pepe has more potential for a moment of brilliance. I’m afraid we’re not going to get the best out of Pepe in games without at least Ceballos as a creative midfielder, and even with him, this formation is not optimal for him. We’ll need some special coaching from Arteta this year to improve how Pepe functions in this formation.

    As Total and I have discussed, I’d play more of a false 9 against top clubs, especially since we are challenged in midfield. I’d go with something different but not radical at all….. PEA playing the role. Lacazette can play it, but he doesn’t have the pace to be a threat in most opportunities that may arise. My thinking is that Auba has improved his ability to track back from playing on the left, and sacrifices very well for the team in that regard. That way, we can get Saka on the left which adds another great attacking player who can help defend better than Aubameyang. This lineup would have our most athletic and hard working players on to compete.

  • Yes, TA, Flaubert is from Canteleu (“Chant-du-Loup”, “Song-of-the-Wolf”), on the western hill overlooking Rouen. Flaubert is a favorite of my (female) colleagues teaching French, actually, Something about Madame Bovary’s story must appeal to them …
    I hate having to wait monday for the Arsenal game, but at least some of the results have been very tasty, this week-end (would have been tastier, were it not for “I-can’t-wait-for-him-to-come-across-Bernd-again” Maupay)

  • Good morning, BKers. How are we feeling about the game today?! We will overcome the wave after wave of attacks by Pool as in Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture! 🙂

  • Good morning to you TA, I’m already on edge…

    Don’t Liverpool play Heavy Metal football Total?

    Mendelssohn is uplifting, is he Austrian or German?

  • He was German, only became 38 years old, Kev. Made a dozen or so visits to the UK (best part of 200 years ago) and visited Fengal’s cave in the Hebrides. It is one of his most famous works and I love it.

  • Klopp and his industrial choppers are a wonderful thing to behold Total 😄 alongside the near perfect facial complexion of Brendon Rodgers, the man with the ironed face…. 😉

  • London used to have quite a sizeable German community Total prior to the Great War, obviously that declined with many Germans changing their names because of the anti German sentiment of the time. The British royal family being one of them.

  • It was good to see a Tyreece John Jules and Matt Smith both having impressive games for their loanee clubs, those two in particular could have big futures at Arsenal.

    McGuinness hasn’t played yet but he should do really well.

  • It was good to, start off my day with one of my favorite pieces of music – thank you TA, can’t get it out of my head now..

    The game today is somewhat of a mystery – we have (somehow, someway) beaten them in the last two games – are we in for a drubbing today or will we prevail on a breakaway? Personally I’m very nervous that they may have something to prove and it will be a drubbing.

    As most of you know by now my wife is a Liverpudlian but – strangely knowing me for over 60 years she does not understand and has never watched a game of football, so we never have family arguments – it’s simply “oh it’s Liverpool you’re playing”

    The game is in the late afternoon so it gives me ample time to get s belly full of red wine to help fend off a loss or at least to improve my mood if it is a drubbing.

  • Lot’ s of fine comments over the last two days – that’s why it makes BK the first thing I read in the mornings.

  • Hello, people! 🙂

    We got a pretty good and thorough preview.

    I think I will take my place behind the sofa. I have told to my Liverpool-supporting friends we’ll win 2-1 tonight and I’ve been saying it for weeks.

    I would add a few things of my own.

    Firstly, Liverpool have always been a really tough place to go for us (and they had quite a few victories at our place as well). When Arsene first arrived, Liverpool had been our jinx team for years. Our record v Liverpool in the league between 1996-97 and 2000-01 was P10 W1 D2 L7. Our first victory was on Lauren’s debut (he got a goal) in 2000-01 but we were thrashed at Anfield 4-0 and Michael Owen stole the FA Cup trophy in front of our noses. In fact, during that period, we failed to score in each of our five trips to Anfield in the league (0-1, 0-4, 0-0, 0-2, 0-4)! Our first victory at Anfield in 2001-02 was a heroic one, with 10 men but with Ray Parlour playing like a man possessed. We won 2-1 and it was a start of a decent sequence of 12 games at Anfield out of which we won five (2001-02, 2003-04, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13), drew three (2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11) and lost four (2002-03, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07). We also had a couple of nice trips to Anfield in domestic cups (2006-07, inside three days we won twice – 3-1 and 6-3).

    Sadly, that Luis Suarez inspired demolition in 2013-14 was a start of an ugly sequence during which, to say it this way, our legs were constantly spread. 5-1, 2-2, 3-3, 3-1, 4-0, 5-1, 3-1. Seven league games and 25 goals conceded. In two occasions we were denied a victory due to a late equalizer, something that happened last season in the league cup as well.

    Liverpool have never been bigger favourites than they are now. They look like they are on a planet of their own with even Man City becoming more and more ordinary club from the rest of the league rather than Liverpool’s true rival.

    Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have regularly scored against us. Salah has scored in each of his four home games in Premier League against us – he even got one with Chelsea in that 6-0 drubbing. His results at home against us are 6-0, 4-0, 5-1 and 3-1. Mane also had a thing for molesting us since his Southampton days as he was unplayable in both 2-0 and 4-0 victory of Koeman’s Southampton. Same goes for Firmino.

    But that was, I hope, a different Arsenal. Arsenal of Wenger’s decline and Emery’s eternal mediocrity.

    We now have a player that has enjoyed a few good moments at Anfield himself. Willian scored second goal in THAT shocking 2-0 victory for Chelsea in 2014 and got a late equalizer in 2017-18 when Chelsea snatched 1-1 draw. In fact, during his seven-year spell at Chelsea, he hadn’t tasted a defeat at Anfield till sixth season. His Chelsea won twice and drew three times.

    So, let’s win at Anfield, 2-1. Lacazette and Willian to score for us!

  • A brave prediction, Admir. Great summary of our PL results against them. I am just looking forward to a good game of football. Have a feeling Luiz will score. Prediction… A draw.

  • That’s really strange Admir because as a kid growing up in North London the jinx team of Arsenal was Newcastle, St James’ Park was an absolute graveyard for Gunners teams whilst on top of that we had the memories of the 1932 and 1952 FACup finals when the Geordie jinx bit deep into our psyche. Alternatively Liverpool were never a jinx, we’d beaten them comfortably in the 1950 cup final and never felt in awe of them.

    That all changed in the mid 1970’s, Arsenal signed Malcolm MacDonald from Newcastle in 1977 and Arsenal won at St James’ that season with a SuperMac goal – and we’ve pretty much spanked them ever since including some revenge for ‘32 and ‘52 with our 1998 triumph.

    Liverpool on the other hand became remorseless during the 70’s and despite some notable successes at that horrible place by the park it’s been usually a hiding for Arsenal teams.
    Yes we beat them in 1971 and 1987 at Wembley but 2001 was very hard to take – daylight robbery.

    So yeah, they are a jinx to Arsenal, but it’s got to end eventually…

  • great music, ta
    i’m afraid my knowledge of classical works looks very much like a gaping abyss
    i like mick’s “compromise” too; a giant belligerent islington hedgehog coming home with a goalless draw would do fine for me …
    it’s thiago i’m afraid of, i can’t understand why bayern let him go: watching him, you are left wondering if the guy has ever given the ball away once in his life, and under 35% possession, we’ll be in great, great danger
    come on lads, if there are hedgehog-haters among you, “float like butterflies, sting like bees”!!

  • I remember the 2001 FA Cup final very clearly, we were the better team and playing comfortably within ourselves when Gerrard made a rash clearance by toe punting the ball away it somehow squirmed it’s way to Owen in the clear who ran in to score. Owen was then allowed to outrun our defense for a second time and all of us Arsenal fans watched in disbelief as he scored his second and winning goal………….A truly sickening memory.

  • T,
    I like that you have wide range of interest in music. I always love when you throw in a rock reference or lyric now and then. I enjoyed the Mendelssohn and it’s a new one for me. I love Mahler.

    Man city spending another 70 or so million on a player I hear? Talk about a checkbook manager. It’s hard to respect Pep the way he’s done since leaving Barca. He makes Mourinho look frugal.

    For the gunners, let’s do it our managers way. Discipline and quality against the league’s best. But at least we should have already established the confidence necessary.

  • LeGall, the good news is you will have a lot of time to get into it, come January! 🙂

    I love all sorts of music but once you listen to classical music you start to see new horizons. I also like it when a piece of music is inspired by nature. Fingal’s cave is something to behold and I would love to see it one day, even though, just like Mendelssohn, I get quickly very seasick!

    Here is a quick video about the cave and the German’s visit. Love the idea that piano playing was strictly forbidden on Sundays back then.

  • that one’s for sleepyhead willyboy
    hard to pretend it’s undeserved, though – will we have one team move tonight, that’s the question
    no team can sustain such a beating a whole game and get out of it unscathed

  • well … 30% possession is nowhere near enough
    after a long life of football fan, i’ve finally be made aware tonight that you could punch a guy in the face, not get a red, and score an equalizer half an hour later
    having said that, we need to do much, much better than that – we’ve been harmless, like brave championship sides can be in cup games sometimes, against PL top teams
    what is mick going to do – big question mark
    we need to bring in skills, creativity so the following lineup isn’t unlikely, at some point:
    doesn’t mean ainsley/mo were underperforming more than the others, but we need to score, don’t we?

  • Difficult half for us. Didn’t sit deep enough and thus not compact enough. Pool have been trying to get us out like that, and they succeeded. Need to use right wing more. Hard to get a result now. CoyGs

  • On the positive side, how many incredible passes did Ceballos put through in his stint? 3 at least.
    One pass by Salah was sublime, to be fair.

    They really came to play a like it was a final, because of the last 2 results. We couldn’t hang with them in the first half. They had a lot of shots on target. But even so, it was basically close enough to almost get a draw. If Lacazette scores, we’re shooting for 3 points towards the end.

    Leno is fearless under pressure, and Ceballos shows more midfield talent than anyone at the club. I think we should buy him.

  • Disappointing result but much better second half especially after Ceballos came on. Danny was outstanding and I would have him and Ainsley as our best players. Willian was not very involved and was as anonymous as Pepe has been at times. I had the feeling before the game that we would lose but wish we lost while being better in possession as Leeds had done against Pool much like we did when Ceballos came on, a sub I was hoping for earlier.

  • We seemed a bit timid, almost as if the defence wasn’t as organised or confident as it was, mind you the referee was content to ignore a succession of snide fouls by the Scousers and that unsettled us, I think that it was our turn to have the naff officials and I’m not wanting Mr Pawson again this season if possible, very poor.

    Keita is very good at pushing and holding, he did it all evening, not that the referee noticed.
    There was the foul on Willian when he was trod on, ignored and the blatant obstruction on Aubameyang again ignored and Mane smacked Tierney in the face, in every other occasion that’s a red card, but not to Mr ‘I love Liverpool’ Pawson…

  • Watched that Liverpool vs Leeds match a few times now. From that, Leeds has become my second fave team to watch. Fearless in attack. Everyone but the keeper is taking shots. 👍

    Today, felt that Mikel was square-pegging into a round hole tactically. Klopp sent an extra MF (Wijnaldum or Keita) in to press up front. That extra body was designed to take away the wide/over-top pass from Leno to AMN or Bellerin. Had it been Dani and Mo flashing in behind Pool’s front-5– and a bit earlier? Arsenal may have found space to break out through the middle. Needed something different– sooner– to make Klopp question his tactic. Simply could not get possession, nor traction when we did. Credit to Arsenal– in keeping their intensity high. Mostly matching Pool in that respect. Just could not find a way to put Liverpool off-balance for any length.

    Back to the drawing board.
    Get ready for Sheffield. Big bruising, disciplined bunch. Hunting their first win.


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