This Sunday, Liverpool are scheduled to take on a resurgent Arsenal side that has enjoyed a revival of form with back-to-back 4-1 victories over Galatasaray and Newcastle United. Previously, the Gunners bowed down to an agonising 5-1 defeat at the hands of a relentless Liverpool side at Anfield last season. But with pretty much a majority of things going against what the fans have expected from the team so far this season, the Kop end can now only pray for history to repeat itself in this week’s highly anticipated Super Sunday encounter.
Here, we have a look at how things stand for Liverpool as the 18-time English champions look to end their recent league slump with 3 points at Anfield on Sunday.
No Mario Balotelli for Liverpool, not even on the bench this time.
The Italian international has been slapped with a one-match ban by the FA for his Super Mario post. The FA claimed that Balotelli’s post contained “anti-semitic and racist references” and further handing him a fine of £25,000 alongside a mandatory education course. Talk about timing, the ban has ruled Balotelli out of Liverpool’s important league fixture against Arsenal. But with no goals after 10 appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League, will his absence be felt?
No Mignolet too, confirms Rodgers.
Under-fire boss Brendan Rodgers has meanwhile stated that he will once again leave the Belgian international out of his starting lineup this week. When asked if he would reconsider Liverpool’s goalkeeping situation, Rodgers replied: “No change.”
Brad Jones hasn’t fared too well in Mignolet’s absence either, conceding four goals in two games (three against Manchester United, one against AFC Bournemouth).
Regaining some momentum with that 3-1 win.
The victory over AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court has eased a lot of pressure on Brendan Rodgers’ shoulders, with the fans seeing their team bounce back into winning ways after back-to-back setbacks against Basel and Manchester United. The one-sided affair that saw Liverpool emerge 3-1 winners over AFC Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup also gave The Reds’ supporters plenty to cheer for, with £20 million signing Lazar Markovic finding the net in the second half and showing glimpses of his talents to finally justify his heavy price-tag.
Dejan Lovren a doubtful starter.
Lovren is currently in serious doubt to start in defense against Arsenal this Sunday. The Croatian international picked up a groin injury in Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over AFC Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup during the midweek before being substituted at half time.
And guess who came in for him? Mamadou Sakho! Yes, Mamadou-freaking-Sakho. Honestly, I have never in my life been so glad to see Sakho back in the starting lineup. Liverpool’s defense has been in shambles on so many occasions this season, and there isn’t a better defender than Sakho in the Liverpool locker-room to step in and fix that mess at the moment.
Manquillo drafted back into the starting lineup?
Let us all agree, we all saw the talent in this young Spaniard when he debuted for the club against Southampton at the start of the season. And when the Reds beat Ludogorets Razgrad in the UEFA Champions League group stage, Manquillo pulled an impressive performance for the team yet again.
Yes, inexperienced and still lacks first team football to say the least, but Manquillo is definitely a signing for the future at Anfield. With regular choice right back Glen Johnson sidelined for up to a month after tearing his groin muscle in Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester United, Manquillo could well be on his way back to the lineup if Rodgers deploy a four-men defense having been benched for the entire 90 minutes in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth earlier this week.
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