BILLY BUNTER

Weblog: The football punter

Gunners could make their point at Anfield

TV: Sky Sports Premier League/Main Event, 5.30pm Saturday

Liverpool are Arsenal are the only two teams with maximum points after two rounds of Premier League fixtures but both may lose their 100 per cent records at Anfield on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp's side are warm favourites to register a 12th successive Premier League victory but they have not been playing anywhere near their peak and were a shade fortunate to win 2-1 at Southampton last Saturday.

They conceded 14 shots against the Saints and were let off the hook by some wayward finishing by Che Adams and Danny Ings.

Klopp will be anxious for his team to tighten up because further defensive mistakes are more likely to be punished by a Gunners attack spearheaded by Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal were the division's third-highest scorers last season and the addition of Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos has given them even greater goalscoring potential.

A top-four finish is their target and they are off to a strong start with victories away to Newcastle (1-0) and at home to Burnley (2-1).

Arsenal narrowly lost the shot count on both occasions (8-9 against Newcastle and 15-18 against Burnley) and Unai Emery will be well aware of the scope for improvement.

But few teams are operating at full throttle this early in the season and Arsenal's offensive quality will always give them a good chance of winning tight games.

Drawing Liverpool into a scrap will not be easy but Arsenal's chances have been boosted by their summer business.

Ceballos has quickly stamped his personality on the side and he was their outstanding player in the victory over Burnley.

He seems to relish the speed and physicality of Premier League football and has the technique and vision to provide a match-winning moment.

Arsenal also look reasonably solid at the back will David Luiz quickly settling in.

Keeping Liverpool's famed front three quiet will be a lot tougher but the Gunners are developing into a more focused, organised bunch under Unai Emery and will be eager to show how far they have come since losing 5-1 at Anfield last season.

Liverpool's strategy will be to set a frantic pace and make the early breakthrough, as they did when thumping Norwich 4-1 in their opening match.

Their build-up has been less complicated than last week, when they were involved in European Super Cup action against Chelsea, and Klopp will expect them to step up their performance.

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were on target against the Saints, meaning that all of Liverpool's front three are off the mark this season, but the Reds were below their best in midfield and there may be a case for recalling Champions League final starters Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, who were dropped to the bench.

Their inclusion would enhance the protection for Liverpool's back-up goalkeeper Adrian, who could be feeling a little on edge after his dreadful error gifted Southampton a goal last weekend.

While Liverpool might have a nervous goalkeeper, Arsenal may be suffering from a more general lack of belief due to their poor recent record in tough away games.

The Londoners have not won away to a big-six side in 22 attempts since a 2-0 success at Manchester City in January 2015.

However, the early signs look promising for them this season and they may add another point to their total.

Recommendation
Draw

 

The Football Site

Like on Facebook