Mikel Arteta hopes Arsenal can show they are Liverpool’s equals on Sunday, even if they enter the weekend top of the Premier League table and 11 points ahead of their opponents.
Liverpool have been regular title contenders in recent seasons, while Arsenal have struggled even to qualify for Europe.
But the roles appear to have reversed at this early stage of the campaign, with Arteta’s Gunners enjoying a sublime start as Liverpool struggle.
Still, Arteta considers the visit of Liverpool to Emirates Stadium a significant challenge for his side.
“Every game is the same (opportunity to make a statement),” he said. “Obviously, it’s a big match. It’s a fixture that everybody’s looking for, against an opponent that has shown in the last five or six years the level that they have.
“And we have to show those opponents again that we have reached the level and we are ready to compete against them.”
Jurgen Klopp, Arteta’s opposite number, has been hugely impressed by the work the Arsenal manager has done.
“All my respect, wow,” he said. “Really, really good job. When you need some time, nobody wants to give you time, and maybe not all of us deserve time, because you still have to be good to use the time – and that’s what Mikel obviously did. I have to say, really lots of respect for it.
“It’s a young team, a very exciting team, doing really well, and (that) they are in the position they are (is) well deserved,” Klopp added.”Now we go there. Obviously we don’t think about the games we played against them (last season) because it makes not too much sense.
“We will try to cause them problems, I think that makes sense. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Arsenal – William Saliba
Centre-back Saliba was outstanding against Tottenham last week and has been the subject of comparisons to Virgil van Dijk of late. Arteta dismissed that conversation, but this is still a big opportunity for the defender to impress again.
Liverpool – Darwin Nunez
Liverpool went on the attack against Rangers in midweek, fielding four attackers, including Nunez. But there was no goal for the Uruguay forward, who is yet to really kickstart his Reds career. This would be some place to do it.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Arsenal have won one of their last 14 Premier League matches against Liverpool (D4 L9), a 2-1 home win back in July 2020. They have lost their last four in a row but have never lost five league games in a row against Liverpool.
– Liverpool have won their last two away league games against Arsenal, as many as in their previous 20 visits (W2 D9 L9). They have never won three consecutive away league matches against the Gunners.
– Arsenal are on a run of 13 consecutive Premier League matches without a clean sheet against Liverpool, conceding 39 goals in those games. They have only had one longer run against an opponent without a clean sheet in the competition: 14 versus Man City (ongoing).
– Arsenal have won their last seven Premier League home games, their longest run at the Emirates since a run of 10 in 2018-19 under Unai Emery. However, the Gunners have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine home league games.
– Liverpool have conceded the first goal in nine of their last 11 Premier League games, but have only gone on to lose one of those (1-2 vs Manchester United in August).