Liverpool FC face a tough trip away to Arsenal as they look to bounce back from Sunday’s shock FA Cup exit at the hands of League One Oldham.
The Reds made six changes for the 3-2 loss at Boundary Park and the likes of Daniel Agger, Steven Gerrard and Lucas will expect to be recalled to the starting XI on Wednesday night.
Pepe Reina, Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson could all return from injury and if all three start, it will be the first time the trio have played together since Liverpool’s 3-0 win over QPR at the end of December.
Liverpool beat the Gunners 2-0 at the Emirates last season, with a goal from Luis Suarez and an own goal from Aaron Ramsey giving the Reds their first league victory at Arsenal for 11 and a half years. It remains Liverpool’s only victory in their last 11 league meetings against Arsenal, having drawn six matches and lost four.
The Reds will hope new signing Daniel Sturridge can be a lucky omen as the former Chelsea man has scored twice against Arsenal in his career, and in both games, Sturridge has been on the winning team. The 23-year-old netted a penalty in a 3-0 win for Manchester City back in 2008 and in April 2011, Sturridge scored the opening goal in a 2-1 victory for Bolton.
Sturridge has already scored three goals for Liverpool since his £15m move from Chelsea and if he scores against Arsenal, he will become the first Liverpool player in history to score on each of his first three Premier League appearances for the club.
Arsenal striker Theo Walcott signed a new contract earlier this month, ending speculation that he would leave the club when his previous deal expired in the summer. Liverpool were one of a number of clubs linked with Walcott and the former Southampton player has been in good form.
Walcott’s late winner against Brighton at the weekend was his 17th goal of the season, a career high, including ten in the league, a personal best for the 23-year-old.
Another Arsenal striker who has been in good form is Oliver Giroud, who scored twice in Arsenal’s 5-1 win over West Ham last week. Giroud has scored four goals for Arsenal in their last three home matches and he has scored seven league goals at the Emirates this season – more than any other player.
With Liverpool going into Wednesday’s game three points behind Arsenal, the fixture has a “six pointer” feel about it. With both teams still aiming for a top-four finish this season, it is a game that neither Liverpool nor Arsenal will feel they can afford to lose.
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