The Premier League returns for the final time ahead of Christmas Day this weekend with the Reds kicking the action off as one half of a cracking looking fixture against Arsenal.
Though both sides have probably lost too much ground in the Premier League title race this year, there is still a big fight on for the top four places and this game could have a big say in that.
Of course, we beat the Gunners 4-0 at Anfield earlier this season as the likes of Sadio Mané and Mo Salah tore into their leaky defence but the London club is in better form now and it should be a competitive game.
With the Reds in superb away form, though, there should be a good chance we can get the three points and so, whilst we wait for kick-off, here at live4liverpool.com we’ve spoken to Anfield HQ’s Ben Webb to see how he sees things panning out and, first of all, how he feels the Reds’ season has gone so far…
1. We’ll be at halfway after this game in the Premier League – how would you rate the Reds’ season so far?
Promising to be honest – obviously, it’d be very easy to look at our shortcomings, or to overanalyse games that, looking back, should’ve been 3 points.
Even so, we’ve steadily found some form; unbeaten in 12 games, scoring 37 goals and conceding only 7 – not forgetting that (in my opinion), this team has far from peaked, and has thrashed teams by 7 clear goals – more than once.
Disappointing not to be in the hunt for that ever elusive Premier League title, but we’re in the top-4, and the last-16 of the Champions League. Plenty to be excited about in the new year.
2. Arsenal come into this game in decent form. How should we approach things in order to get three points?
Attack, attack, attack. When we play confident, attacking football against this Arsenal side, they (normally) can’t handle our all-out-pressure. Although, they’re in very good form themselves, I actually think the fact it’s at the Emirates, plays in our favour.
For me, it’s all about a blisteringly fast start; press, hurry, hassle and outwork them in every area of the pitch – and frustrate the crowd – thus putting the pressure of them. A good mixture of hard-graft and lightening counter-attacks could easily see us rip them apart.
3. Much of the discussion will be about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return to the Emirates. After impressing at Bournemouth can you see him starting again? Or will Klopp look to add a slightly more defensive player to the midfield?
Too many fans, unjustifiably criticised Oxlade-Chamberlain after literally a handful of minutes – in a new environment, with different players and a manager with a completely different mindset. I’m so pleased he’s beginning to prove the doubters wrong.
As much as I’d love to see him start against his old club; I can see Klopp deploying two holding midfielders to double pivot, and break down attacks. I’d imagine he’ll play Coutinho as the free-roaming midfielder, to utilise counter-attacks with his creative movements/passing – and Salah, Firmino, Mané in-front of him.
Saying that, I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed to see him start, or even play alongside Coutinho – whether starting or off the bench; he’ll without doubt, have a huge point to prove.
4. And finally, a score prediction.
Expecting a very open game of football, and the ‘Fab Four’ to reek havoc on Arsenal’s defence – 5-2 Liverpool for me.
A 5-2 is certainly something we’d like to see, but how do you see the game going? Let us know below and for more from Ben Webb find him on Twitter @BenWebbLFC.