Date: 24th August 2019 at 2:35pm
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Don Hutchinson believes that Arsenal defenders Nacho Monreal and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are vital to stopping Liverpool’s prolific attack.

The BBC pundit advised the Arsenal pair to stay solid in the first 20 minutes of the game, even if it means not getting involved in any attacks their side may venture on.

Hutchinson was speaking to Premier League Productions, as quoted by the Express, and suggested that Unai Emery must name a solid back-four to blunt the effect Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino can have.

“You must go with a back four and my first instructions would be, which I don’t see a lot, is go with a solid base and the two full-backs, if it’s Maitland-Niles and Monreal, you more or less say to them in the first 20 minutes do not move,” he said.

The prolific front-three of the Reds managed to outscored 13 other Premier League team entirely last season after managing 56 goals.

OPINION

Hutchinson is right to suggest that the best way to stop Liverpool is by staying strong at the back but to suggest that having their full-backs stay back will go a long way to stop them then the Gunners could be in for a surprise at Anfield. Every team that play Liverpool deploy that same tactic and can be easily dispatched at times, with the Reds the best at recycling possession and making games look like attack versus defence. It is all down to how much Emery wants to earn all three points, with the full-back area surely somewhere Arsenal can exploit the Reds. In Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson, Liverpool possesses two of the most attacking wing-backs in the Premier League and can be guilty of leaving spaces out wide if caught on the counter-attack, so it will be a game of cat and mouse at times on Saturday evening. Maitland-Niles, in particular, has averaged 3 tackles per game as well as 2.5 interceptions according to WhoScored, with his ability to read the game integral to how Arsenal fair at points when coming up against Mane. Liverpool have come up against nearly every defensive tactic in the book in the past two years, with no one having any sort of good result against them as they continue to pick up wins with ease and Saturday’s game should be no different.