The Premier League returns this weekend with one of its biggest fixtures so far as Liverpool take on an in-form Arsenal side at Anfield. Both sides have their strengths and weaknesses and the stage is set for an excellent battle this Monday.
Liverpool have won both their games in the Premier League so far and picked up a crucial 2-0 victory against Chelsea last week. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have done a bulk of the scoring for Jurgen Klopp's side and will play pivotal roles going into this game.
Arsenal have also maintained a perfect record in the first two weeks of the new campaign and look like a rejuvenated side under Mikel Arteta. The Gunners have discovered their defensive bearings with the Spaniard at the helm and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been as effervescent as ever.
With Liverpool rediscovering the form that made them Premier League champions last season and Arsenal going from strength to strength over the past few weeks, this game is unlikely to disappoint and will feature several key battles all across the pitch.
#5 Thiago vs Granit Xhaka
While both teams thrive on the flanks and have excellent wingers, the midfield battle between Granit Xhaka and Thiago is likely to control the tempo of the game. Xhaka has grown immensely under Mikel Arteta and is often the beating heart of an Arsenal team that relies heavily on keeping the ball.
The Swiss international will be up against one of the best midfielders in the world, however, and Thiago Alcantara's sheer magic on the pitch has been well-documented at Bayern Munich. The Spaniard also had a positive debut for Liverpool last week and will become more dangerous as he settles into Jurgen Klopp's tactical setup.
With Jordan Henderson ruled out of this game, Thiago is likely to start for Liverpool and Granit Xhaka will have to be wary of the Spaniard's ability to pierce through the midfield. WIth Thiago on the pitch, Liverpool can be a dominant force throughout the game and it will be up to Granit Xhaka to stop the talented midfielder.
#4 Sadio Mane vs Hector Bellerin
While Mohamed Salah might have marginally better numbers, the extraordinary importance of Sadio Mane cannot be understated. Liverpool's Senegalese forward always seems to step up against the best teams in the Premier League and his ability to take his side across the finish line will worry Arsenal and Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin has enjoyed an extended stay in the Gunners' starting eleven and is one of the few players in the Premier League who can match Sadio Mane for pace. The Spanish full-back is prone to mistakes, however, and will have to be at his best against the Liverpool superstar.
Hector Bellerin is also known for his ability in the final third and might be able to thwart Mane's runs with forward forays of his own. The Arsenal right-back has managed to keep Sadio Mane quiet in the past and will face an uphill task yet again on Monday.
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