The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Arsenal v Liverpool preview

We’re back in Premier League action on Friday when we host Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox examines our opponents in detail.


MC: When Jurgen Klopp arrived in English football two years ago, his tactics were largely about counter-pressing – winning the ball back as quickly as possible, usually in advanced positions. But that approach is now less obvious, and Liverpool are concentrating more on counter-attacking – winning the ball in deeper positions and then using the speed of their attacking players on the break.


MC: Having previously played 4-3-3 on a consistent basis, with Philippe Coutinho brought back into a left-of-centre midfield role rather than playing on the left wing, Klopp has started to use a system that appears more like 4-4-2, with Coutinho and Sadio Mane out wide, and Mohamed Salah joining Roberto Firmino up front. This worked well in both the 4-1 win at West Ham and the 7-0 destruction of Spartak Moscow, and could be used against Arsenal.


MC: In recent weeks there’s been a fascination with Klopp’s so-called ‘fab four’ all starting in the same side – Salah alongside Coutinho, Firmino and Mane – although Klopp has been noticeably keen to rotate his forwards, with the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke also receiving opportunities upfront. 


MC: Salah is surely the signing of the season, topping the Premier League’s goalscoring charts with 14, although his arrival strengthened Liverpool’s existing strengths rather than addressing weaknesses. The same questions persist, about the lack of a clinical penalty box poacher, and the tendency to concede cheap goals.


MC: Defensively, Liverpool can be exposed. Alberto Moreno has improved hugely since a dreadful showing here last season, but still has a tendency to make mistakes, as a poor showing at his former club Sevilla demonstrated. Andrew Robertson, the alternative, offers good left-footed crosses. On the right, Joe Gomez offers traditional defensive qualities, while youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold has often performed well. 

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