Two trips to Anfield in the space of four days is a daunting task for anyone - but Mikel Arteta has urged side to “embrace” the challenge.
We travel to Liverpool on Monday night in the Premier League, before returning three days later for our Carabao Cup fourth-round tie.
Despite beating the champions back in July, and then again in the Community Shield, Arteta feels these next games will present a unique test for his unbeaten squad.
“They are all very different games, the one we played at the Emirates and the one we played the in final were very different, and I think it will be different again [on Monday night],” he said.
“We know the standards that they have set in this league, how consistent they have been and that is because they dominate almost every aspect of the game. So we need to be at our best, we need to compete really well against this team and hopefully the boys are able to do that on Monday.
“There is some variability depending on what they do, how we have to control those aspects, how we can attack in different ways as well. It is like quick waves all the time with them, without much time to breathe. It is a really quick game, it doesn’t see long sequences of passes against them. We have to be at our best, that’s for sure.
“It is normally difficult enough to play the same team in four days and for the players as well to adapt. Obviously, the first game has a big impact on the second one and it is really tough to beat the same opponent twice in that short period.
“When you talk about Liverpool that challenge is much bigger but I just want to focus on Monday. Let's try to get the best possible preparation against them, go there, and most importantly have the belief that we can go there and win. We all have to believe that we are capable of doing that.”
Anfield is known for its atmosphere, so how will the fact these games will be played behind closed doors affect things?
“Obviously the crowd makes them stronger because it is a unique atmosphere they are able to create at Anfield,” Arteta said. “As well you are able to see how well they are playing without any crowds as well, so we know the challenge ahead of us, so let’s embrace it, let’s go for it, prepare well and try to go there and win.”
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