Pre-Match Report

Preview: Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal v Liverpool

We begin our quest for a record-extending 15th FA Cup triumph when Liverpool head to north London on Sunday for a third-round clash.

The heavyweight pairing meant that we would face the Reds in each of December, January and February, and after our 1-1 draw on Merseyside just before Christmas we’ll be hoping home advantage pays dividends as we look to secure our spot in the fourth-round draw on Monday.

One thing that will be different about us at Emirates Stadium is that we’ll be wearing an all-white kit, as part of our No More Red campaign which is in its third year of supporting the long-standing work undertaken by Arsenal in the Community to help keep young people safe from knife crime and youth violence - find out more.

Liverpool leaky, but leading

Curtis Jones celebrates a Liverpool goal against Burnley

In the 15-day gap between our last meeting at Anfield, the Reds have managed to overhaul us at the top of the Premier League courtesy of a 2-0 win at Burnley on Boxing Day, and a 4-2 success over Newcastle United on New Year’s Day.

That win over the Magpies ensured they remained unbeaten at home in all competitions this term, but on the road clean sheets have been hard to come by. Apart from shutouts at Burnley and Sheffield United, they have conceded at least once this term on their travels, including in their Europa League and League Cup campaigns but still remain well-placed in both competitions.

Despite a porous defence, Jurgen Klopp’s team have only tasted defeat once away from home domestically, which came in controversial circumstances at Tottenham Hotspur back in September, while draws arrived at Chelsea, Brighton, Luton Town and Manchester City.

What the managers say

Arteta: "We played two weeks ago and it was an incredible match and I'm sure it will be a really good match again. If you asked both teams, probably in the draw we were expecting something different, but we have this incredible clash in this round and we have to go for it.

"It’s a great competition, as I said before, especially for the club. We have won it more times than anyone so we expect a great game and a good run."- read every word from Mikel's pre-match press conference

Jurgen Klopp applauding

Klopp: "I am not sure if Arsenal is now a game to rotate. I don’t know 100 per cent if we have the opportunity to do so. It’s not that we have the biggest squad available. We have players available and we can line a team up, 100 per cent, a good team, and I think that’s what we will do. We have six days between the games - that’s long and there’s no need for rotation.

"We want to win these games, we want to go to the [League Cup] final but we want to go to the next round [of the FA Cup] as well. But it is probably the most tricky draw you can get and it will be a tough one. The game here was a good one and let’s hope we can show a good performance there as well."

Team news

Oleksandr Zinchenko

It remains to be seen if Oleksandr Zinchenko will be available for selection after he missed our last game against Fulham with a calf complaint, with Thomas Partey, Fabio Vieira, and Jurrien Timber all remaining out of action.

Mohamed Elneny has linked up with the Egypt squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations while Takehiro Tomiyasu will do likewise with Japan for the Asian Cup.

Liverpool have also been affected by international call-ups, with Mohammed Salah and Wataru Endo currently teammates of Elneny and Tomiyasu, while Dominik Szoboszlai limped off against Newcastle United on Monday with a hamstring injury and will be out for a couple of weeks.

Konstantinos Tsimikas’s shoulder injury picked up against us at Anfield rules him out, while Andy Robertson (shoulder), Joel Matip, Ben Doak (both knee), Stefan Bajcetic (calf) and Thiago (hip) are all out longer term.

Talking tactics

Trent Alexander Arnold

Adrian Clarke, writing in the official matchday programme: Liverpool will almost certainly line up in a 4-3-3 that will often resemble a 3-2-2-3 in quality possession. Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold will slip into central midfield to try and create overloads, which means he vacates space on the flanks that forces the centre-backs to shift across, and the back four can become fragmented and vulnerable.

Away from home the Reds are less possession-based, with their average share dropping from a division-high 64.8 per cent at Anfield to 55.5 per cent. This indicates they exert less control, but as a very dangerous counter-attacking side, it could also be a deliberate ploy to leave space for their front line to exploit on transitions.

Under Klopp Liverpool will always be a strong pressing side who make it difficult to play through the lines. They are a team that can suffocate opponents by pinning them back inside their own half, and like to spring direct attacks with Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk boasting outstanding passing ranges.

In the Premier League, our opponents have outshot every team by some distance during the first half of the campaign, peppering the opposition with attempts from inside and outside the danger zone. Pace in forward areas is always one of their strong suits, as they have quick, nimble forwards capable of interchanging positions with one another at speed.

Facts and stats

Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring against Manchester United

Since losing the 2001 final in Cardiff, we have won our last three FA Cup meetings with Liverpool, beating them 1-0 at Highbury in 2002, 3-1 at Anfield in 2007 and 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in 2014.

Only Manchester United (10) have eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup more often than us (8). However, only United (8) have knocked us out of the cup more often than the Reds (5).

We have lost just three of our last 49 FA Cup home games, going down 1-0 against Blackburn Rovers in 2013, 2-1 against Watford in 2016 and 3-1 against Manchester United in 2019.

Liverpool have only been eliminated from the FA Cup at this stage in one of the last 12 seasons, losing 2-1 at Wolves in 2019.

Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 16 goals in 20 FA Cup appearances, scoring 10 and assisting six. His last appearance in the competition was against Liverpool, providing an assist in Man City’s 3-2 semi-final defeat in 2022.

Match officials

John Brooks

Despite refereeing in the Premier League for the past three seasons, John Brooks will take charge of one of our games for the first time on Sunday. Brooks has been appointed to 12 top-flight fixtures this season, showing four red cards and awarding four penalties in that time.

He has officiated Liverpool on four occasions, all of which came in 2023. This term, he was the man in the middle for their 2-1 win at Newcastle United in August when he dismissed Alexander-Arnold, while he also oversaw a 2-1 League Cup success at Bournemouth.

VAR will be in operation during this game.

Referee: John Brooks
Assistant referees: Lee Betts & Nick Greenhalgh
Fourth official: Josh Smith
VAR: Simon Hooper
AVAR: Adrian Holmes

Recent visits from Liverpool

Last season saw us edge out the Reds in a five-goal thriller back in October 2022. Gabriel Martinelli gave us a first-minute lead, and while we were pegged back by Darwin Nunez, Bukayo Saka netted on the stroke of half-time. Roberto Firmino got the visitors levels again, only for Saka to net a penalty to clinch victory.

The previous year saw Klopp’s team triumph 2-0 thanks to goals from Diogo Jota and Firmino, with the Portuguese attacker netting both goals two months earlier in the same result in the League Cup.

You have to go back to February 2014 for our last meeting in the FA Cup, when goals from future Red Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski at Emirates Stadium moved us into the quarter-finals.

Watch five famous home wins over the Reds, including stunning goals from Anders Limpar, Theirry Henry and Alexis Sanchez.

Live coverage

Breakdown Live

Tune into Breakdown Live on and the official app an hour before kick-off, where Nicole Holliday and Adrian Clarke will be at Emirates Stadium for a special No More Red edition.

One of the key protagonists in running of the campaign, Jack Ironside will tell us about the importance of the initiative and the impact it’s had, while two young people who have benefitted from the program will drop by the studio to talk about their experiences

Looking ahead to the match, our former captain Thomas Vermaelen will give his take on what he thinks will happen during the 90 minutes, while Adrian will get into the nitty-gritty of where we can exploit the Reds' weaknesses and attempt to win the game.

Then from 4.30pm UK time, live commentary comes from Dan Roebuck and Nigel Winterburn, so make sure you tune in wherever you are in the world!

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