Kick-off: Sunday, 16:00
Referee: Michael Oliver
TV: Sky Sports 1
Another quiet summer transfer window has left Arsenal in a familiarly uneasy situation as they welcome Liverpool to The Emirates.
Injuries to Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker leaves Arsene Wenger with just one fully fit centre-back for the visit of Liverpool, whose high-intensity football could expose these typically slow starters. Liverpool are a good bet at 21/10.
Granit Xhaka is the Gunners’ only notable acquisition, leaving them weak in key areas, namely central defence and up front, as the new season approaches. Laurent Koscielny is not yet match fit after his involvement in France’s run to the Euro 2016 final and so Calum Chambers is expected to partner Nacho Monreal at the back.
This is good news for Liverpool’s explosive front-line, which looked particularly menacing last campaign against teams like Arsenal that attempted to push high up the field. They drew 3-3 with the Gunners in January and beat Manchester City 4-1 and 3-0 under Klopp.
Sadio Mane adds counter-attacking speed to a Liverpool side that likes to play quick, aggressive football away from home. They have won each of their last three opening fixtures and stand a decent chance of continuing this run on Sunday, considering the defensive vulnerabilities of the home side.
Arsenal typically get off to a bad start. They have only won one of their last six openers and lost two of their last three at The Emirates, infamously losing 2-0 to Slaven Bilic’s West Ham last season and 3-1 to Aston Villa in the 2013/14 campaign. The omens are looking good for Klopp.
Liverpool have a few injury concerns of their own (Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva are unavailable) but were impressive in pre-season, beating Barcelona 4-0 in a friendly match at Wembley last Saturday and AC Milan 2-0 the weekend before.
These results only add to the sense that this could be a big season for Liverpool. Klopp, who joined Liverpool in October last year, has just completed his first pre-season in charge and vowed this week that his team are fully prepared for the season ahead.
The German’s passionate management style should help Liverpool make a quick start. His gung-ho attacking tactics produced plenty of high-scoring contests last season, and Arsenal’s injury woes suggest free-flowing football will be on display at The Emirates.
Those backing Arsenal to buck the trend with a win will get paid out at 5/4, whilst the draw is available to back at 23/10.
Recommended Bet: Over 3.5 goals @ 23/10