Sunday, February 25, 2024

Arsenal vs. Liverpool: Three things to watch as Jurgen Klopp’s men look to boost Premier League title chances

It’s a pivotal moment in the Premier League title race as league leaders Liverpool travel to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Sunday. Currently five points ahead of the Gunners in the table, while Liverpool won’t be able to open a gap atop the league where they can’t be caught, an eight-point lead would be quite hard for Mikel Arteta’s men to overcome. With only one away loss this season, traveling also hasn’t slowed Liverpool down.

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It remains to be seen if the team will rally behind the news that Jurgen Klopp is stepping down at the end of the season to deliver their manager with another Premier League title, but if Liverpool are to proceed as a team of destiny, winning this match would be a great start. As these Premier League titans clash, here’s what to look out for:

Goalkeepers on display

When breaking down Liverpool and Arsenal’s rosters, the two teams have a lot in common until it comes to goalkeepers. At Arsenal, keeper has been a position under the magnifying glass since they decided competition was needed for Aaron Ramdsdale, leading to signing David Raya from Brentford during the summer. But Raya has struggled allowing 1.9 more goals than expected which is the seventh worst number in the Premier League. 

Allison has been on the other end of the spectrum for Liverpool, ensuring that a rotating cast of defenders in front of him can be confident that even if they make mistakes, he can clean them up, preventing 2.59 goals with his play in net, which is the seventh best among Premier League keepers. With quality attackers on both sides, the keeper that rises to the occasion will have a major say in the match.

Which Darwin Nunez shows up?

After breaking a dubious record in Liverpool’s victory over Chelsea by hitting the post four times, how Darwin Nunez performs in the match will be critical. Also struggling with a foot injury, there’s a chance that he may not even feature, at which point questions will need to be asked about where Liverpool’s goals will come from. Already without Mohamed Salah due to injury, Nunez and Diogo Jota have been tasked with creating Liverpool’s goals but Nunez hasn’t been able to make good on his chances.

But always getting into good positions, Nunez commands so much attention from defenses that he creates space for everyone else to make things happen elsewhere. Likely being tracked by William Saliba, Nunez will be up against a formidable center back and the winner of that battle will likely win the game.

Can Gabriel Jesus perform against the top half?

Already featuring in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal, Jesus took four shots in that match. With only two goal contributions against the top half, Jesus has struggled this season. He has found the net against Brighton and Manchester United but in Arsenal’s biggest games this season, when Jesus has been healthy, he hasn’t been able to muster more than a shot on target. Even when it comes to chance creation against the top of the league, Jesus has struggled.

If Arsenal are going to win the title, they need top performances from their center forward and a home match against Liverpool is a good of time as any to put in a title challenger’s performance.

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Sunday, Feb. 4 | Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
  • Location: Emirates Stadium — London, England
  • Stream: Peacock Premium
  • Odds: Arsenal +115; Draw +275; Liverpool +190

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