Liverpool v Arsenal 12:45 Sat
Morale will be high within the Liverpool camp this weekend as the team return to Premier League duties as odds against favourites to beat Arsenal with Paddy Power after winning the Carling Cup a week ago.
The English top flight was still in action despite Sunday’s final between Liverpool and Cardiff City and after a week away from the competition, the Merseysiders won’t be keen on resuming where they left off after succumbing to a defeat at Manchester United in early February.
It’s no secret that the Reds aren’t enjoying their best season in recent history and currently sit in seventh position, seven points off of a Champions League place.
Kenny Dalglish’s side have the 15th worst form in the Premier League at the moment, winning just one of their last six games and suffering three defeats.
Standing in their path is Arsenal, who are enjoying somewhat of a different period and it wouldn’t be absurd to suggest that the Gunners are looking more likely to retain a place in European competition, hitting form at the ideal time.
Last time out, Arsene Wenger’s side managed to come from two goals down against bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and record a 5-2 victory in what was a thrilling encounter.
After winning their first trophy in some six wins, Liverpool can have all the emotional boosts they want, however their penalty shootout win over last weekend’s Championship opposition can’t hid the fact that the English giants are struggling to string form together this season.
Luis Suarez scored the consolation in the 2-1 loss against Manchester United three weeks ago and will be looking to keep a 100% league scoring record since returning from his eight-match suspension in early 2012.
Both sides have injury doubts and while Thomas Vermalen, Frances Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky aren’t fully fit for the weekend fixture after injuries during the midweek internationals, while Liverpool may miss the services of Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger with all of the above only 50% fit at the moment.
Both managers have expressed their disappointment with the countries’ FA, as Arsene Wenger was left fuming by the Belgian FA for playing Thomas Vermalen against Greece, while Liverpool boss expressed his dismay with Steven Gerrard’s hamstring injury against Holland, in a game where the skipper was snubbed for captaincy – the armband going to Tottenham’s Scott Parker.
Robin Van Persie is also struggling after his midweek toils, as the mercurial striker could miss this crucial encounter at Anfield with a groin problem.