Saturday’s Premier League action is rounded off by a huge clash of title contenders at Anfield. Who will come out on top? Here’s our Liverpool vs Arsenal prediction and preview.
Liverpool vs Arsenal Stats: The Quick Hits
- Liverpool’s perfect home record may be gone, but they are predicted to land a blow in the title race on Saturday, beating Arsenal in 47.4% of the Opta supercomputer’s match simulations.
- This will be the seventh time Liverpool and Arsenal have met in the teams’ final Premier League game before Christmas. Their last three such matches have all finished level.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold has six Premier League assists against Arsenal, more than he does versus any other opponent, with only Reds legend Steven Gerrard (seven) boasting more against the Gunners in the competition’s history.
With Manchester City not in action on the final Premier League matchday before Christmas due to their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup, Liverpool and Arsenal have a huge chance to make more headway in an absorbing title race when they face off in Saturday’s headline fixture. Who will end the festive weekend top of the tree?
Unless Aston Villa rout Sheffield United on Friday to overturn Liverpool’s superior goal difference, a victory for either side will ensure they lead the way on Christmas Day. Being top at Christmas has not always been the most useful indicator of a team’s title chances, with just 56 of the previous 124 English top-flight seasons seeing the festive leaders go on to be crowned champions (around 45%), though the opportunity to land a blow against a direct rival will provide huge motivation for both sides.
In pre-season, Man City were given a 90.2% chance of retaining their crown in the Opta supercomputer’s 2023-24 predictions, but a run of one win from six league games has seen their hopes drop to 40.5%. Either Arsenal (28.4%) or Liverpool (22.5%) now dethrone City in over half of the supercomputer’s simulations, arguably making Saturday’s game the biggest of the season so far.
Arsenal enter Matchday 18 at the summit, having produced a dominant display in a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium last time out. Declan Rice won plaudits for his midfield performance as the Seagulls were kept at arm’s length, while Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz got on the scoresheet to quieten suggestions the Gunners may need to recruit a striker in January.
Since arriving in England in 2017, Jesus has nine goal involvements against Liverpool across all competitions (six goals, three assists), only managing more against Watford (12). He has either scored (once) or assisted (twice) on each of his last three visits to Anfield, netting the Gunners’ second goal in a 2-2 draw in this exact fixture last season.
Fellow Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli also caused Liverpool problems last term, scoring and assisting in both of Arsenal’s league games against them in 2022-23. He has more goals against the Reds (four) than he does against any other opponent since joining the north London side.
Jesus and Martinelli will likely continue alongside Bukayo Saka in attack, though Mikel Arteta has absentees in other areas. Jorginho is a doubt after sustaining a foot injury, while fellow midfielders Fábio Vieira and Thomas Partey are still out, as are Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber.
Arsenal’s defensive solidity has been key to their title charge so far, facing the fewest shots on target (43) and allowing the fewest expected goals against (13 xGA) in the Premier League. Their backline will be tested on Merseyside, however, with Liverpool attempting the most shots (314) and creating the second-highest xG total (35, behind only Newcastle United’s 35.2) in the division.
Jürgen Klopp’s men failed to find a route to goal against Manchester United last Sunday, however, firing off 34 shots in an underwhelming goalless draw at Anfield. That result ended their run of scoring in 26 consecutive Premier League games, but they haven’t failed to net in back-to-back league matches at Anfield since a run of three between February and March 2021.
Liverpool were then back in action in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, thrashing West Ham 5-1 at Anfield and joining Chelsea, Fulham and Middlesbrough in the hat for the semi-finals.
Mohamed Salah saw his run of 16 straight home league games with a goal involvement come to an end against United, but he will be encouraged by his excellent record against Arsenal at Anfield. He has six goals in as many home league games against the Gunners since arriving on Merseyside in 2017.
With Diogo Jota yet to return from a thigh injury, Luis Díaz, Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo are competing to start alongside Salah in attack. Elsewhere, Liverpool will be without Alexis Mac Allister and were forced to withdraw Ryan Gravenberch against the Red Devils. The club confirmed it was just muscle fatigue, so the Dutch midfielder could recover in time for Saturday’s game, though shifting Trent Alexander-Arnold into midfield is another option available to Klopp. Andrew Robertson, Joël Matip, Thiago Alcântara and Stefan Bajcetic remain sidelined.
Alexander-Arnold has recorded six Premier League assists against Arsenal, more than he has against any other opponent, with five of those coming at Anfield. Throughout Premier League history, only Liverpool great Steven Gerrard (seven) has teed up more goals against the Gunners.
Liverpool vs Arsenal Head-to-Head
Saturday’s game will be a monumental test of Arsenal’s title credentials, particularly given their dismal record at Anfield.
Indeed, Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 10 home Premier League games against the Gunners (W7 D3), falling behind in five of those matches before recovering to avoid defeat, including in a thrilling 2-2 draw in this exact fixture in April.
Arsenal have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 15 Premier League games against Liverpool, conceding 43 times across those fixtures. Since that run began after a goalless draw in August 2015, they have conceded more goals to the Reds than against any other opponent.
Saturday’s match will see Liverpool host Arsenal for the 100th time in league competition, making the Gunners just the second team to reach a century of visits to the Reds, after Everton (105).
Liverpool have only won more league matches against Villa (59) and Newcastle (58) than against Arsenal (55), though only Manchester United (25) have won more away games against them than Arsenal’s 24.
Liverpool versus Arsenal is almost becoming something of a Christmas tradition, with Saturday set to be the seventh time they have faced off in the teams’ final Premier League outing before Christmas, the most played such fixture in the competition’s history. The Reds won the first two such games (3-1 in 1995-96, 4-0 in 2000-01), the Gunners the next one (2-1 in 2001-02), with the last three all ending level (1-1 in 2008-09, 2-2 in 2014-15 and 3-3 in 2017-18).
Liverpool’s goalless draw with Man Utd last week represented the first time they had failed to win at Anfield in any competition this season.
Klopp’s team won their first 11 home games of 2023-24 in the Premier League, UEFA Europa League and EFL Cup, scoring a total of 35 goals in those contests.
Prior to Sunday’s stalemate, they recorded league wins against Fulham, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace to go top of the table, before the draw with United sent them back down to second.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have won five of their last six Premier League matches, including recent victories against Wolves, Luton and Brighton, though their one defeat in that run came on their last road trip, at Aston Villa on December 9.
They have won 24 of their 39 league games in 2023, drawing eight and losing seven. Arteta’s men managed 25 league victories in 2022, and with three matches to play before New Year’s Day, they are looking to post 25 wins in consecutive calendar years for the first time in their league history.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off in this Premier League match, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Liverpool vs Arsenal Opta Player Ratings
Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:
Alisson Becker: 77.9 (out of 100)
Mohamed Salah: 76.0
Dominik Szoboszlai: 75.8
Virgil van Dijk: 74.5
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 74.2
Declan Rice: 81.7 (out of 100)
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 81.3
Martin Ødegaard: 78.0
Ben White: 76.0
William Saliba: 73.8
These Opta Player Ratings also power our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, which you can play on Opta Analyst all season long.
Liverpool vs Arsenal Prediction
The Opta supercomputer is siding with Liverpool for this one, with the hosts winning 47.4% of the 10,000 match simulations conducted before kick-off.
Arsenal have not managed a league win at Anfield since September 2012, when Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla scored their first goals for the club in a 2-0 triumph over Brendan Rodgers’ Reds. They are given a 25.6% chance of ending their long wait for three points in L4.
Arsenal would maintain their one-point advantage over Liverpool in the table with a draw, the likelihood of which is rated at 27.0%, potentially allowing Aston Villa to leapfrog both to the summit.