Jamie Carragher has explained why he is “worried” about Liverpool’s chances when they travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal on Sunday.
Liverpool have not been their usual selves at the beginning of this campaign. Up to now, they have only won two of their opening seven Premier League games.
This leaves them eleven points adrift of league leaders Arsenal, who have played one game more.
The Gunners have looked like a far stronger outfit than the one that missed out on the top four last season.
Gabriel Jesus and William Saliba have been key, while Granit Xhaka’s re-emergence has also been a major boost.
Arsenal beat Tottenham 3-1 last weekend and they will be hoping to follow that up with a statement victory against Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s side returned to winning ways in midweek as they beat Rangers 2-0. He tinkered with their formation for this game and this benefitted them.
But Carragher has explained why he is “worried about Liverpool’s chances on Sunday” as Arsenal are “favourites”:
“Today they are top of the league, and – for the first time since Arsène Wenger’s reign – go into a meeting with Klopp’s side as favourites,” Carragher wrote for The Telegraph.
“Perhaps it is misplaced pessimism, but I am worried about Liverpool’s chances on Sunday. For the first time in seven years, Klopp is seeking a new formula to suit a squad which seems to have lost the capacity to play his preferred 4-3-3.
“There have been too many examples of Liverpool being wide open, with massive spaces between midfielders leaving the back four unprotected, making the high line so vulnerable.
“Klopp’s greatest victories at Liverpool have come when his team make the pitch smaller, his players able to hunt in packs of two, three or four to pin their opponent in their own half, chances created by winning possession in the final third.
“The change to 4-2-3-1 against Rangers was an attempt to restore that by including an extra attacker with the energy to press high, while his holding midfielders Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara took on more orthodox, fixed central positions.
“Klopp succeeded in making it difficult for Rangers to play through Liverpool’s zones as Brighton did so well last weekend when it looked like Fabinho was the only midfielder offering a defensive shield.
“Given the profile of Liverpool’s wide attackers, Mohamed Salah and Luis Díaz, the danger is it looks more like 4-2-4.
“It feels risky to go that way at the Emirates, although Klopp used the same strategy to good effect away at Manchester City two years ago. He and Arteta want to be on the front foot, asserting control. It makes them vulnerable to each others’ strengths.
“For all their improvements, Arsenal are still awaiting what might be called the ‘breakthrough victory’ – the one to prove this is no false dawn.
“Given the dominance of Liverpool and City, such a win must come against one or the other. In recent years, Arsenal have gone into such fixtures hoping they will win. On Sunday, they and everyone watching believes they can.”
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