Liverpool – Arsenal Preview: Gunners’ title credentials to be tested at Anfield

Arsenal’s title credentials are in for a major test against Liverpool on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger has masterminded three victories in his side’s last four Premier League trips to Anfield, including a 2-0 win last season.

Not since Peter Crouch scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory in March 2007 have the Merseyside club secured a home win against Arsenal in the top flight.

Liverpool did also beat Wenger’s side 4-2 the following April in a Champions League quarter-final thriller to progress 5-3 on aggregate and set up a semi-final against Chelsea.

However, in the 12 meetings between the two sides since then, Liverpool have only managed one victory – 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in August 2011.

Wenger’s side hold a two-point lead at the top of the table after they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 last weekend, while second-placed Manchester City were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea – who are now level on points with Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

Liverpool were beaten 2-0 at Arsenal back in November, but Wenger believes Brendan Rodgers’ side are a different proposition now.

He said: “We need to dominate the game in order to keep [Luis] Suarez and [Daniel] Sturridge quiet. We must control possession.

“We had some good wins at Anfield. I have a lot of respect for the fans there, they know their football.

“I think Liverpool are strong offensively with Sturridge, Suarez, [Philippe] Coutinho, [Raheem] Sterling and [Steven] Gerrard.

“Liverpool are in a better position than to when we last played them. They have momentum with them.”

Arsenal, who have won eight and drawn two of their last 10 games, could welcome back Jack Wilshere (ankle), while fellow midfielder Mikel Arteta (calf) should also feature.

Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Thomas Vermaelen (knee), Kim Kallstrom (back) will play no part, and Mathieu Flamini is suspended.

Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby (both knee) are long-term absentees.

A mistake from Kolo Toure proved costly as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at West Brom last Sunday.

Toure, who will be hoping to line up against his former club this weekend, gifted Victor Anichebe an equaliser after Sturridge had opened the scoring at The Hawthorns.

Fourth-placed Liverpool are just two points ahead of city rivals Everton and eight adrift of Arsenal.

The Merseyside club treated their fans to a 4-0 hammering of neighbours Everton in their last game at Anfield and have only failed to win twice at home in the league this season.

Rodgers will once again be unable to call on defenders Daniel Agger (calf), Glen Johnson (ankle/groin) and Mamadou Sakho (hamstring).

Midfielder Lucas Leiva and defender Jose Enrique (both knee) are also unavailable.

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