Liverpool vs ArsenalEnglish Premier League, KO: 17:30 Aug 24, 2019, Anfield
ONLY Liverpool and Arsenal have taken maximum points from their opening two Premier League fixtures this season – so something has to give when both sides lock horns at Anfield on Saturday evening.
The Reds are red hot favourites with the bookies to win this battle at 8/15 (Betfred) whereas the Gunners are big outsiders at 11/2 (William Hill) to triumph, and even the draw is deemed improbable at 19/5 (UniBet)
Yet, Unai Emery's men will head to Merseyside high in confidence after winning their opening two league fixtures for the first time in 10 years.
Arsenal uncharacteristically ground out a 1-0 win away to Newcastle on the first Sunday of the season and followed that success up by overcoming a stern test from Burnely at the Emirates last weekend.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winning goal in both respective matches and in doing so took his overall tally for the Gunners to an imposing 43 goals in 63 games.
The Gabon goal-getter is and enticing 21/10 (BetVictor) to strike anytime at Anfield for an Arsenal team who I fancy to get on the score-sheet.
Liverpool have failed to carry their imperious defensive form from last season into this campaign having conceded in both of their Premier League outings thus far against Norwich and Southampton.
What's more Jurgen Klopp's men looked vulnerable in the UEFA Super Cup Final against Chelsea recently and have continued to do so in the absence of injured and influential goalkeeper Alisson.
However, Liverpool's defence is no where near as shaky as their North London opponents who only managed to record one clean sheet in 19 Premier League away days last term.
Arsenal have continued to look unconvincing in the early stages of the new season – they conceded and looked fragile at home to Burnley – and Liverpool's famed front three won't be so forgiving.
An entertaining game is all but guaranteed when these two teams tussle and as such both backlines, as well as the match official, are likely to be busy.
Referee Anthony Taylor was one of the more card happy referees in the Premier League last season – averaging just over 3 bookings per game – and there are various contenders for cards in this encounter.
Granit Xhaka (8/5 Unibet) and Sokratis (6/5 PaddyPower) are regular recipients of cards for the visitors, however I feel that better value could lie with another Gunner, namely Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The Arsenal academy graduate is a winger by trade but has found himself playing out of position at right-back whilst deputising for the injured Hector Bellerin.
Furthermore, Maitland-Niles picked up two cards in pre-season and as such the 5/1 (BetVictor) on offer for him to be cautioned against one of the most potent attacks on the planet appeals.
Yet, all of the Arsenal defence will have their work cut out on Saturday – so much so that I expect Emery's side to be powerless in preventing the Reds reclaiming top spot in the table.
With an abundance of attacking talent on display for both sides I will steer clear of the goalscorer markets on this occasion, but there is definitely money to be made there.
As such I'm expecting plenty of goals and another enthralling encounter on Merseyside, however it's difficult to a make a case for travel sick Arsenal at Anfield on account of the fact that they have failed to win away to a top-six rival in 22 attempts.
Therefore, an alternative angle to consider in obtaining value from a home success is backing Liverpool to win and over 2.5 goals at 19/20 (Betfred)
This English Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal will be played on Aug 24, 2019 and kick off at 17:30