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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Anfield

27/10/07

16:00GMT

On Sky

L'pool V Arsenal Preview

As Andy Gray quite rightly puts it on SkySports.com, Arsenal's season could be defined by the events of the next week.

With Arsenal in the sort of form that hasn't been seen since the days of the invicibles, confidence is quite rightly high. But we all saw just how fragile-a-thing confidence can be when the greatest team to have played in the Premiership lost to Manchester United.

So, win and Arsenal are 9 points clear of Liverpool after just 10 games, and confidence continues to grow.

Lose, and who knows? But losing this game would pose a much bigger test than playing Liverpool and United winthin a week! It'll be a test of character, a test of maturity and a big test for Arsene Wenger.

If football betting was as straight forward as horse racing, you'd take one look at the form guide and back Arsenal to win. But we all know that nothing in football is straight forward, don't we?

It would be easy to point out that Rafa's tinkering has already started to take it's toll on Liverpool's Premiership and Chmpions League campaigns. It has, anyone can see that, but will it cost them when Arsenal visit Anfield?

Arsene's men are making all the right noises ahead of the game. There's no 'we'll go there and smash them.' Instead there is talk of focus and being up for the challenge that awaits the team.

The way the press have been reporting, you would think that Liverpool had been losing games for fun recently, but that's not the case. They are one of only two teams that are yet to lose a game in the Premiership.

Last Six: WWLDWL

I don't think I need to say too much to you about Arsenal's form. They've been unstoppable in the league and in Europe.

Last Six: WWWWWW

Vital Quotes:

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez knows that he and his team have a lot of work to do if they are to get back to winning ways when Arsenal visit on Sunday: 'When you have had a few problems, the motivation of the side to change the situation is strong.

'The only way is to work, and work hard. That is the way to handle this sort of pressure.

'As a manager you must keep going, doing the right things. You know that will change things for the bette


Arsene Wenger believes that the major difference between Arsenal this season and last is defensive efficency shown this term: “What has changed this season is that we are less running after the score because defensively we are more efficient. Last season we were 1-0 down in 22 out of 38 games and chasing the game.

If you don’t come back quickly then your risk becomes bigger because you have to counter and push further forward.

“Overall I feel we have dealt with our focus this season. To play at the top level is to know that every game has a different difficulty you have to sort out. What I like about this team is that until now they have found the solutions to the problems within the game.

There has been no perfect game until now but we have found those solutions.”

Liverpool Team News:

Fernando Torres is set to return for Liverpool, along with compatriot Xabi Alonso.

Former Arsenal winger Jermaine 'well safe, innit' Pennant will miss out after breaking his tibier.

Left-sided player Alvaro Arbeloa is also a doubt as he continues to come back from a thigh injury.

Peter Crouch could partner Torres up front after his hat-trick against the Gunners in this fixture last season.

Player to watch: Fernando Torres

While I was tempted to put Sami Hypia as my player to watch, it would have been for all the wrong reasons.

Torres has been better for Liverpool than most, myself included, had predicted. His goal return would cause most people to question why Rafa hasn't played him more. At 23 he's not a kid.

He has the pace, power and ability to threaten Arsenal's backline. Toure and Gallas will have to be well on their game to keep him out.

Arsenal Team News:

It's not often I get to say this, but Arsenal go into the game with no new injury worries.

Robin Van Persie is still out with his knee injury, while Senderos is also continuing his comback from a back injury.

Arsenal's line-up is pretty predictable to a point. One question that I cannot answer is: 'Will Wenger play 4-4-2, if so, who will partner Adebayor?' Will he play Walcott again after his stellar performance against Slavia Prague? Or will the lethal Eduardo get another start?

Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas

There was no never another player that crossed my mind for this. With nine goals to his name, and countless assists already, he is fast becoming one of the best players in Europe.

He has the ability to control not only the tempo of a game, but the entire match. He'll play a massive part in any potential Arsenal victory.

He'll have his work cut out trying to dictate play and keep Gerrard quiet, but he has the ability to do just that.

How many players can make that claim?

Match Facts & Stats

A victory for either side would see them become the only team in the Premiership yet to lose a game.

A draw for Liverpool will be the 1,000th of the club's history.

Although much has been made of Liverpool's 'fantastic' home record, they have won only one home game this season. And that was against Derby!

Ref Watch:

The legendary Coward (Howard) Webb will officiate this one. It'll be interesting to see if he bottles this game as he did when he refereed Arsenal's Carling Cup final defeat to Chelsea.

Match Prediction:

Arsenal fans wont like this one. I'm going for a 3-1 Liverpool win. All the stats point to an Arsenal win, but I'm afriad that I can't see it.




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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday October 27 2007

Time: 11:52AM

Your Comments

3-1= well, nonsense, but hey! u would be happy if u were talking nonsense!
korodon
Simmoooooooooo - NO!!!!!!! They won't beat us 3-1. There is no precedent for that given our form and theirs. Losing is one thing but we won't get tonked like that. I'm so confident, I'd rip one of my testicles out and post it to you if that happened! You up for it?
Andy-bayor
who would boss prefer... Falmster or Gilberto for this match? I think it will be a draw... or marginal win for Arsenal. I cant see Liverpool winning this... I hope I'm a good soothsayer :-D
KnightOfARSENAL
I think we can get a win if we play 5 in the midfield with flamini and gilberto giving cesc more space to go forward.
AB_Arsenal
As Arsenal was underrated by most if not all football pundits before the season started so is Liverpool hugely overrated. I can't see why so many pundits and fans alike are predicting a Liverpool win to morrow. Liverpool is like Arsenal last season in one way, they are very dependent on only one player. With Arsenal it was TH14 and with Liverpool it is Steven Gerrard but Arsenal on the other hand Arsenal seams to have more players that have stepped up a level such as Fabregas, Ade,Hlep,Clicy and Flamini. This gives Arsenal more options than they have had since the 2003/2004 season and before you all start to shout about Torres lets see how he does this season before we judge him.
Armory
As Arsenal was underrated by most if not all football pundits before the season started so is Liverpool hugely overrated. I can't see why so many pundits and fans alike are predicting a Liverpool win to morrow. Liverpool is like Arsenal last season in one way, they are very dependent on only one player. With Arsenal it was TH14 and with Liverpool it is Steven Gerrard but Arsenal seams to have more players now that have stepped up a level such as Fabregas, Ade,Hlep,Clicy and Flamini. This gives Arsenal more options than they have had since the 2003/2004 season and before you all start to shout about Torres lets see how he does this season before we judge him.
Armory
Armory..."As Arsenal was underrated by most if not all football pundits before the season... " it could have been based on the fact that you lot have been crap for the last three years don´t you think?
Blue is the colour
we were not crap BITC but i see where you're coming from there we were fourth, twice, and then we sell our best player (or so everyone thought he was at that point).
anonymous
Andy, was there any reason to think we'd beat United last season? How about Real Madrid the season before that? I just think that in these games it's usually the ones under pressure that come out on top.
simmy8_2000
I don't know if we were that "crap", in the last three years. We more like underachieved by our standards. But if you want crap, how about the period when Chelski went 50 years without winning a title.
BMF
That's true Simmo... I meant that we might well lose, but it would be a bit of a shock if we let in 3 goals. Anyway I hope that Gallas and Toure are roaring today, because they will have to contain a couple of big guys. Also, I know its early days, but after yesterday's showing by the Chavs & Mancs, I think both of them will finish ahead of Liverpool.
Andy-bayor
I'd be quite happy with a draw today. Anfield is one of the toughest away fixtures on the calendar. A draw today and 3 points at the Emirates against the Mancs next week and we will be flying.
flv
oHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(
HENRY`14
a bit disappointed ...i really think we deserved all 3 points...
HENRY`14
Good solid result, thought we had enough to go on and win it but a draw is well respectable. well done The Arsenal (and Blackburn loooool!!)
nikolaijns
I don't think anyone can say we haven't met any quality teams. They proved that they can compete for the title. Going 1-0 down in ANfield and coming back to draw is pretty respectable. We more than deserved to win in my opinion.
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
i'm really gutted. we deserved to win, and probably should have won this one. Cesc and Bendtner should have put atleast one of those chances away. anyways bring on United now, we'll definetly go on and win that one..
luckys_10
Oh and Hleb & Fabregas are feckin gods!!!!
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
Well I thought that was a fantastic performance by Arsenal. Its a shame we didn't get a deserved win & also a shame that yet again we suffered at the hands of Webb. I wouldn't have any complaints about the free kick which led to their goal if it wasn't for the fact moments earlier Carragher had blatantly brought down Adebayor who would've been clean through, but Webb bottled it, knowing full well Carragher would have to go if he gave the foul. I think you have to look at certain incidents & ask why Carragher for the second week running didn't get booked until very late on, when he had continually fouled people. It was a clear penalty on Cesc just as it was a clear penalty on Lescott last week but he just gets away with it again & again, then to rub salt into the wounds he gets motm!! All cos he is English!!
Ashburton Gooner
The freekick to Liverpool was a complete joke! Alosnso was in the air when Eboue scrped him. What a disgrace! But atleast we can take the fact that our team played well anyone can question our title credentials. We went away to a good team and we played them off the park.
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
Jamie Carragher man of the match? For his blatant shirt pulling in the box (again). He was playing against an off colour Adebayor, what the f*@k did he do to warrant that bottle of champers? Fabregas was the most dangerous player on the pitch and Hleb gave a masterclass in touch and technique. Could have won but il take the point against a Liverpool team who get more like Maureens Chelsea as the weeks get on, boring, boring scousers.
iceman10
Really CESC and HLEB are GODs
KnightOfARSENAL
are you serious AG, carragher got man of the match? saw the match- didnt see teh afters, but that is a joke, for the whole game we were running rings round their defence. Cesc and hleb , as the whole team were, were brilliant. We shouldve scored the winner, but a draw isnt a bad result. We played them out of the park, big time. Couldnt catch us all day
pants
Well said wouldyoubelieveit?! 'Poo looked knackered and we could have taken all 3 but we battled and utterly outplayed the muppets for the majority.
nikolaijns
easily outplayed them today after conceding a silly goal and hats off to almunia as well maybe now jens will shut the feck up. liverpool are not winning this season, lets see what we can do to manu...ohh and shefield wed..
anonymous
I seriously tot fabregas was not at his best today...ordinary me thinks.....and how freakin unlucky where we...neway i would hav preferred we beat man yu........And for me Hleb MOTM.the geezer is in the form of his life......
karley
Who shot Alonso from the grassy knoll? He should join the Royal Navy with diving skills like that. Carragher played like a knucklehead, and Mascherano needs to learn to stay on both feet rather than using them as weapons. Pool got real lucky today.
SUX2BU
Funny how none of you have anything to say about the Eboue dive.
Aamir
The one after he took an elbow to the face?
SUX2BU
You don't seriously think it was an elbow do you? He was in agony one moment and then he miraculously got up.
Aamir
Even if/when Eboue did dive...it didn't result in an edge of the box free kick now did it...nor did it look like Lee Harvey Oswald shot him in the back from row Z.
SUX2BU
There's a difference between diving and making the most of a challenge. Alonso made the most of the challenge. And by the way, I don't know if this had anything to do with that challenge but he's broken his metatarsal.
Aamir
Thats what happens Aamir when your clueless coach rushes people back from injury prematurely, how can you argue that slowcoach Carra dished an elbow out?? btw did Torres play today? ;)
nikolaijns
Aamir what has happend to liverpools tradition and philosophy of good football, even Chelsea are lookin to pass the ball these days. You lot only looked good when you were humping it to crouch, Torres went off with Neckache niko.
iceman10
Yeah he did. He's injured again. And it was never an elbow in a million years.
Aamir
In the first month of the season, it was us playing the beautiful football. Now, it's you playing it. Don't get too carried away with your start.
Aamir
I was joking about Torres Aamir, yes he was on the pitch but never turned up did he?, sure it was'nt an elbow mate and our wall did the job against hit and hope Stevie. Still who's happier with todays result? it ain't "this year we're challenging for the title Liverpoo" is it?
nikolaijns
And for the record I thought Eboue's behaviour was awful, even if he caught a sly dig in the face (Or a tickle) the best way to get back at someone is with the ball at your feet. Id love to see a Dive-a-side with Dida, Eboue, Robben, Alonso and Joe Cole.
iceman10
when were liverpool playing the beautiful football Amir? a 6-0 victory over Derby county doesen't mean you were playing pretty stuff. you were awful in that game too until the first goal went in. and since then you've been *****..
luckys_10
You think playing beautiful football is a thumping win against Derby? Shows how far liverpool have gone backwards in their approach to the beautiful game. The use of Kuyt and Voronin as full backs playing in front of full backs in a game at Anfield? My, my :(
iceman10
Aamir you just told me on ur site that it was a hard elbow by Cara. Now here you deny it. Dont be stupid.
gunnerkid107
GK107, this was the converstaion on our site: Aamir Eboue did act a bit but you cannot say that Carragher elbowed him in the face pretty hard. gunnerkid107. You're right. You can't say Carragher elbowed him pretty hard. Aamir
Aamir
The beautiful football played by us was played against Chelsea, Sunderland, Derby and Toulouse.
Aamir
Sunderland, Toulouse and Derby? The chelsea game was as dead a game as you will ever see between any of the big 4. Why not try and play bit of football against us? You got a top drawer striker in Torres yet you lump the ball at him from 60 yards? Bit like throwing s*@t at at Kelly Brook while she lays on ur bed naked enit?
iceman10
We were playing good fotball at the start but you lot played very well and made it tough for us.
Aamir
Please can we sell Eboue in Jan :(
ZAgooner
SUX2BU, It wasn't a dive by Alonso, you can tell by Fabregas's body language that it wasn't. Watch the replay again and see for yourself.
JohnDoe
We are a better team than Liverpool on this showing, of that there's no doubt. Their long-ball antics together with some crafty fouling by Carragher kept a point for the scousers, but I reckon they will finish 4th or 5th.
Andy-bayor
I thought Eboue played well for us. He certainly was better than Rosicky. But his diving has got to stop! It's a discgrace
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
WYBI, i agree with u, eboue's academy award performances have to stop. its not what arsenal are about. we are not chelski.
supersof
What about Carragher's pathetic antics throughout the whole game. People that say Eboue was stupid for falling over, yet no mention of the ridiculous injury that Carragher feigned when he brought Adebayor down. Lets face it he knew he had to be sent off so play acted & got away with it. Of course though we can't mention him or the other pathetic diver Gerrard who once again went looking for a penalty, because they are english!! Maybe then we should talk about Alonso who tried to fist the ball into the net (luckily he injured himself in the process of cheating) or that dirty argentinian Mascherano for his two footed lunge. It amazes me how 2 weeks running Liverpool have got away with those sorts of tackles, blatant fouls which should've been penalties by Carragher & dives by Gerrard.
Ashburton Gooner
Jamie Carragher is a cheat. End of.
Moorish
Liverpool did get very lucky yesterday and probably carragher the luckiest he ought to hav been sent off in the begining and then later gave a blatant pen.......i really dunno how mascherano was still on the pitch after that challenge compare that to the obe mikel challenge that got him sent off........yes eboue antics are embarrasing but that wasnt technically a 'DIVE' cuz there was contact b/w the two well he did make a meal of it........neway..l'pool are seriusly riding their luck if we had a tad amount of luck it could hav easily finished 1-3 at the least
karley
 

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