By Mihail Vladimirov.
For both teams this game is of huge psychological importance, ahead of their tough set of fixtures in the next month or so. Arsenal have already lost one home game this season and another here will surely spark questions of crisis prior to their trips to Newcastle, Chelsea and high-flying Leicester. Their home games against Stoke and Man Utd are far from easy too.
Meanwhile, although winning their first two games, for Liverpool to lose their first test against top 4 rivals will be at the very least a reality check for Rodgers’ men, especially if the team continue to struggle performance-wise.
There is an argument that the less ambitious Liverpool are in this game, the greater their chance to nick what would be an immensely important victory. Attempting to press and outpass Arsenal might struggle to materialise on the pitch as the Reds still lack the advanced understanding and fluency to pull off the required level of passing dominance. Pressing aggressively and/or from high up the pitch is a double edged strategy with a huge risk of failing spectacularly due to Arsenal’s ability to pass through the pressing waves and pick out the gaps with their well balanced and diverse attacking unit.
As such the most efficient strategy may well be to try and frustrate Arsenal, count on them not being at their best and in full motion yet, aim to nullify their danger men and wait patiently to exploit any opportunity to catch them on the break.
Rodgers’ recent comments about the potential usefulness of dominating the space not the ball against Arsenal hint at him being prepared to go down that route with a well thought-out cautious strategy. It’s worth examining his point about ‘dominating the space’ in a bit more detail.
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