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Big spending Liverpool travel to the Emirates Stadium to face big sellers Arsenal in Saturday's early kick-off, in what promises to be an early-season Premiership blockbuster.
The corresponding fixtures last season produced 1-1 draws, but neither was short of excitement. The opening-encounter of the 2010-11 season saw Liverpool's Pepe Reina fumble the ball, thereby allowing Arsenal to equalize in the 89th minute. At the Emirates later in the season, a 98th minute Dirk Kuyt penalty cancelled out a 90th minute Robin Van Persie spot kick - a match which wasn't short of controversies, to state the obvious.
However, this time, in theory, Liverpool are a stronger side than Arsenal. The Gunners sold their talismanic captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona last week, ending one of the most boring transfer sagas in football history it has to be said, and are on the verge of completing Samir Nasri's move to Manchester City. They come to this game on the back of a disappointing 0-0 draw at Newcastle last week, where new-signing Gervinho received a red card on his debut, and so did Alex Song, on review, for a stamp on Joey Barton. It leaves Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal boss, without a recognized holding midfielder. 19-year-old Emmanuel Frimpong looks likely to start. Samir Nasri is included in the squad to face Liverpool, but is unlikely that he will feature as he is so close to completing the City move.
Liverpool, on the other hand, didn't have the result they wanted against Sunderland. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, although Liverpool could have scored at least three goals through a magnificent first half performance. After the break though, they fizzled out, allowing Sunderland back into the game.
Manager Kenny Dalglish spent heavily in the summer, buying Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Alexander Doni and Jose Enrique. It will take time for them to gel though, and the Arsenal match could come too quickly for them. However, the Gunners will have one eye on the second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Udinese in midweek, and Liverpool will look to capitalize on the reservations.
All in all, it promises to be an early-season thriller.
Arsenal will be without Gervinho and Alex Song, both of whom are suspended while Kieran Gibbs, Johan Djourou, Tomas Rosicky and Armand Traore are all sidelined through injuries along with Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby, giving Wenger a problem in midfield.
Liverpool's only definitive absentee is captain Steven Gerrard as he recovers from a groin injury. Glen Johnson is doubtful with a hamstring injury though, and he will face a late fitness test.
The last time Liverpool won against Arsenal was 11-and-a-half years ago, in a 1-0 in February 2000. The Reds have never won at the Emirates.
Liverpool's new-boys will take time to gel, and Arsenal will have one-eye in the qualifier against Udinese in mid-week and will not take risks. This looks set to be another 1-1 draw.