Liverpool vs Arsenal: Nicolas Pepe to make full Gunners debut? Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to face former club?

It’s GameDay on talkSPORT and our action concludes with a top-of-the-table clash as Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield on Saturday evening.

They are the only two teams to obtain maximum points from their opening two league matches this season, so something’s got to give.

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Liverpool are top of the league on goal difference
Getty Images – Getty

And you can listen to commentary of the match LIVE on talkSPORT from 5:30pm – the third of our three live commentaries on GameDay.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have not looked their best so far but have got through their first two matches by beating Norwich 4-1 and edging to a 2-1 victory at Southampton last weekend.

The Gunners have made a similar start – winning 1-0 at Newcastle on the opening weekend before going on to beat Burnley at the Emirates Stadium 2-1.

Some of Arsenal’s new signings made their full debuts, including David Luiz and Dani Ceballos.

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Ceballos was even compared to ex-Arsenal star Cesc Fabgregas by Gooners during the Burnley game
Getty Images – Getty

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Norwich vs Chelsea (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Derby vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Sheffield United vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Liverpool vs Arsenal (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Swansea vs Birmingham (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Nicolas Pepe came on as a substitute against the Clarets and the £73million signing could make his full debut against the club who were initially linked with him, while former Gunner Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in contention to start for Liverpool.

How will both sides line up? Below you can see talkSPORT.com’s predicted Liverpool and Arsenal XIs for the weekend’s most eye-catching match.


  • Why there should be plenty of goals when Liverpool face Arsenal

Liverpool

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The Arsenal match could see the midfield trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum restored
buildlineup.com

Changes are likely to be in order for Klopp as he was forced to rest some of his players for last week’s trip to St Mary’s due to the fact they played in the Super Cup against Chelsea only three days earlier.

Liverpool have had a full week to prepare for this one so their midfield three is likely to be Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.

They are a particularly energetic midfield while Fabinho’s presence could stem the creativity of Ceballos.

Oxlade-Chamberlain started against Saints but is likely to revert to the bench and could come on against his other former club if Liverpool struggle to carve out opportunities.

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Oxlade-Chamberlain signed a new Liverpool contract this week
Getty Images – Getty

Adrian should retain his place between the sticks despite his howler at Southampton which saw him gift a goal to Danny Ings late on as Alisson Becker is still out with a calf injury.

In defence, Joe Gomez is set to partner Virgil van Dijk as Joel Matip has looked slightly shaky in previous games.

There shouldn’t be any surprises up front with the famous trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino certain to start – all of those three having enjoyed much success against Arsenal as Liverpool players.

Firmino has scored in all four home games against Arsenal including a hat-trick last season, while Mane and Salah have also scored in their three and two matches respectively against the Gunners at Anfield. It’ll be interesting to see how Arsenal’s new look defence cope with them this time.

Arsenal

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This Arsenal team has the potential to hurt Liverpool defensively
buildlineup.com

Arsenal’s defence may have holes in it, but the Gunners will feel they can cause Liverpool problems at the back as they’ve looked slightly vulnerable so far.

Liverpool have conceded at least one goal in every match they’ve played this season and, given Arsenal’s attacking talent, the Reds could concede again.

It means Unai Emery may hand Nicolas Pepe his full Gunners debut with the Ivorian making two appearances from the bench so far. If Pepe plays it’s likely to be at Reiss Nelson’s expense as the youngster was not at his best against Burnley.

Andy Robertson likes to get forward so this could leave space for Arsenal to counter-attack and fans will be hoping former Liverpool target Pepe can form a partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette similar to what Salah, Mane and Firmino have.

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Pepe may show Liverpool what they missed out on this summer
Getty Images – Getty

Ceballos should start in his No.10 role as he was easily the best player on the pitch against Burnley and although Mesut Ozil is reportedly available to face Liverpool, it’s always hard to predict whether the German will get the nod from Emery.

They are potentially vulnerable in midfield though with Matteo Guendouzi and Joe Willock, both 20, in contention to play in the defensive roles. But given both players did well last time out, it would be quite unfair to drop them for the trip to Anfield. Meanwhile, Granit Xhaka is reportedly not fully fit.

Arsenal may play a similar defence to Burnley but Sead Kolasinac could be restored to left-back in an attempt to go with the approach of out-muscling Salah. New signing Kieran Tierney is still not available to make his Gunners debut.

Gooners will be worried about Ainsley Maitland-Niles facing Mane but the 21-year-old is Emery’s best option at right-back with Hector Bellerin still injured.


Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – including Arsenal’s trip to Liverpool this weekend

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