Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arsenal v Liverpool: Rodgers eyes rare Emirates win

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 Aug 2015

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Brendan Rodgers is confident he has found the blueprint for Liverpool to record a rare win at Arsenal on Monday.

Liverpool have won just once in their 12 visits to the Emirates Stadium – a 2-0 Premier League victory in August 2011 – and were beaten 4-1 in last season’s corresponding fixture just four months ago.

But Rodgers believes his side, buoyant after beginning the season with successive 1-0 wins over Stoke City and Bournemouth, have what it takes to turn the tables on Arsene Wenger’s men this time around.

“If you assess the games we’ve had against Arsenal, especially at home, we’ve had dominance of the ball,” Rodgers explained in his media briefing on Saturday.

“If you assess the last 10 games they’ve lost at home, the teams that have won have had dangerous possession.

“The winners have averaged four shots on target with 43 per cent possession. You can’t dominate the ball, but you can dominate space.

“Tactically, we arrive with a good mind of how to win it.” 

Rodgers’ plans could be affected by the fitness of captain Jordan Henderson, though. The England midfielder was substituted early in the second half of Monday’s win over Bournemouth due to a foot problem.

“We’re just assessing Jordan by the day,” Rodgers added. “We’ll see how he goes over the next 48 hours and take it from there.”

Liverpool have no new injury concerns, with Christian Benteke – who scored his first competitive goal for the club against Bournemouth – set to lead the line once again.

Arsenal boss Wenger, meanwhile, is eager for his side to kick-start their campaign at the Emirates following a shock 2-0 home defeat to West Ham on the opening weekend of the season.

“If you want to have a successful season you want to be strong at home,” said the Frenchman.

“Normally we are strong at home. This is an opportunity to show that.

“We missed our first game and we had to look at ourselves, and we responded very well [with last Sunday’s win at Crystal Palace]. Now we need to come back to our usual strength that we have at home.”

Wenger continued: “This is a very important game where the result will of course be vital. It’s not a result that will decide [our title chances] but in our heads we know it’s very important.”

Alexis Sanchez made his first start of the campaign in the 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park, and Wenger expects the Chilean to be close to full fitness for Monday following his extended post-Copa America break.

Wenger also has no new injuries to contend with, although Jack Wilshere (ankle), Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky (both knee) remain sidelined. 

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