Mikel Arteta is unsure whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey will be fit for Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Liverpool on Saturday.
The in-form Gunners travel to Merseyside without a win at Anfield since September 2012, but with the longest unbeaten run in the top flight of eight matches.
Captain Aubamayang has emerged as a doubt for the clash with the Reds after returning from international duty with Gabon early, while Ghana midfielder Partey’s fitness is also a concern for the London club due to a muscle injury.
Asked about Aubamayang’s early return, Arteta said on Friday: “No, it wasn’t pre-planned, we have to assess him and see how he is and make a decision.
“We have a lot players who have been through some different games, issues, little injuries, so today we have to test everybody and see how we are to play tomorrow.
“Same again [for Partey], he could not play for the national team, he really tried to do that because they had a massive game and he really pushed for that one, but he wasn’t close enough to do that. Again, it’s something we have to assess today.”
“I try to be an example, I think that is the most important part of being a captain… I try to give my best and give whatever I can for the club.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 18, 2021
Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat at West Ham before the international break ended their 20-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
The Reds are unbeaten in nine at home in the top flight and Arteta is relishing the challenge of trying to secure a long-awaited win at Anfield.
“It is always a test, it is a fascinating stadium to play football in,” said the former Everton midfielder. “You have to be at your best, and raise the level to your maximum standards, emotionally, physically, tactically, because if you don’t you will be exposed.
“Going to Anfield is always a test, but if you are able to do that, there are not many grounds as good as there to feel that you are a proper footballer.
“You really feel as a footballer you are in a place where you really have to give your best and when you do, it’s an incredible feeling, because you have overcome a really difficult and challenging situation.
“When you don’t, like it has happened other times, after you feel regrets for things that you haven’t done or you should have done differently, or you haven’t approached the game in the right way. I think it’s one of those places where you have to go there and believe on the day and show why you want to play football.
“I don’t know [why we haven’t won there more], obviously the quality of the opponent has a big say. It’s not a coincidence that last year as well before we went to Old Trafford, it was I don’t know how many years before we won at Stamford Bridge the same, but first of all you have to believe that you go there and that you can beat them, that’s the first thing.
“If somebody is not with that mindset, they should not put the shirt on and go to Anfield tomorrow and then as I said you have to raise individually your game to your best, emotionally, physically, technically and tactically you have to be able to suffer in the right moments, because there’s going to be moments where you’re going to have to do that and then as a team you have to have very clear ideas of what you’re going to do on that pitch to beat that side.”
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