Liverpool against Arsenal at Anfield on the weekend is a game that exemplifies the old adage of a ‘changing of the guard’.
Before their 3-2 win over Jurgen Klopp’s men back in October, Arsenal had failed to beat Liverpool in their previous five meetings, which contained an aggregate scoreline of 11-0.
Back then, Liverpool were chasing an unprecedented quadruple whereas Mikel Arteta was trying to instil an identity and method into a side that was nothing short of underwhelming.
These days, Liverpool are scrambling for a place in the top four and Arsenal are a monstrous 30 points ahead of their weekend opponents, hot in pursuit of a first Premier League title for the first time since 2004 when Arsene Wenger’s men reached the status of invincibility.
Arteta’s side isn’t quite invincible, but they are on course to have a record-breaking season in terms of points, taking 72 from a possible 87 so far.
On Merseyside, Liverpool left the race for the Premier League months ago and our now clinging onto the faint prospect of gaining Champions League football for next season.
Excluding the damned Covid season, Jurgen Klopp’s men lost just six games in three Premier League campaigns. This season alone they’ve lost nine.
The German spoke before the Chelsea game and lambasted his side following their 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, revealing that “there is no one in the team, apart from two or three, that has their spot safe.”
Klopp wasn’t messing about, and made five changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Chelsea last night; leaving out regulars such as Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The man who turned doubters into believers now believes there is reason to doubt the abilities and attitude of the stars who helped him create a dynasty at Anfield.
However, Liverpool still strike fear into any team that visits Anfield, losing just once at home in all competitions this season.
The welcome return of Luis Diaz, who picked up that knee injury in the reverse fixture at the Emirates, may be just what Klopp needs to rejuvenate his side.
Arteta and his men know the task at hand.
The Spaniard spoke of having “wild dreams” after his side’s demolition of Leeds, but it wasn’t regarding Premier League glory but rather Leandro Trossard, who has enjoyed a stellar start to his new life at Arsenal.
It will be interesting to see if he keeps his spot on Sunday or if star boy Bukayo Saka, who was rested against Leeds, will return to the starting XI.
Unlike Klopp, Arteta spoke of the “trust” he has in his players following their victory on Saturday and will need this feeling of togetherness on Sunday as they aim to become the first Arsenal side to win at Anfield since 2012; a 2-0 triumph in which Arteta played.
The feeling amongst the Emirates faithful is that a win at Anfield will be a major step towards the title. However, Klopp and his men may have rolled over too often this season, but form is of little relevance when they play in front of their home crowd.