2nd March, 2012
A week after Liverpool and Arsenal raised hopes of a strong finish to the Premier League season with crucial wins, the pair go head to head at Anfield in a match critical to each team’s chances of making the top four tomorrow.
While Liverpool ended its six-year wait for a trophy with a shootout win in the League Cup final, Arsenal recovered a two-goal deficit to beat local rival Tottenham 5-2.
Fans of both clubs have renewed hope of clinching qualification for the Champions League, but defeat for either on Saturday could see just as swift a turnaround in mood.
“What the win does is it makes you more confident and it gives you an incentive to go on and try and win and play in more finals,” Liverpool winger, Stewart Downing, said. “And we are still going for a Champions League place with fourth position. There is a lot to play for and hopefully we can carry on doing well.”
Leader Manchester City, which hosts Bolton on Saturday, and second-place Manchester United are out of sight, but third-place Tottenham is just seven points ahead of Arsenal after last weekend’s north London derby.
If Spurs lose to visiting United on Sunday, that gap could be as small as four points.
Liverpool is back in seventh place but is only seven points behind Arsenal with a game in hand.
Liverpool could be without captain Steven Gerrard after the midfielder limped off in the first half of England’s 3-2 friendly defeat against the Netherlands on Wednesday. Defender Daniel Agger is also set to miss the match after cracking a rib in the League Cup final.
“He’s got a fractured rib, so maybe it will be a few weeks,” manager Kenny Dalglish said.
United and Tottenham will both have to cope without key players at White Hart Lane, where United has not lost since a meaningless end-of-season fixture in 2001.