Liverpool v Arsenal Wednesday 13th KO 8:00pm

Premier League leaders Arsenal will be looking to take a small step closer to their first title since 2004 when they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Wednesday.

The Gunners sit two points clear at the top of the table, while Liverpool are 12 points further back and looking to close the gap on the Champions League places.

Arsenal

Arsenal are no strangers to injury woes themselves, but the way in which they have coped with such problems this season is another factor behind many considering them favourites for the title.

Aside from a November wobble, the Gunners have looked pretty consistent throughout the season so far, and crucially have been able to bounce back from any sudden and unexpected setbacks.

That has been particularly true over the last three games, with Arsenal quickly returning to form with consecutive victories following the Boxing Day aberration of a 4-0 lossat the hands of out-of-form Southampton.

That is their only defeat in their last 10 games in all competitions, while they have won seven of their last eight to not only rise to the top of the Premier League table but also book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Any European success requires the unlikely task of getting past reigning champions Barcelona, but Arsene Wenger was able to continue his quest towards another piece of silverware with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Gunners were forced to come from behind against the Black Cats and didn't have things all their own way, but they still managed to come out with a win that takes them a step closer to becoming the first side to win the competition three years in a row since the 1880s.

They did it without arguably their star player this season in Mesut Ozil too, but the German playmaker is expected to return to the side as he continues to hunt down Thierry Henry's all-time Premier League assist record of 20. Ozil has already registered an incredible 16 in 19 league games this term.

Perhaps the only minor concern for Arsenal fans at the moment will be their away form. Only Leicester City have picked up more points or scored more goals on the road this season, but Arsenal's only away league win since October came at rock-bottom Aston Villa, while their most recent away outing resulted in that rout at Southampton.

On the transfer front, the Mohamed Elneny saga continues to drag on for the Gunners and the Basel man is unlikely to be cleared in time for Wednesday's match.

Recent form: WWWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWLWWW

Liverpool

Six points is the gap to the Champions League places for Liverpool now as they turn their focus back to the Premier League following a week of cup action.

Jurgen Klopp edged towards a first trophy in English football as Liverpool put their toe in the League Cup final with a 1-0 victory over Stoke City in the first leg of their semi-final at the Britannia Stadium last week.

The Reds deserved that victory having put in an impressive performance, but in keeping with their inconsistent season so far they were unable to back it up three days later when a brand-new starting XI could only manage a 2-2 FA Cup draw with Exeter City.

Aside from the ignominy of being held by a League Two club, the result was a poor one for Liverpool as it added yet another fixture to their already-packed schedule. Wednesday's match will be their fifth in the space of a fortnight, while if Liverpool do make it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup then they will play nine games in January alone.

It is perhaps no surprise that they have been so badly hit with injuries, then, but their crisis could barely have come at a worse time with Arsenal and Manchester United both visiting Anfield this week.

Victory in those games would, of course, be a major boost to their top-four hopes this season, and they have already shown with wins over the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester City this season that they are capable of raising their game for a big occasion.

However, it is a mystery what Liverpool side will turn up. They followed back-to-back wins with a tepid 2-0 defeat at West Ham United in their last league outing, a result that saw them slip down to eighth in the table.

Klopp has so far failed to recreate the sporadic scintillating away performances at Anfield too, with Liverpool not having won a home game in any competition by more than one goal since April of last year. They are, however, unbeaten in front of their own fans in their last four outings and have lost just one of their last 12 games at Anfield.

With as many as 13 players potentially sidelined for this game, though, anything other than a defeat may be considered a decent result for the hosts.

Recent form: LDLWWL
Recent form (all competitions): LWWLWD

Team News

Wenger has confirmed that Wednesday's match will come"too soon" for Alexis Sanchez, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since the end of November.

Ozil and Mathieu Flamini will be available for the Gunners, however, while David Ospina faces a late fitness test after missing out on Saturday.

Tomas RosickyDanny WelbeckJack WilshereFrancis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla all remain sidelined for Arsenal, but Joel Campbell may be hopeful of a start having scored at the weekend.

Liverpool have been boosted by the news that their defensive shortage has eased somewhat, with Kolo Toure available to play against his former club and Mamadou Sakho also in contention for a return.

However, Jordon Ibe is the latest in the Liverpool camp to fall foul of the hamstring strain, and he is a doubt for the match alongside Jordan Henderson, who continues to suffer with a persistent heel problem.

Daniel Sturridge may be fit to return for the weekend, but for now he remains sidelined along with Jon FlanaganJordan RossiterDejan LovrenDivock OrigiPhilippe CoutinhoMartin SkrtelDanny Ings andJoe Gomez.

12/01/16

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