Last season Arsenal suffered a 5-1 defeat to at Anfield during a similarly important time of the campaign to when they play now. However, with the revelation that is Francis Coquelin playing in central midfield this time round that won’t happen again.
The Frenchman was out on loan at Charlton Athletic as recently as December, but has since found himself at the heart of a resurgence from the Gunners.
Great performances in the big matches, which the North London club struggled in so badly last season, have marked him out from the rest. The victories away against Manchester City and Manchester United especially showcased the 23-year-old’s talents.
When Liverpool tore apart a midfield of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, and Santi Cazorla many will have thought that manager Arsene Wenger’s time was coming to an end.
However, the Frenchman has been part of a team that has turned things around this season and could still potentially come second in the Premier League, even if a far fetched title challenge is more dream than reality. Coquelin’s hard tackling and no nonsense defending have been vital to this renaissance from Wenger’s men.
It will be down to Coquelin to stop Philippe Coutinho and the ‘flattered’ Raheem Sterling on Saturday. The former had been in brilliant form before the international break, adding more of a goal threat to his already brilliant talent. Meanwhile it is a complete unknown how Sterling will react after admitting he is flattered by interest from Arsenal.
However, even if the England international is at his best, the Gunners won’t have to fear another of those drubbings that became so commonplace in the last campaign. With their new defensive midfielder doing a passable impression of Gilberto Silva in the middle of the park, they could even have a chance of beating yet another of their rivals.