Arsenal fancied to boost top four hopes against Liverpool

Arsenal host Liverpool in the Premier League on Friday and both sides desperately need a victory to boost their hopes of a top four finish this season.

The Gunners currently lie fifth in the table, a point behind Liverpool who hold the fourth and final Champions League spot.

With the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea big favourites to claim the top three positions, the pressure is on Arsenal and Liverpool to grab the other place.

Looking at the football betting markets, Arsenal are 29/20 to win the game, with Liverpool available at 9/5. The draw is on offer at 5/2.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has virtually a full squad available for the game, with just Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla currently on the long-term injured list.

Liverpool are still without Alberto Moreno, Marko Grujic, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Bogdan, while Daniel Sturridge is also doubtful.

Reds’ manager Jurgen Klopp has told Sturridge he is free to leave the club in January, but he is still struggling with a tight hamstring which kept him out of the 4-0 victory at Bournemouth last weekend.

Arsenal have lost just one of their last seven games in the Premier League – a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United at the start of the month.

The Gunners will be itching for revenge this weekend having crashed 4-0 at Anfield earlier this season. They haven’t beaten Liverpool in the league since a 4-1 victory back in 2015 and are priced at 28/1 to match that scoreline on Friday.

The last four meetings between these two sides have produced 21 goals and with neither convincing defensively this season another high-scoring affair could be on the cards.

Arsenal have won 13 of their last 14 home matches, but their defence often struggles against the top sides and odds of 5/4 for over 3.5 goals in the game looks a tempting wager.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last nine league games, although only two of those have been against sides currently in the top ten.

However, they have scored 16 in their last four away matches and will fancy their chances of adding to that tally at the Emirates Stadium.

Mohamed Salah has been in impressive form this season, scoring 20 goals in 26 games in all competitions, and he can be backed at 29/20 to score at any time on Friday.

Playmaker Philippe Coutinho grabbed the opening goal against Bournemouth and might be worth an interest at 13/2 to repeat the feat against Arsenal.

Victory for either side would certainly set them up nicely for a favourable run of fixtures over the coming weeks.

Arsenal face games against Crystal Palace (twice), West Bromwich Albion, Bournemouth and Swansea. Their meeting with Chelsea on January 3 is their toughest match and a return of 16 points shouldn’t be beyond Wenger’s side.

Liverpool’s schedule between now and the end of January looks slightly tougher, with Manchester City’s visit to Anfield on January 14 the standout match.

Swansea City (twice), Leicester City, Burnley and Huddersfield Town completes their next six game stretch and there’s a couple of potential banana skins in that line-up.

Three points for Arsenal on Friday would send them up to fourth in the table and it’s not unreasonable to imagine them extending their advantage over Liverpool by the end of January.

This is an important fixture for both teams, but home advantage and a desire to banish memories of their drubbing at Anfield earlier in the season may tip the balance in Arsenal’s favour.

Arsenal to win and both teams to score is priced at 5/2 and that could be the way to play this one.

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