Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers
Two clubs with top four aspirations meet at Anfield this afternoon when Liverpool host Arsenal/ Liverpool started the season poorly with a 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich, but a much-improved performance in a 2-2 draw against Manchester City gave the fans optimism, which was further boosted by the Europa League aggregate win over Hearts on Thursday evening.
“The objective was to get into the (Europa League) group stage and we got there,” said manager Brendan Rodgers
Just 18 months after his £35 million transfer to Liverpool, Andy Carroll was this week loaned out to West Ham, and Rodgers was quick to explain the decision to let the striker go for the season.
“He and I spoke - he wants to play and unfortunately for us we’re not in a position to have a £35 million player not playing regularly. The club made a monumental investment in Andy but there’s no use him being on the bench. There was a chance to go out and play and demonstrate his qualities. It allows us to move on and assess it over the season.”
Arsenal have started the season with two goalless draws, prompting doubts over the suitability of their summer signings, but manager Arsene Wenger has urged for patience.
“At the moment I do not want to put too much pressure on them,” said the Frenchman. “I remember Thierry Henry arrived here and did not play before November, Robert Pires arrived here and for a few months was not an automatic starter. So you have to give players who have come in a bit of time to adapt to the league and continue to try to play well as a team.”
Arsenal won 2-1 at Anfield last season, but both goals were scored by the now departed Robin van Persie. Van Persie is the only player to have scored against Liverpool for the Gunners in the last two seasons. Wenger’s side have taken at least a point from their last five meetings to Anfield - winning two and drawing three of the league matches since 2007.