Why Jurgen Klopp news “worried” Arsenal fans – and the “drop-off” Liverpool can exploit – Liverpool FC

Liverpool’s trip to Arsenal is the standout game of the weekend, in what could be such a huge day in the Premier League title race.

The Reds know how important Sunday’s clash at the Emirates is, not only in terms of keeping the Gunners at bay, but also staying ahead of Man City.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men won 2-0 in north London in the FA Cup last month, but this could be a bigger test, given the magnitude of the occasion.

Wednesday’s superb 4-1 win over Chelsea bodes well, and Liverpool are in their best form of the season currently.

With kickoff getting close, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson spoke to Arsenal fan and writer Matt Dawson (@mattddawson) to talk about the title race, Klopp’s exit and much more.

 

How happy are you with Arsenal’s progress this season?

From a defensive point of view, I am pretty pleased with Arsenal this season.

Our numbers have seen a vast improvement at the back this term, but we still have the habit of gifting simple goals away.

In an attacking sense, however, it has been hugely disappointing to see our drop-off.

We’ve got some absolute game-changers in the final third, namely Bukayo Saka, but the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus have both struggled.

Arsenal needed a No. 9 in January, but didn’t get one, and we will have to wait until the summer now to potentially see a mega-money move.

 

Does Arteta still have the full support of the fans?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Well and truly, yes.

Reports in Spain last week suggested he was going to leave the club in the summer for Barcelona (not quite as big as Klopp leaving), but the way he came out defiantly the next day was rather incredible.

Visibly angry at the rumours, it cemented to Arsenal supporters that he is fully committed to this project.

It is great to see and there is no doubting that he is the right man for the job.

 

Who has stood out and struggled the most this season?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 7, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (R) is challenged by Arsenal's William Saliba during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

William Saliba and Gabriel have been colossal at the back. We saw in the reverse fixture at Anfield over the festive period just how good they can be when on form.

Meanwhile, Declan Rice has been titanic, and then in the attack, Saka is by far and away our most prolific contributor of goals and assists.

I think one of the most disappointing figures has been Martinelli. He has looked electric at times, but the left-hand side of our attack has been problematic in 2023/24.

Hopefully, his two goals against Crystal Palace will spur him into life.

 

What are your thoughts on Klopp’s shock departure?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I couldn’t believe it when I saw the news.

There was a wry smile, mainly because it might mean Liverpool fall off a bit when he departs, but also I couldn’t help but feel worried.

If this doesn’t spur the Reds towards the title then nothing will.

I wanted Jurgen Klopp at Arsenal when Arsene Wenger was under fire, so I can’t sit here and say I’m not a fan.

He has been a wonderful figure in the Premier League and it will be sad to see him walk away from Anfield at the end of the season.

 

How do you assess Liverpool’s title chances now?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates with team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last time we spoke ahead of the reverse fixture, I said Man City were favourites. I think I still maintain that point of view, although Liverpool have risen in my estimations.

This weekend is huge. If Liverpool can beat Arsenal then it will put us out of the title race and only elevate their own chances.

This will likely boil down to being a two-horse race, however much I want the Gunners to be there at the end.

 

As for Sunday, where will the key battles take place?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Diogo Jota against Arsenal‘s defence.

He always seems to score against us, so finding a way to keep him quiet will be key.

Beyond that, how either Conor Bradley or Trent Alexander-Arnold deal with Arsenal‘s left-hand side will be fascinating to watch.

Alexander-Arnold is a man who has found Martinelli an absolute nuisance in years gone by.

 

If you could only have one Liverpool player at Arsenal, who would it be?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 3, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ha, great question!

Mohamed Salah probably feels like the obvious choice, but I would probably go for Trent.

Of course he can be suspect defensively, but there aren’t many footballers in world football who can do what he does, and would suit the inverted full-back system Arsenal use perfectly.

 

Finally, what’s your prediction?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I am incredibly nervous ahead of this one. The pessimist in me can’t see Arsenal winning.

I would take a draw to just about keep us in the race, but I reckon Liverpool may just snatch it.

I will go for 2-1 to Klopp’s side.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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