Arsenal celebrates yet another goal
It's no secret that both teams have struggled so far this year. Arsenal sits at the sixth spot in the EPL, while Liverpool trails its foe by only three points.
Both teams will try to ride the wave of their five-goal wins in the last round of matches. Arsenal beat West Ham 5-1, while Liverpool managed to also score five goals in their win against Norwich.
The difference here is that Arsenal come out on the winning side of a 3-2 FA Cup match against Brighton, while Liverpool got the shorter end of the stick in their 3-2 loss to Oldham that eliminated them from the same FA Cup.
Here is everything you need to know about Wednesday's matchup.
Where: Emirates Stadium, London, England
When: Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 2.45 p.m.
Watch: FOX Soccer
Stream: Watch Premier League
What's at Stake?
Arsenal and Liverpool are both currently not only outside of the Champions League, but also one spot shy of the Europe League berth. To win this game would push either team closer to the coveted Champions League qualification group—as well as push their rival three points back.
Liverpool will also be looking to gain momentum after their embarrassing elimination from the FA Cup. Arsenal is looking to to do the exact opposite: win their third straight.
All that without mentioning the great rivalry these two clubs share. So it's fair to say that bragging rights are definitely on the table. Liverpool will look to revenge the 2-0 loss suffered in earlier in the season.
What They're Saying
Fans are not the only excited ones for this match. Theo Walcott told Arsenal.com that his team needs to find consistency:
Yes [the momentum is growing]. It has been up and down, there have been patches of brilliance, but we need to do it in every game. We have tended to start slowly and then wake up and that's something we need to get out of our system. It's about being concentrated.
Liverpool, on the other hand, is in desperate need of both consistency and some confidence. Midfielder Joe Allen told Metro the FA Cup loss did a number on the locker room:
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
"Everyone in the dressing room is completely devastated," Allen said.
"It’s the worst feeling in football. These are the kind of games where mentally you have to be on it for the whole game but we started slowly."
Arsenal Player to Watch: Theo Walcott
To say Walcott has been on fire lately is an understatement. The striker has scored in his last three appearances (including the game-winner vs. Brighton) and has now 17 goals this season. Seems like his contract extension did wonders for his confidence.
He told Arsenal.com he is "enjoying his football":
"I'm definitely enjoying my football," added Walcott. "I think the last two years have been strong as well but I've always enjoyed my football, no matter what. I always listen to the right people and always enjoy every time I get a chance to play."
Can Theo Walcott extend his goal streak? Only time—and the Liverpool game—will tell.
Liverpool Player to Watch: Jordan Henderson
There is no simpler way to put it: Liverpool will only have a chance to win if the good Henderson decides to show up to the Emirates.
Henderson scored his first league goal of the season in the 5-0 win over Norwich, drawing praise from his coach (via Liverpool.com):
Jordan is a terrific young talent. (...) He's also got great quality and the goal he scored was brilliant technique. He had to shape his body and it was a wonderful finish.
However, Brendan Rodgers was less than impressed with the 22-year-old—and the other Liverpool youngsters—after the dreaded loss to Oldham, Metro reports.
I was really disappointed with our young players. We are trying to give them experience and let them see what it’s like to play for Liverpool, but you’ve got to be able to be competitive and part of a group that is going to challenge for trophies.
With Phillipe Coutinho reportedly on the way, Henderson will have to deliver more consistently if he wants to keep his starting job. Another poor appearance by the midfielder and Rodgers might be looking for even fresher legs to conduct the Reds' midfield.
It's hard to go against Arsenal in this one. They have the better momentum and are better equipped for this match, as Liverpool's early exit from the FA Cup will prove to be too much of a blow to the Reds.
The Gunners will also enjoy home advantage and a scorching hot Theo Walcott.
While it is true Liverpool improved a lot since the two team's last encounter, so did the Gunners.
Mikel Arteta could also make a comeback to the Arsenal's midfield after injury. However, his return is dubbed to be "unlikely" by Sports Mole. Either way, Aaron Ramsey can still shoulder the load in the midfield.
Even Jose Reina's return to Liverpool's pipes won't save them from a second straight loss. Arsenal will gain three critical points, while Liverpool will fall back in the table.
Arsenal 3, Liverpool 0