Unai Emery Jokes Arsenal 'Don't Want to Play' Liverpool Ahead of EPL Clash

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

Arsenal's Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Burnley at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 17, 2019. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has joked that he would prefer it if his side didn't face Liverpool this season ahead of their trip to Anfield on Saturday.

Ahead of the meeting between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, the Gunners and the Reds are the only two teams in the Premier League to have taken maximum points from their first two games.

That will change when the two go head-to-head in Week 3. Ahead of the match, Emery has said the prospect of facing Jurgen Klopp's side is an ominous one, per Rory O'Callaghan of Sky Sports:

"For us, we don't want to play against Liverpool ever. We'd prefer not to play against them. That is really our challenge, a really good test. For the supporters, for all of us, going there with six points is good.

"Really our target is to reduce the distance to Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea. When we play against them it is a big challenge to show how we can be. Next week is going to be a very good match."

Anfield has not been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent years, as they've suffered 5-1, 4-0 and 3-1 losses in their last three visits to Merseyside.

In this fixture last season, the Gunners took the lead through Ainsley Maitland-Niles before they capitulated defensively, with Roberto Firmino's hat-trick inspiring Liverpool to a 5-1 triumph:

Arsenal supporters will be hopeful of their team giving a better account of themselves ahead of the match with the European champions and the derby against Tottenham Hotspur a week later.

James Benge of Football.London noted that it's been a long time since the team got off to such a fast start:

James Benge @jamesbenge

For the first time in a decade Arsenal have won their opening two league games. Big start to the season with Liverpool and Spurs to come. https://t.co/KPs2zHLas1

The Gunners haven't been at their fluid best in their wins so far, beating Newcastle United 1-0 and then Burnley 2-1 on Saturday. However, they have the tools to win tight games.

This season, the team's main strength is set to be its firepower, with the arrival of Nicolas Pepe for a club-record fee giving Emery another high-class option in attack. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are already established among the best strikers in the Premier League.

Despite the potency Arsenal have in attack, sports journalist Jonny Singer said there are still concerns about the defence:

Jonny Singer @Jonny_Singer

Another less than special performance, but vital three points. Momentum could be really useful early on. Pepe great in flashes, but should have made it more comfortable. Ceballos just a cut above. If only we could defend!

If there are areas of weakness, they will be exposed at Anfield, as Liverpool have three of the best forwards around in Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.Β 

Emery will hope the acquisition of David Luiz will help the Gunners in these types of encounters, as his experience and aggression should improve the Arsenal back line. If they can find a way of limiting the Reds' attacking talent on Saturday, Arsenal certainly have the firepower to trouble the Liverpool defence.Β Β