London — Arsenal would probably have preferred an easier League Cup opponent than Premier League leaders Liverpool as they bid to regroup following captain Granit Xhaka’s tantrum and a poor run of form.
However, that is the task that faces the Gunners tomorrow heading to Anfield for their fourth round clash.
Unai Emery’s players have won just twice in their last eight Premier League games as opposed to Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League holders who have dropped just two points thus far this term.
Theirs is one of three all Premier League matches on Wednesday — the rest of the games are on today — with Chelsea hosting Manchester United and Aston Villa at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Liverpool’s last domestic honour dates back to lifting this trophy in 2012 but despite a desire to end that run Klopp is likely to field a very different line-up to the one that beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the Premier League at the weekend.
Mohamed Salah is one of the Liverpool stars who will be rested but Arsenal’s Emery may be tempted to select Xhaka to refocus his mind after his histrionics on Sunday storming down the tunnel after being substituted during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Arsenal veteran Hector Bellerin — who is ruled out of the match due to injury — has called for everyone to calm down and pull together.
“It’s time to lift each other up, not to push each other away. We only win when we are together,” he tweeted.
Unlike Xhaka Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic enjoyed a memorable weekend in the best senses of the term scoring a hat-trick — his first goals for the club and a small initial repayment on the 58 million they paid Borussia Dortmund for him.
It was only his second start for the club since his arrival in August and the 21-year-old United States star should get another run out tomorrow against Manchester United.
And that is certainly something he would relish.
“(Frank Lampard the Chelsea manager) believes in me and he’s told me that,” said Pulisic.
“You have to keep working hard in training and earn my spot, that’s how it is at the highest level. I’m going to continue to do so. This is hopefully just the start.”
Lampard, who succeeded Maurizio Sarri as manager after just one season with Derby County in the second tier Championship, is delighted with the form of the team but warned his players not to get all comfortable.
“I’m just really pleased where we’ve got to,” Lampard told the club website.
“We’re working hard, but we have to be aware we can improve and if we get overconfident in this moment and start making crazy expectations on ourselves from within — let everyone else talk.”
League Cup Cup (Fourth Round) fixtures
Today: Burton Albion v Leicester City( 19:45), Crawley Town v Colchester United (19:45), Everton v Watford (19:45), Manchester City v Southampton (19:45), Oxford United v Sunderland (19:45).
Tomorrow: Liverpool v Arsenal (19:30), Aston Villa v Wolverhampton Wanderers (19:45), Chelsea v Manchester United (20:05). — AFP.