Arsenal out to close gap on Liverpool, Lampard seeks first win
London (AFP) – Early Premier League leaders Liverpool and Arsenal face-off, while Frank Lampard is under pressure to deliver his first win as Chelsea boss at Norwich on Saturday.
One of the only two remaining 100 percent records in the Premier League will go at Anfield where the European champions will hope to continue a fine recent record against the north Londoners.
However, Unai Emery’s outfit are hoping a busy summer in the transfer window, while Liverpool did not strengthen, will have significantly narrowed the 27-point gap between the sides last season.
Emery could hand a first start to £72 million ($87 million) club record signing Nicolas Pepe, while on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos earned rave reviews by creating both goals on his full debut against Burnley last weekend.
However, it is at the back Arsenal need a drastic improvement and there is an early opportunity for veteran centre-back David Luiz to make his mark by halting the free-scoring trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, who combined for all five Liverpool goals when the sides last met.
“A lot of times in my life I had sensational players always (but) not world-class players,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website.
“Now, thank God I have them and they make the difference. Sadio Mane, Bobby Firmino, Mo Salah – these guys in the last situation are really outstanding.”
Arsenal have some outstanding finishers of their own. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Mane and Salah last season, has scored his side’s winner in the first two games of the campaign.
And on the evidence of Liverpool’s first four games of the season across all competitions, a defence that registered 20 Premier League clean sheets last season looks far less solid.
Alisson Becker remains sidelined with a calf injury, meaning Adrian — whose calamitous attempted clearance gifted Southampton a goal last weekend — will keep his place in goal.
– Solskjaer’s vision coming together –
Whilst Liverpool and Arsenal have taken advantage of a couple of kind fixtures to get their campaigns off to a bright start, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham all dropped points on matchday two.
The roles are reversed this weekend as United host Crystal Palace, who have yet to score this season at Old Trafford, City travel to Bournemouth and Spurs seek to dismiss Newcastle with the ease newly-promoted Norwich did last weekend.