Arsenal could face severely depleted Liverpool squad as Premier League returns this week

Jurgen Klopp: Two key decisions went against Liverpool in West Ham defeat

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Arsenal are in fine form under Mikel Arteta but the toughest test of the season awaits as the Premier League returns this weekend. The Gunners have the daunting task of travelling to Anfield to face title contenders Liverpool on Saturday evening. 

 

But Arteta’s side’s chances of getting a result on Merseyside have been boosted due to the possibility of key absences from Liverpool’s side. 

Arteta marked his 100th game in charge as Gunners boss with a narrow victory against Watford before the international break. 

The win lifted the Gunners ahead of Manchester United to fifth in the league table, just six points behind leaders Chelsea. 

And six victories in eight means confidence is high in north London, while Liverpool need to bounce back after the 3-2 defeat away to flying West Ham.

Jurgen Klopp’s side could be without three key men for Saturday’s clash, however, after Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson were both sent home early from international duty with injury.  

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Mane was substituted in the first-half of Senegal’s draw with Togo after clashing with a defender.

Senegal boss Aliou Cisse confirmed after the match Mane was taken off as a precaution but the Anfield club are still sweating on his future ahead of Saturday’s game.

“Yes, the exit of Sadio Mane destabilized us,” Cisse said.

“He is an important player for the team, we took him off as a precaution and there is nothing serious.”

Henderson, meanwhile, played a starring role in England’s 5-0 thrashing of Albania, netting a fine goal in an accomplished performance. 

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The Reds skipper is enjoying brilliant form right now but could be a doubt after Southgate revealed he picked up a small injury.

“With Hendo, [it happened] within the game,” Southgate said.

“As a precaution with both we’ve scanned them [Henderson and Grealish]. There are small injuries on the scans, so we just hope that they’re not going to miss too much football from here on.

“It shouldn’t be too bad in either case but [we] just have to see how that progresses.”

Roberto Firmino is already ruled out of Saturday’s fixture as Klopp’s injury concerns rack up. 

The Brazilian forward is out for an extended period after sustaining a hamstring injury in the recent Champions League victory to Atletico Madrid. 

“Losing Bobby Firmino is a blow,” Klopp said.

“I don’t think I need to say how big it is. It’s a serious injury.

“We talk about weeks – more than four I consider as a serious injury. Then we have to see. Bobby is a quick healer.”

Just two points separates Liverpool and Arsenal before Saturday’s big kick-off and Arteta’s underdogs could leapfrog their opponents with a surprise away win.

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