John Gibbons: Liverpool aren’t rampant this season, they’re ruthless

Liverpool travel to Arsenal this weekend and John Gibbons is full of praise for new Gunners boss Unai Emery. But, he also has a warning for him…

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It seems strange to be travelling to a team who have 22 points from the first 10 games, who have just gone on a run of 11 wins in a row in all competitions, and find ourselves overwhelming bookies favourites for the game.

But, I guess that is the position Liverpool find themselves in now.

Unbeaten in the league, not conceding goals and with a feeling the firepower could be unleashed at any second.

A formidable outfit, who will probably find themselves favourites to win every league game until we go to the Etihad. People just expect Liverpool to perform now.

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If that brings it’s own pressure, it doesn’t seem to be showing. Liverpool will be confident going to North London this weekend, despite Arsenal’s recent run.

Last time they were in the area, they dominated Tottenham on their own (sort of) ground and only a late Spurs goal made the scoreline seem close. They’ll back themselves to do similar on Saturday.

Spurs seem a fairly similar team to Arsenal this season, winning the games they are supposed to, but losing out against the other teams at the top.

Arsenal’s league loses came at home to Manchester City and away at Chelsea, with Liverpool drawing both the same fixtures.

However, there are a few things about Arsenal that Liverpool do need to be wary of.

Firstly, both those results came back in August, when the team were very much finding their feet under a new manager. This game is a really interesting marker for Arsenal in terms of how far they have progressed since then.

The Gunners also have the ability to blitz teams, scoring two, three goals in quick succession.

Liverpool have showed how powerful this is in recent seasons, it is a rare yet formidable skill.

As long as you stay in the game, which Arsenal have been lucky to do on some occasions it must be said, you can take the game away from the opposition through a deadly spell that leaves the opposition reeling.

Arsenal’s first performances and scorelines have been well documented. But if you can stay at 1-0 down and score three in 10 minutes in the second half who cares?

Pierre-Emerick-Aubameyang-(R)

Regardless of how Liverpool play on Saturday, Arsenal will always feel they potentially have that in their locker during the game. That’ll be on the minds of both teams.

There is also the manager factor. Of the three finals that Liverpool have lost under Jurgen Klopp, the Europa League Final in his first season will probably feel most like the one that got away.

The Capital One Cup against Manchester City was on penalties and months into his reign.  The Champions League Final was against Real Madrid and largely the fault of a goalkeeper who may have been concussed, but was definitely rubbish.

But the Europa League Final? Liverpool had beaten better teams than Sevilla on the way to the final.

They were 1-0 up at half time. But, second half manager Unai Emery managed to take control of the midfield and the game and Jurgen Klopp didn’t seem to have any answers apart from throwing his hands at the crowd to make more noise.

I wouldn’t say Emery has one over Klopp, it was only one game and Liverpool are much stronger now. However, that night might be playing on both managers minds too.

I say all that and then look at the defence Arsenal are likely to have to pick and you can’t help but be encouraged.

Mo Salah vs Granit Xhaka at left back in particular looks like an area we might get a lot of joy.

I quite like Xhaka as a player, I think he’s a bit unfairly maligned, but he isn’t a left back and he might not be ready for Salah’s movement and speed.

That’s if Salah plays there. He might choose to run at Arsenal’s pedestrian centre halves instead.

Whatever happens Emery deserves a lot of credit for how quickly he has changed the style at Arsenal and the results they have picked up along the way.

But I can’t help suspect, or maybe hope, that this might be the game the chances Arsenal have been giving away catches up with them.

Liverpool might not have been rampant so far this season, but we have been ruthless.

I expect that to continue this Saturday and for Liverpool to punish Arsenal when they can. But if they don’t? Well, beware the Arsenal Blitz.

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