As the old saying goes, in order to become the best you have to beat the best.
Expectations were high when Arsenal were in their pomp in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as Freddie Ljungberg once explained.
Talking to The Coaches Voice, he recalled: “About a week after I joined [in 1998], I remember [former Gunners assistant] Pat Rice said to me: ‘Just so we’re clear, what’s demanded at this club is that we win a trophy, a good trophy, every year.’”
And in those days a trip to Liverpool was a relative formality for Arsenal. They went on an eight-match unbeaten run against the Reds between 2001-04, including two wins and a draw at Anfield.
But anyone who’s been into football long enough knows the game is cyclical and it was nigh on impossible for Arsenal to not progress once they achieved invincible status in the 2003/04 season.
The second half of the 00s saw Liverpool overtake Arsenal and then the first few years of the 2010s largely saw the north Londoners finish above the Merseysiders.
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But Liverpool have been in a much better position in recent seasons, becoming one of the big hitters of the Premier League and Europe, while Arsenal have gone backwards to a level that they experienced pre-Arsene Wenger.
The omens certainly suggest Liverpool will breeze to victory over Arsenal when they meet at Anfield on Saturday, live on talkSPORT. Jurgen Klopp’s side have won their last five home matches in the Premier League against the Gunners.
However, this one has a slightly different feel to it with Liverpool looking rocky in their last outing as they succumbed to defeat at West Ham.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are the form side of the division having gone eight unbeaten, which is the longest unbeaten run any side in the Premier League is currently on.
Since their 5-0 thumping at Manchester City, which left them bottom of the league, Arsenal have shot up the table with six wins and two draws.
The naysayers will point out that an out-of-form Leicester has been their biggest scalp of this run but a win at Anfield, albeit against a potentially injury-stricken Liverpool side, would put Arsenal in the top four.
And more importantly, it would send a strong message to the rest of the teams that the tide may be turning back in Arsenal’s favour.
Listen to full commentary of Liverpool vs Arsenal live on talkSPORT, kick-off 5:30pm
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