How should Arsenal set up at Liverpool on Saturday Night Football?

Watch Liverpool vs Arsenal on Saturday Night Football from 5pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off 5.30pm


Should Unai Emery look to attack Liverpool? Or will Arsenal set up to stifle Jurgen Klopp's side? Charlie Nicholas and Alan Smith look ahead to Saturday Night Football...

The two former Arsenal players gave their thoughts on Emery's line-up for Saturday, including whether Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should both start, and if Granit Xhaka or Lucas Torreira should play in midfield.

Arsenal have conceded 22 goals in their last six games at Anfield, most recently a 5-1 defeat last season, but have made a good start to the season with six points from six.

Watch Liverpool vs Arsenal on Saturday Night Football from 5pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off 5.30pm.

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Charlie Nicholas - No Xhaka, and play Lacazette!

As a former Arsenal player, I'm dreading this game.

It's been a good start for Arsenal. They haven't played fabulously well but they got a dogged win at Newcastle and then beat Burnley, which was a bit of a grind. But how are they going to defend against Liverpool?

Previews MW3 2:07
A look at some of the key stats surrounding this weekend's Premier League action, which includes Everton travelling to Aston Villa, Liverpool v Arsenal and Man City at Bournemouth

Arsenal have improved a bit defensively but it will take time. David Luiz could make mistakes or he could have a man-of-the-match performance. Sokratis doesn't offer enough for me and they are still vulnerable in the full-back areas.

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Liverpool are strong favourites for me, but there is some intrigue in seeing Arsenal try and take on Liverpool's defence at the moment, especially with Adrian in goal instead of Alisson.

I think Arsenal should play a back four with two protectors in front. I don't want Granit Xhaka in the team, I would prefer Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. They would give Arsenal energy and defensive qualities. Then I would want Alexandre Lacazette through the middle and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe to provide pace on the counter and make things happen, with Dani Ceballos just behind them.

I'd have that line-up to give Arsenal a back six and then a front four that could cause Liverpool problems on the counter-attack.

Arsenal goalscorers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Image: Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may both start on Saturday

I think Unai Emery will go a bit more cautious and play Aubameyang with Lacazette on the bench, maybe along with Ceballos. If he does that then Liverpool will win.

Arsenal have to look at a way to get the first goal and try to hurt Liverpool and put them on the back foot. However, I have a feeling Emery might be a bit more negative.

Ceballos is very neat and tidy. Against Burnley, he looked a yard sharper than he did on the opening weekend and that's a promising sign. He looks like a good player for Arsenal and I would start him.

Alan Smith - Aubameyang can lead the line, and Ceballos needs space

I think Arsenal must be cautious, particularly if they concede early. In previous years they've lost their shape when they've conceded at Anfield, and it leads to more damage being done than necessary.

Aubameyang did lead the line at Newcastle, offering a target with diagonal runs. It worked a treat. He's an experienced player now, and knows what defenders don't like. He's very good at staying out of their eyeline and drifting onto their shoulders, as well as offering a target.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring his Arsenal's second goal 2:57
Highlights from Arsenal's 2-1 win against Burnley in the Premier League

He's obviously not as good at holding the ball up as Lacazette, but he can look in-behind more, certainly. That could be the way forward from the start.

We may see that back to front ball more. David Luiz, in particular, loves it, and tried it a few times against Burnley. That may be the way against Liverpool, to avoid their press.

Playing both is obviously quite an attacking tactic, especially if Nicolas Pepe plays. It will be fascinating to see the starting line-up, and will give us a big idea of Emery's intentions.

Torreira is another week on with his fitness now, and certainly when he is ready, you'd want him in your team.

Yes, Xhaka is marmite. Sometimes he can be very effective, but other occasions he can give the ball away. Torreira and Guendouzi might be the way to go on Saturday.

Dani Ceballos
Image: Dani Ceballos was in superb form against Burnley

Ceballos was very good on Saturday, demanding the ball and dictating the play. I can just imagine Jurgen Klopp singling him out and making sure it doesn't happen again. Burnley dropped off to a certain extent, giving him the space, so Ceballos' space on Saturday will be a key factor.

Can he get on the ball and dictate the tempo? It will be a tough task, but he's certainly brave and wants the ball. He wants to take on responsibility, which bodes well, but you wouldn't be surprised to see someone push onto him to prevent him doing that.

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