Liverpool v Arsenal
Tuesday, 21 April
Score updates on Final Score, BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 Live
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will miss out as he needs another seven to 10 days to overcome a groin problem.
After a week’s rest boss Rafael Benitez may stick with the same side knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea.
Arsenal will be without leading scorer Robin van Persie (groin) and striker Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) for the trip to Anfield.
Full-back Bacary Sagna has recovered from a virus and could feature along with fit-again Croatia forward Eduardo.
Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski will again deputise for the injured Manuel Almunia (ankle).
Defenders Gael Clichy (back), William Gallas (knee) and Johan Djourou (knee) are all sidelined.
Liverpool (from): Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Skrtel, Dossena, Aurelio, Insua, Benayoun, Riera, Mascherano, Alonso, Lucas, Kuyt, Torres, Ngog, El Zhar, Cavalieri.
Arsenal (from): Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Arshavin, Song, Fabregas, Walcott, Bendtner, Eduardo, Mannone, Eboue, Nasri, Diaby, Vela, Denilson, Ramsey.
are focussed entirely on the pursuit of a record 19th English top-flight title and their first in 19 years, and the attempt to deny Manchester United the prestige of equalling their 18 championship crowns.
Rafa Benitez’ men
have had all weekend to prepare for this vital home clash with
which could put them back on top of the table. A draw would see them climb above Manchester United on goal difference; a win would put them two points clear, having then played two more games than the Red Devils, who host Portsmouth on Wednesday night.
Champions League semi-finalists
must put the disappointment of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea behind them, as they may have a major say on the destination of the Premier League trophy.
Arsene Wenger’s side
still have to host Chelsea and visit Manchester United in their five remaining league fixtures after this.
Both these clubs have won their last five Premier League games.
are bidding for 28 successive home top-flight matches without defeat;
have not lost in 18 home and away, and need three wins and a draw from six games to be guaranteed a top-four finish.
Four of the last five meetings between these clubs in all competitions have been 1-1 draws, including the last three in the Premier League.
have been beaten more often (14 times) and dropped more points (52) in the Premier League against
, than against any other club.
Distance between the clubs: 209 miles (336 kilometres)
2nd 70 points
Highest achievable: 1st
Lowest could fall: 2nd
1. Won their last five Premier League matches against Sunderland (h), Manchester United (a), Aston Villa (h) Fulham (a), and Blackburn (h). Now pursuing their longest winning sequence since ending the 2005-06 campaign with nine successive victories.
2. Lost one of 21 league games; the defeat being 2-0, away to Middlesbrough on 28 February.
3. Boast the best attack in the highest league.
4. Scored nine goals in stoppage time; only
5. Failed to score in one of the last 11 Premier League matches; away to Middlesbrough.
6. The current total of 70 points after 32 games is their best ever return in the Premier League, and the best at this stage since the title-winning campaign of 1987-88, when 76 points had been accrued at this corresponding juncture.
7. Lost just one of 17 league games in which they’ve opening the scoring; away to Spurs.
8. Undefeated in 27 home league games; won 19 and drawn eight since Manchester United’s 0-1 triumph at Anfield on 16 December 2007 – their only defeat in 39 league games on home turf.
9. Kept clean sheets in nine of the last 12 league games at Anfield; the most recent two being 5-0 against Aston Villa on 22 March, and 4-0 against Blackburn on 11 April.
10. The run-in after this is:- Hull (a), Newcastle (h), West Ham (a), West Brom (a) and Tottenham (h).
4th 61 points
Highest achievable: 4th
Lowest could fall: 4th
Best & Worst categories in 2008-09 Premier League
1. Won the last five Premier League matches with an aggregate score of 16-3. Not won six in a row since seven on the bounce between 25 August and 20 October 2007.
2. Won 10 and drawn eight of their last 18 Premier League matches; their longest undefeated sequence since the “invincibles” went through the entire 2003-04 season without defeat.
3. Kept clean sheets in six of the last nine league games, conceding just three goals in the nine matches. Let in only five Premier League goals in 2009; fewer than any other club.
6. Top in the Premier League’s “Last Six Current Form” table, but the current total of 61 points after 32 games is nine points down on last season.
7. On the longest current run of 13 top-flight outings since conceding more than one goal in a game; the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa on Boxing Day being the most recent.
8. On the longest current undefeated run away from home in the top league of nine games; won five and drawn four on the road since losing 3-0 to Manchester City at Eastlands on 22 November. That defeat is their only loss in 12 against North-West clubs; won nine of them.
10. This match precedes a home clash with Middlesbrough next Sunday, and the first leg of the Champions League semi-final with Manchester United at Old Trafford next Wednesday. Thereafter the run-in is:- Portsmouth (a), Chelsea (h), Manchester United (a) and Stoke (h).
KEY PLAYER NOTES
Jose REINA is the only remaining player to have been on the field for every minute of every one of Liverpool’s Premier League matches this season.
Jamie CARRAGHER is the only other player to have started all of Liverpool’s Premier League games this term.
Steven GERRARD is the club’s top Premier League scorer with 13 goals.
Fernando TORRES needs a hat-trick to total 50 goals for Liverpool.
Daniel AGGER will be making his 50th Premier League appearance for Liverpool.
Emmanuel ADEBAYOR is Arsenal’s top Premier League scorer with 10 goals.
HEAD TO HEAD
Arsenal have not returned with all three points from Anfield since a 1-2 win on 4 October 2003, when a stunning second-half strike from Robert Pires secured the points and kept the Gunners on course for the title.
There has not been an away win in a fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool, either in London or at Anfield, in 10 league meetings.
Home and away
League (inc PL): Liverpool 68 wins, Arsenal 58, Draws 43
Prem: Liverpool 14 wins, Arsenal 9, Draws 10
at Liverpool only
League (inc PL): Liverpool 48 wins, Arsenal 21, Draws 15
Prem: Liverpool 9 wins, Arsenal 3, Draws 4
LAST SEASON’S CORRESPONDING GAME
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal
28 October 2007 – Ref: Howard Webb
Liverpool scorer: Gerrard 7
Arsenal scorer: Fabregas 80
THIS SEASON’S REVERSE FIXTURE
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
21 December 2008 – Ref: Howard Webb
Arsenal scorer: Van Persie 24
Liverpool scorer: Keane 42
Sent Off: Adebayor (Arsenal) 62
Howard Webb (Yorkshire)
Premier League referees’ table
Howard Webb’s 2008-09 Premier League card count