Klopp will remain 'calm' with Arsenal team selection as Thiago and Diaz close in on returns

By Sports Desk April 07, 2023

Liverpool are close to welcoming back Thiago Alcantara and Luis Diaz from injury, but manager Jurgen Klopp will remain "calm" when selecting his side to face Arsenal.

The Reds host Premier League leaders Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday desperately attempting to keep their season alive after collecting one point from their past three games.

Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Chelsea ended a two-game losing run, but it leaves Liverpool 10 points adrift of Newcastle United and Manchester United in third and fourth respectively.

Klopp surprisingly made six changes for the trip to Stamford Bridge, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk dropping out.

Van Dijk's absence was put down to illness, which Klopp confirmed at Friday's press conference he has now recovered from, while two other key men are now back in training.

Diaz has not played for Liverpool since the reverse fixture with Arsenal in October, while Thiago is further ahead in his recovery after spending two months out with a hip injury.

"Virgil is back in training. Luis and Thiago are training," Klopp told reporters. "The plan with Luis is he will be available 100 per cent for Leeds [a week on Monday]. 

"It was a long injury, so we will have to be careful. We will probably not involve him on Sunday. Thiago is slightly different. He's trained three times and might be available."

Asked if those left out against Chelsea are in contention to start against Arsenal, Klopp said: "We've had one proper [training] session since then.

"The boys haven't shown me they don't want to play. This is not the situation we are in. I have to make decisions about the team based on what I have seen in training.

"That opens the door for everybody. I cannot constantly ask for something I didn't get. I am always really calm in this moment. In the end, we will see what the outcome is."


While Liverpool have struggled for consistency, they have won five of their past six matches at Anfield, drawing the other, including the last three by an 11-0 aggregate scoreline.

Indeed, the Reds have not conceded a goal on home soil in seven hours and 26 minutes of league football stretching back to December.

"Anfield is not the only thing we should rely on, but it is no secret that the combination of our people, the ground and the boys is pretty good," Klopp said. 

"That is what we have to throw in, but not rely on it. I have a very good feeling we can [beat Arsenal]."

Arsenal are 29 points better off than Liverpool, having played a game more, and are seeking their first league double in this fixture since the 2009-10 campaign.

However, Liverpool have won their past six home Premier League games against Arsenal, scoring at least three times in each game (22 goals in total).

Klopp has been impressed by the work of opposite number Mikel Arteta, but he remains hopeful his side can put on a show for their supporters at Anfield on Sunday.

"I know people ask for more time for managers, and I think Mikel deserved every minute when it wasn't going well, because they are there now," Klopp said.

"Arsenal made good transfers and are now pretty stable. They brought in super important players but not too many.

"Mikel has been building for a few years now and the outcome is pretty impressive. I don't know exactly what you can say about us at the moment, so that shows the situation. 

"It's still Anfield, we're at home, and we must show a reaction, an improvement. We have to help the boys with different things. In a home game, the crowd can be a massive boost."

Klopp is looking to win seven home league games in a row against an opponent for the first time since doing so against Werder Bremen with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

Related items

  • Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak

    Laurent Courtois has accepted that it is on him to find a winning formula as CF Montreal look to snap their winless run against Toronto FC.

    Montreal were beaten 3-1 by Columbus Crew in midweek and are now without a victory in six games in all competitions.

    That includes a three-game losing streak in MLS, leaving them 13th in the Eastern Conference, and Courtois is eager to get back on track.

    "It's up to me to find the winning formulas and discern the phases of the game," head coach Courtois said after the loss to Columbus.

    "We have to grit our teeth and find solutions. The difficult times we are going through help me identify my group. I want to know the players better. 

    "From all the negative aspects we can observe, I can identify a few individual aspects to improve the game or the team itself."

    Monreal's rivals Toronto have themselves lost back-to-back games ahead of Saturday's Canadian Classique at BMO Field.

    Nashville SC scored twice late on to snatch a 2-0 win in the Reds' most recent match, but acting head coach Jason deVos admits there can be no excuses.

    "The last ten minutes, two mistakes cost us and that's the cruelty of football sometimes - that it's a 90-minute match and you need to put in a 90-minute performance in," he said. 

    "The players are aware of that. They know where the growth areas are for us as a team."


    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi missed the loss to Nashville but will hope to start this weekend in a fixture he has fond memories of. 

    The Italian has scored in each of his two home games against Montreal, making him the third Toronto player to score in two successive home games against them after Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

    Montreal - Joel Waterman

    Montreal have conceded three or more goals five times across their 12 MLS games this season, which is tied with San Jose Earthquakes for the most in MLS.

    They quite simply need to sharpen up at the back, with Joel Waterman needing to step up and hope others around him also do so.. The centre-back led the way for interceptions (three) and clearances (four) against Columbus, yet it was still not enough.


    Montreal have won five successive matches against Toronto, following a run of neither side ever winning more than three on the spin in this fixture.

    Toronto have won seven and drawn one of their eight matches in which they have held opponents under two goals since September, while they have lost all 13 in which they have shipped two or more.

    Keeping the opposition quiet is therefore key, and this could present a chance to do just that against a Montreal side with fewer points (five) than any side in MLS since mid-March.


    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

  • Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive

    Dethroned Italian champions Napoli's hopes of playing European football next season are hanging by a thread after they played out a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A on Friday.

    Napoli took the lead in the eighth minute through defender Amir Rrahmani, who nodded home a corner by Matteo Politano.

    Cristiano Biraghi levelled for Fiorentina in the 40th minute from a free-kick, before M'Bala Nzola put the hosts in front two minutes later when he fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

    Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia responded with another stunning free-kick early in the second half to rescue a point for his team.

    Eighth-placed Fiorentina, on 54 points and with a game in hand, are five points behind Lazio in seventh.

    They can still earn a Europa League spot either by leapfrogging the Rome side or by winning the Europa Conference League final in which they face Greece's Olympiakos on May 29.

    Ninth-placed Napoli, on 52 points, still have a slim chance of making the Europa Conference League playoffs.

    Data Debrief

    Fiorentina left-back Biraghi has now scored six goals from direct free-kicks since the start of 2021-22, which is behind only James Ward-Prowse (seven) - now of West Ham and formerly of Southampton - as the most across Europe's top five leagues in that period.

    Kvaratskhelia also levelled via a direct free-kick, making this the first Serie A match in which both teams scored via that route since Fiorentina against Lazio in April 2018 (Jordan Veretout and Luis Alberto in that case).

  • Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United

    Southampton saw off West Brom 3-1 at St Mary's on Friday to set up a Championship play-off final showdown with Leeds United.

    Leeds thumped Norwich City 4-0 at Elland Road 24 hours earlier to book their place at Wembley, where Southampton now await on May 26.

    The first leg between the Saints and West Brom finished goalless - just like the other semi-final - but the home side's quality told in the end.

    Russell Martin's side dominated the first-half possession, with David Brooks going closest to scoring with a shot that hit the outside of the post.

    Southampton made the breakthrough via a powerful Will Smallbone finish four minutes into the second half after Gray Diangana lost possession.

    Darnell Furlong had a shot helped over by Alex McCarthy, while David Brooks - who assisted the opener - had a strong penalty appeal rejected.

    Southampton remained in control, though, and Adam Armstrong scored a second with a shot through Furlong's legs and past Alex Palmer.

    Armstrong's second goal arrived from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Tom Fellows fouled Ryan Manning in the box, rendering Cedric Kipre's late header a mere consolation.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.