Mikel Arteta, in a determined mood, speaks to Sky Sports. “We will try to be as competitive as we want to be ... we do not want to find any excuses ... we need to put a run together, it doesn’t matter what other teams are doing ... we know we have to win our games to achieve what we want in the Premier League ... the standards and quality Liverpool have, we have to be at our best to win the game ... there is no handbrake now, there is only seven weeks to go, we need to go for it.”

Brilliant and beloved, David Rocastle passed away 20 years ago. The anniversary of his death is being marked by Arsenal today. Seeing Liverpool are in town, let’s remember him with this lovely story from his Guardian obituary, courtesy of Brian Glanville:

Pleasant, modest and humorous, it was hard to upset him on or off the field. Alan Hansen relates that when, playing against him for Liverpool, he brought him down quite badly, Rocastle merely smiled at him and asked: “Getting old?”

Both teams are coming off the back of morale-boosting performances in the Premier League. Arsenal rebounded from three goals down to draw 3-3 at West Ham a fortnight ago, and make four changes to the team that started that match. Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe, Rob Holding and Gabriel step up; David Luiz and Bukayo Saka are injured, Granit Xhaka is ill, and Pablo Mari drops to the bench.

Liverpool, who won their last league fixture 1-0 at Wolves, make two changes to the starting XI named at Molineux. James Milner replaces Georginio Wijnaldum, while Roberto Firmino returns from injury to replace the in-form Portugal striker Diogo Jota. Wijnaldum and Jota both put in some hard yards during the World Cup qualifiers, so will presumably be more than happy to kick back on the bench.

Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Ceballos, Pepe, Odegaard, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Subs: Bellerin, Willian, Cedric, Pablo Mari, Nelson, Elneny, Nketiah, Ryan, Martinelli.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson, Thiago, Fabinho, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Subs: Wijnaldum, Keita, Adrian, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Jota, Tsimikas, Shaqiri, Rhys Williams.

Welcome to our coverage of one of the classic top-flight fixtures. Two giants of English football face off tonight, though neither are at their best right now. Liverpool’s direction of travel has been well documented, while Arsenal have spent most of the season taking one step forward and another back.

European qualification isn’t out of the question for either club yet, though it’s now or never in terms of launching a late charge up the table. Neither team has room for error, in fact both need the win, so tonight’s match is set up deliciously. Mayhem ahoy, hopefully.

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