Paul Merson insists Liverpool’s clash with Arsenal is a BIGGER game for the Reds than Mikel Arteta’s side, with the Gunners putting ‘all their eggs in one basket’ to hunt for Europa League glory.
- Paul Merson says Liverpool’s game with Arsenal is bigger for the Reds
- The pair will meet on Saturday and both face unlikely chances in the top four
- Arsenal legend Merson says Liverpool must win if they want to close the gap
- The expert added that Mikel Arteta could rest players for the Europa League
- Gunners will face Slavia Prague next week in the quarter-finals of the competition
Paul Merson claims Liverpool’s clash with Arsenal is a much bigger game for Jurgen Klopp’s side than the Gunners, with Mikel Arteta’s side placing more importance on their Europa League journey.
The Reds, ravaged by injuries and a worrying dip in form, have made a weak effort to defend their Premier League crown, and are unlikely to even make it to the top four this season.
Klopp expressed serious doubts about his side’s hopes of finishing in fourth place, which would qualify them for next season’s Champions League, with the Reds currently five points behind Chelsea.
Paul Merson says Arsenal’s game with Liverpool is bigger for Jurgen Klopp’s champions
And Arsenal legend Merson insists that the result of Saturday’s match-up between the two is more important to Klopp than Arteta, as the pundit claimed the Gunners are going all-in in the Europa League instead.
Winning the European football secondary league would seal a place in the Champions League and Arsenal will face Slavia Prague next week in the quarter-finals.
“ It’s a huge game for Jurgen Klopp and his side in the race for Champions League football next season, ” said Merson. Sky Sports
Jurgen Klopp’s team travels to North London to take on the Gunners in the next round
Liverpool are five points behind Chelsea when they chase Champions League football next year
‘On the other hand, I don’t think it’s such a big game for Arsenal. They will play against Slavia Prague in the Europa League next week and it is hard to see that they have much interest in the game against Liverpool at all.
“I expect that at least five of the players who play next Thursday will not play in this game.”
Merson added that all of Arsenal’s eggs are now in the Europa League basket, with their top four chances gone.
‘All Arsenal’s eggs are now in one basket. There’s no point in beating Liverpool and then being defeated by Slavia Prague. That is of no value to them at all.
Arsenal meanwhile has set its sights on the Europa League and is in the quarterfinals
Merson has predicted that Arteta could rest ‘four or five players’ for the Liverpool visit
‘Top four is out the window in the competition. There are too many teams above them, even if they have been running a little.
“But after the quarter-final draw, they have a fantastic opportunity to do something in the Europa League.”
However, a defeat for Liverpool would put an end to their chances of qualifying for the competition through competitive position, Merson said.
‘Liverpool must win this match. They should get Champions League football for next season. If they want to have any chance, Jurgen Klopp’s side must win at the Emirates.
The Sky Sports pundit added that a defeat would end Liverpool’s hopes for a top four finish
‘I expect Chelsea will win around lunchtime on Saturday when they play against West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
‘If Liverpool don’t win by then, the gap is too big in my opinion. It can go up to eight points with eight games to play. ‘
Liverpool can of course still qualify for the Champions League if they win this season’s competition. Klopp’s team is in the quarter-finals, where they will compete against Real Madrid. Victory would take them up against Porto or Chelsea in the semifinals.