At the end of August, one would have been given long odds for Arsenal having the chance to leapfrog Liverpool in the table when the two sides met in gameweek 12.
At that stage, the Gunners sat rock-bottom having lost all three of their games, conceding nine times without registering once themselves in the process, while Liverpool had taken seven points from a possible nine and conceded only once.
Fast forward to the present day and the Premier League picture has changed significantly; for Liverpool, that is largely down to a two-game winless streak before the international break, including their first defeat of the season last time out.
A 3-2 loss to West Ham United on November 7 ended their 20-game unbeaten streak in the top flight, and a 25-game undefeated run across all competitions which stretched back to April.
The 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion which preceded the West Ham defeat was also a major blow as Jurgen Klopp’s side threw away a two-goal lead, with those two results leaving the Reds now four points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
It is by no means panic stations for Klopp and co just yet – they are after all still the league’s highest scorers, while only Chelsea and Manchester City can boast better defensive records – but there have been one or two worrying signs in recent weeks, which was not the case in the earlier stages of the campaign.
An immediate return to winning ways is imperative for Liverpool then, and the fact that they have already secured top spot in a difficult Champions League group means that they can pay Saturday’s showdown their full attention, rather than having one eye on Porto’s visit on Wednesday.
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That is particularly important considering Liverpool’s growing injury concerns, which were exacerbated during the international break.
The Merseysiders do now have three home games in a row before the short trip to Goodison Park for the derby on December 1, which will come as welcome news for a team unbeaten in their last 13 games at Anfield, including nine in the Premier League.
Klopp’s men have dropped points from winning positions in their last two such matches, though – consecutive 2-2 draws with Man City and Brighton – while they have only won two of their five home league games so far this season, drawing the other three