I feel a little weird about today. Last weekend before the game I was a bundle of nerves. It was the North London derby, I feared the ‘smash and grab’ from the Scum, I wondered whether the media narrative would be overflowing with joy if they beat us; it felt like there was so much riding on it. Today I don’t feel like that at all. I have a slight feeling of nervousness, but it isn’t as great as last weekend/ I might even say I’m oddly looking forward to this game.

Maybe it is because of the start of the season we have had and the fact that I suppose the pressure is off. Man City battered Southampton yesterday, Haaland scored again, they’ve now got a goal difference which is basically double ours and we all know they are going to canter to the title. But at least we had a bit of fun at the top for the first few weeks and our start to the season has put us in a position in which defeat today is not the end of the world because we’ve built up enough points that we will get to the 1oth game of the season next weekend in decent enough shape and in the mix for a top four spot.

And that’s what we need to recalibrate on in terms of expectations – the top four – because before a ball was kicked in the Premier League this season that is what we all wanted. So today represents a massive test to show how far we have come as a team and how far Mikel Arteta has developed his side, but it isn’t a game that we absolutely must win.

Liverpool however, really do need to win today and next weekend against City to have any hopes of catching them at the top of the league. I talk about our need to recalibrate on where we set our expectations, but theirs is already in place and that is second place at the absolute worst. They are – I think – still probably the second best team in the league, but their results and performances this season haven’t shown that. Last weekend they were given a bit of a schooling by Brighton and perhaps that has a few people excited about what we could do today, but I don’t see that Liverpool side showing up this afternoon. They are going to want to send a message to this young Arsenal team that they are still one of the top dogs and I’m expecting a really tough afternoon for us.

There will be goals. I think we all know that and I don’t see how we keep Liverpool out. But conversely, their defence is such that I don’t see them trying the Scum tactic of ‘rope a dope’ and trying to hit us on the counter; it’s just not their style. So the big question from an Arsenal fans perspective is whether we are going to see the best from our key attacking players. Are we going to get Gabriel Martinelli at his scintillating best? Will Gabriel Jesus be a pest for those Liverpool centre backs all afternoon? Are we going to see Bukayo Saka twisting Tsimikas inside and out on our right hand side? I hope so.

The other question is about that midfield battle. I’ve seen plenty of people talk about how that Liverpool midfield is not looking as mobile as it once was. Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho may not be getting any younger, but this is an experienced trio who have been there, seen it, done it, worn the t-shirt, had it washed a number of times, so I’m not expecting us to be able to walk through that midfield in any way, shape or form. So we’re going to need to see the best of Partey, Xhaka and Odegaard in the middle of the park if we’re going to impose our game on them. The good news is that whilst Arteta didn’t give any hints on who will be fit and playing today, we have also had no indication that any players are struggling, so I’m hoping that those three all start in our midfield and with Odegaard and Partey not having racked up major minutes in midweek against Bodo/Glimt, the hope is that they will be nice and fresh for what will be our toughest test of the season so far.

In defence I guess the only question is around Zinchenko or KT but I suspect that KT coming off in midweek means that he’ll start. Regardless of how fit Zinchenko is, that’s the right call; Zinchenko last weekend with the Scum sitting in makes sense, but up against Mo Salah we need somebody who is more secure technically and to me that means Tierney has to get the nod. He’ll need to be on it and he’ll need to be at his best because Salah ALWAYS scores against us. A bit like how last week I was saying that we start the game one down because Harry Kane always gets a penalty, I feel like the same might be true because Salah always seems to score against us. Apparently he hasn’t been banging them in much this season so that inevitably means he’s getting one today. But are we going to be able to do the business up the other end? I hope so.

I can’t really predict how it is going to go today. I have a hope that we can finally get a result against Liverpool; we’ve done it during the lockdown season but that feels like it was a win marked with an asterisk. There were loads of weird results that season and so with fans in the ground and in a game where we deserve to win by playing good football, I can’t even remember the last time we won. Hang on, I’m going to Google it….bear with….

2015. April 2015 was the last time we beat Liverpool in the Premier League with fans in the stadium. That’s seven-and-a-half years ago. That’s 14 games in the league with one win, four draws, nine defeats. That shows you just what we’re up against and just how dominant Liverpool have been. Is there going to be a changing of the guard today though? Will know soon enough.

Right, that’s me done for today, so I’m going to get myself out for a pre match run, then over to the stadium for lunch and fingers crossed that we see an Arsenal win today.

Catch you all tomorrow.