Howdy peeps and welcome to Thursday. The countdown is on and we’re just a couple of days away until arguably the toughest away fixture of the season right now: Liverpool away. Under normal circumstances you might think that it would be Man City away, but their form this season is such that you just don’t know right now, although when we play them well in to next year you know they’ll be on top form and probably with De Bruyne firing on all cylinders too. But as it stands Liverpool are second in the league, one point behind us, have an almost perfect record at home (barring last weekend’s snooze-fest against United) and they seem to always beat us or at least not lose at home when we go to Anfield.

We got chatting about the game on last night’s Same Old Arsenal podcast and I have to say I started to get cause for optimism; a fools errand, I know. But talking about their atmosphere and how it isn’t all that was interesting, because no sooner had we finished the show, than Klopp himself was bemoaning the lack of atmosphere for the West Ham game in which they trounced the Hammers last night. Say what you want about Klopp – and he is a rather irritating and moany manager – but he knows all about the mind games and tactics to get those ‘marginal gains’ that teams strive for in elite sport. Klopp knows that we are a good team. He knows we’ve had a week to prepare. He knows that two season’s ago we frustrated them until Arteta had a bust up with him and that helped to wake the crowd up, then last season when Xhaka got in to a minor spat with Trent, it also woke the crowd up. He even made reference to the Arteta argument a couple of season’s ago so he knows exactly what he was doing last night; he was preparing his supporters. His post match press conference last night was designed to add some spice to this tie and I tell you this for free right now – I bet if he gets the chance he’s going to be having a pop at Arteta or Arsenal players if they are not winning at any stage deep in to the game on Saturday night.

That’s fair enough I guess; they are at home and if their fans need a little gee up then why would you not do it, if you had the chance? It’s kind of the player equivalent of Zinchenko or Odegaard raising their hands like they do at the Emirates to get the crowd going and when they do it at our home, it does raise the crowd noise level a bit. So Klopp is simply trying to stoke the fire ahead of a massive clash on Saturday.

Here’s the good news though, which is something Jordan said on the pod last night: A loss isn’t terminal in the context of the season. If we lost then we’re two points behind them, but we still have the home game to come and two points is more than easy enough to make up ground on, which when I thought about it last night made me feel a little less nervous about the end result on Saturday. Because if I’m honest – and I always am on my own blog channel – I don’t think we’re coming away from Anfield with anything. That ground is cursed for us and has been for over a decade. I don’t see it changing any time soon but I’ll hold off on my thoughts and reasonings behind that until we get closer to the game. Instead, I’ll focus on Klopp’s words last night and see it as a comforter for us; if the Liverpool manager has to employ these tactics to try to get his fans up for it and probably his players too, then it shows a level of respect of our team that we certainly haven’t had going up there in recent seasons. The know we’re a good side, they know we are competing with them, so they’re now trying to gain themselves any advantage possible as a result, which I have no problem with whatsoever.

If Arteta wants to gee his players up – not that I think he needs to – he need look no further than wheel out most of the ex-players’ views on this game and our title chances. At the beginning of the week we had Mourinho trying to banter us off by giving us a zero percent chance of winning the league, John Barnes has told the Anfield Wrap that he doesn’t fear us (even if he did admit that it’s the closest he’s felt to being worried because of Declan Rice and our increased physicality as a team), then I’ve just seen some chuntering on from William Gallas about agreeing with Mourinho. I’m not even going to bother clicking the link; it’s giving undeserved clicks to a man who was one of the biggest bottlers in our history when he had a tantrum on the pitch at Birmingham.

Let them all talk. Arteta just needs to keep his players focused and try to replicate the blueprint that was created from last Sunday at home to Brighton, because we were superb that day and as I said on the pod last night and in my blog from earlier in the week, it felt like Arteta’s perfect football match; we gave little away, we took our chances, we did the job at both ends of the pitch. It won’t be as easy at all to do the same on Saturday, but we’re in a good position to go in to the game with confidence. Just please, Mikel, none of the ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ loudspeaker stuff in training this week, yeah?

That’s it from me today. Back tomorrow with more nervous ramblings (even though I said I was less nervous after last night – it’ll start coming back in spades over the next 48 hours!).