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’ in hunting Europa League glory
- Paul Merson says that Liverpool’s game with Arsenal is bigger for the Reds
- The pair meet on Saturday with both facing unlikely chances of top four
- Arsenal legend Merson says Liverpool must win if they want to close the gap
- The pundit added that Mikel Arteta could rest players for the Europa League
- Gunners face Slavia Prague in the quarter finals of the competition next week
Paul Merson claims that Liverpool’s clash with Arsenal is a far 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, blighted by injuries and a concerning dip in form, have made a feeble attempt of defending their Premier League crown, and appear unlikely to even clinch a top four spot this season.
Klopp expressed grave doubts over his side’s hopes of finishing in fourth spot, which would earn them qualification for next season’s Champions League, with the Reds currently five points adrift of Chelsea.
Paul Merson says Arsenal’s game with Liverpool as bigger for Jurgen Klopp’s champions
And Arsenal legend Merson insists that the result of Saturday’s match-up between the pair is of more importance to Klopp than Arteta, as the pundit claimed the Gunners are going all in on the Europa League instead.
Winning European football’s secondary competition would seal a place in the Champions League, and Arsenal face Slavia Prague in the quarter finals next week.
‘It’s a huge game for Jurgen Klopp and his side in the race for Champions League football next season,’ Merson told Sky Sports.
Jurgen Klopp’s side travel to north London to take on the Gunners in the next round of games
Liverpool are five points behind Chelsea as they chase Champions League football next year
‘On the other hand, I don’t think it’s as big a game for Arsenal. They play Slavia Prague next week in the Europa League and it’s hard to see them having much interest in the game against Liverpool at all.
‘I’d expect at least five of the players who are going to be playing next Thursday to not play in this game.’
Merson added that all of Arsenal’s eggs are in the Europa League basket now, with their top four chances gone.
‘All Arsenal’s eggs are in one basket now. There is no point in them beating Liverpool and then getting beat by Slavia Prague. That’s no value to them at all.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have their sights set on the Europa League and are in the quarter finals
Merson has predicted that Arteta could rest ‘four or five players’ for the visit of Liverpool
‘Top four is out of the window in the league. There are too many teams above them, even if they went on a bit of a run.
‘But after the quarter-final draw, they have a fantastic chance of doing something in the Europa League.’
Defeat for Liverpool, however, would end their chances of qualifying for the competition via league position, Merson says.
‘Liverpool have got to win this game. They have to get Champions League football for next season. If they are to have any chance, Jurgen Klopp’s side need to win at the Emirates.
The Sky Sports pundit added that a defeat would end Liverpool’s hopes of a top four finish
‘I expect Chelsea to win at lunchtime on Saturday when they play West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
‘If Liverpool don’t then win, the gap will be too big, in my opinion. It could be as wide as eight points with eight games left to play.’
Liverpool, of course, can still qualify for the Champions League if they win this season’s competition. Klopp’s side are in the quarter finals, where they will face Real Madrid. Victory would see them take on either Porto or Chelsea in the semi final.
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