Vital Liverpool and former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson both look ahead to the FA Cup tie between Arsenal and Liverpool and attempt to predict the result…
Liverpool’s travel to familiar foes Arsenal in the FA Cup Fifth Round on Sunday afternoon.
The two sides met previously just a week ago with the Merseysiders thumping the Gunners 5-1 in a memorable Premier League fixture at Anfield.
Liverpool faired less well on their most recent trip to The Emirates though; being defeated 2-0 back in November.
The hosts have also conceded just the one goal in their last 12 home matches so there is little expectation for another easy Reds win.
Mark Lawrenson’s Prediction
Writing in his weekly ‘Lawro Predicts’ feature for the BBC, former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson sees his old side edging the contest.
Here’s what he had to say in full…
“I will be very interested to see Arsene Wenger’s starting XI for this tie because the Gunners play Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday and that game will be on his mind.
“It has been a difficult week for Arsenal, starting with their heavy defeat at Anfield last Saturday. Gunners striker Olivier Giroud, for one, looked to me like he was running on empty in their 0-0 draw against Manchester United on Wednesday and I will be very surprised if he plays.
“Liverpool, meanwhile, have got a clear week ahead and I think they will arrive at Emirates Stadium at full strength thinking ‘let’s go for this’. They have to be. Even if they get a replay, then so what?
“They do not have the fixture congestion of the teams who are in Europe and, far more than say Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City, they should be saying now ‘we want to win the FA Cup’ because doing that does not actually translate into that many extra games.
“As far as this game goes, Arsenal’s biggest problem is there is little pace in their team. Giroud is not quick and there is nobody running beyond him and behind the opposition defence.
“Wenger will probably make wholesale changes and Liverpool are in the sort of mood to make the most of it.”
Lawro’s prediction: 1-2
Vital Liverpool’s Prediction
As Lawro alludes to, a lot is likely to depend on Arsenal, the players they select and their mindset.
Generally the FA Cup is seen as a lesser competition these days, especially when compared to the league and Champions League, but Wenger doesn’t exactly have a deep squad from which to rotate.
In recent weeks the likes of Giroud and Mesut Ozil have looked in desperate need of a rest and this is possibly the game they will get it but unfortunately for Arsenal their replacements will not be of the same quality and that could be decisive.
Liverpool will be full of confidence after back-to-back victories and further boosted by the return of Daniel Agger to help shore up an inconsistent and error-prone defence.
The Emirates is a difficult place to go though and I certainly don’t envisage us dominating the game or creating the abundance of chances we did last weekend.
I’d settle for a replay and believe we will get one.
Our prediction: 1-1
So that’s what we think, how about you? Let us know your thoughts on the game below or vote in our poll to the right…
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