Liverpool face a tough test in their third Premier League game of the season, welcoming arguably one of the league's most exciting teams - Arsenal. The Reds face Mikel Arteta's side twice in the space of four days, with a vast array of players expecting to be used in both games.
Arteta has impressed those in and around the league during his short time in Arsenal dugout so far . He has been credited for transforming the mentality and philosophy around the club already during his short time in-charge.
Jurgen Klopp has faced the Spaniard twice so far, with Pep Guardiola's former assistant coming out on top in both meetings. They first met in July as the Gunners were able to capitalise on Liverpool's post title hangover. In truth, Liverpool were rather poor that evening in North London; they followed their pattern of post-lockdown form.
Like numerous sides, Klopp's Liverpool were unable to recreate the impressive heights that they had produced just months before. Many questioned Liverpool's form and hunger as they slumped to three defeats during the final eight games of 'project restart', two more than they had lost in the previous 30 league matches.
The two sides locked horns again, this time in the 2020/2021 curtain raiser - the Community Shield at Wembley. Liverpool gave a much better account of themselves in the second half, with a switch from their renowned 4-3-3 to Klopp's alternative 4-2-3-1, complemented by the introduction of Takumi Minamino. Liverpool equalised late on before Rhain Brewster missed a decisive spot-kick in the shootout to give Arsenal and Areteta their second trophy in as many months.
So ahead of Monday's fixture, how does Klopp end Liverpool's barren run against the Gunners, before it gets concerning?
Change of set up: 4-2-3-1?
Klopp could spring a surprise at Anfield on Monday night with the way he sets his team up, with the Liverpool boss confirming Jordan Henderson won't be available for selection. It could be a perfect opportunity for Klopp to line up in a 4-2-3-1 - something we saw him use plenty of times during the summer months.
With Thiago Alcantara set to make his first start for his new club, he could line up alongside Naby Keita in a double pivot. Allowing the resurgent Minamino to continue his impressive form of late, either behind the striker or on the left-hand side of the three.
Klopp also confirmed that Joe Gomez and Billy Koumetio were both back in training, ending Fabinho's makeshift role as Virgil Van Dijks' partner. Depending on Gomez's match fitness, Klopp could bring him straight back in, which could prove to be a difficult test against the devesting pace and attack of Arsenal's front line.
Thiago, Thiago, Thiago
Liverpool fans are understandably excited following the former Bayern Munich man's debut at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Thiago's versatility and eye for a pass could be key for Liverpool this season.
Although Liverpool have a number of world-class midfielders, none of them do the creative side of the game and not many have the ability to make defence-splitting balls through the lines. This isn't a criticism of Klopp's side, and the reason for this is because Klopp's side possess the two most creative full backs in the world.
So as Henderson might not be able to make defence-breaking passes week-in-week-out like Kevin De Bruyne, the setup and structure of this Liverpool side allows him to cover and Trent Alexander-Arnold to act as Liverpool's very own quarterback and rack up goals and assists.
In his Premier League debut with Liverpool, Thiago completed the most passes (75) by a player who featured for 45 minutes or less since such records began.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 23, 2020
Oh how Barcelona could do with him now. 😬
The arrival of the Barcelona academy product will certainly offer this Liverpool side a different dimension in midfield and the potential for Klopp to tweak the way his midfield operate, potentially catching many opponents by surprise this season - as Pep Lijnders touched on when he spoke to the media earlier this week .
Lijnders on Thiago: "With Thiago we didn't buy a problem, we bought a solution. He will help us to stay unpredictable." #LFC— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) September 23, 2020
Maybe Liverpool had off days
Klopp is yet to defeat Arteta during his short stint in management so far, but perhaps the context of both defeats have been severely overlooked.
As mentioned previously, Liverpool faced a resurgent Arsenal in July, and the Reds wouldn't have been blamed for already being on their holidays a few weeks earlier than scheduled, as they travelled to the Emirates as the champions.
On the other side, numerous players in Arsenal's side that evening would have been playing for their futures at the club, as the summer transfer window loomed. There is no denying that Arteta has completely changed the culture at the club, something that had been a problem since the end of Arsene Wenger's tenure.
Arsenal now have the look of a side hungry to get back to where they once where. Their display at Wembley was impressive for both their work on and off the ball, followed up by the flair and style that Arteta has added to his side, with the stellar move they configured to rip through Liverpool's side before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rounded it off with an exquisite finish. The day epitomisied exactly what this new Arsenal side are about, having added the willingness, culture and mentality that has evaded Arsenal sides for the last decade.
There is no doubting that Monday's game will be a spectacular one for the neutral.