Digo Jota has warned his Liverpool teammates of a potential Arsenal backlash in Sunday’s heavyweight FA Cup third round tie.
The Gunners topped the Premier League table at Christmas after they escaped fortress Anfield with a creditable 1-1 draw that appeared to underline their Premier League title-winning credentials.
Instead, the fortunes of the two clubs could not have been more contrasting in the weeks that have followed, withMikel Arteta’s side having dropped to fourth place on the back of consecutive defeats against West Ham and Fulham.
Arsenal, in fairness, dominated against the Hammers but failed to find the back of the net, despite racking up over 30 shots on Alphonse Areola’s goal.
It was a different story at Craven Cottage on New Year’s Eve, however, when they failed to build on Bukayo Saka’s early goal and slumped to a damaging 2-1 loss, after which Mikel Arteta lamented his side’s worst performance of the campaign.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have surged to the summit on the back of convincing wins over Burnley and Newcastle and will travel to northLondonin confident mood, despite the absence of Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian King is set to miss the first of up to eight games while he is on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Jota is one of several players likely to be asked to assume greater responsibility in Salah’s absence and the Portugal international will hope to make a positive start in that regard against a club he has happy memories of playing against.
‘Arsenal (are) a great team, no doubt about it,’ said Jota, who has scored eight goals in 13 appearances against the Gunners in all competitions.
‘They are maybe not in the best run of form at the moment, but they are a big team and the game they played at Anfield was proof of that.
‘It doesn’t get much tougher.’
He added: ‘I think no-one really expected (Arsenal to drop points) but games in December come really quick, fast, and they are Premier League games, so it is always hard.
‘They are not in the best run of form, so maybe they look at this cup as a very important competition for them.’
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