This weekend provides an opportunity for Liverpool to make an early statement about their credentials this season.
Liverpool still hold title ambitions after season’s of failure, and Arsenal are in a similar scenario. Both clubs go into the season looking at a title, but both seem to have fragile confidence that is dented by the first bad run of form.
For that psychological reason, this weekend’s Arsenal v Liverpool game could be more important than it appears. Both teams were held to a point this weekend by teams they were expected to beat, and both teams are hoping for new signings to gel and hit form sooner rather than later.
Things looked very good for Liverpool during the first half last weekend. Livewire forward Luis Suarez won an early penalty and arguably should have got a defender sent off. Suarez even rebounded soon after missing the penalty by heading home a free kick from new signing Charlie Adam.
With powerful forward Andy Carroll causing problems and having a goal disallowed, and Stewart Downing showing an attacking spark it looked like a comfortable win was on the way.
Sadly for Anfield fans, that is not what transpired and a strong second half from visiting Sunderland earned them a deserved 1-1 draw.
So now Liverpool will travel to the Emirates now with a chance to score an important blow early in the season. The winner of this game will gain a valuable three points, stay in touch with the early form teams and score a win over a fellow contender.
However, the losing side could see an early five point deficit between them and the leaders and see the early season optimism take its first hit. Players can talk all they want about confidence, but if either of these tams lose then how much belief will they really have of setting the pace at the top of the table and staying there?
The match itself seems set up to be very entertaining. Arsenal are renowned for aesthetically pleasing football, while Liverpool have more attacking flair than they are typically given credit for.
Players like Thomas Vermaelen and Jamie Carragher will provide the defensive steel, while the like of Robin Van Persie and Luis Suarez will stretch those defensive lines to the limit.
Trophies are not handed out in the early stages of the season, but winning mentalities and habits are formed. And if Liverpool are to go the Emirates and leave Arsenal beaten, it will be a very positive sign for the remainder of the season.