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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Liverpool travel to Arsenal to kick-off the Festive action on Friday night and David John fancies fewer goals than may be expected.

Arsenal v Liverpool (1945 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League)

There was a huge gulf in class when this pair met on August 27 with the Gunners pilloried for an apathetic performance at Anfield as the desire and commitment of their players came under some serious scrutiny.

The Premier League wheel continues to revolve at a rate since that 4-0 humbling as just one point now separates the pair in fourth and fifth with little more than a top four spot to ponder heading into the second half of the campaign.

The likelihood of either reeling in Manchester City is slim at best but there can be little argument when comes to the quality in the final third the pair are capable of producing, particularly when they come together.

August’s showdown was the seventh occasion in their last nine meetings that supporting over three and half goals would have paid out and a first impression here would suggest a similar sort of outcome.

Timing is everything though and I am more tempted to take a punt on a slightly less frenzied outcome considering this will herald the dreaded "busy Festive period" of peace, goodwill and managers moaning about too many games over the next fortnight.

There are clear and consistent deficiencies in both defences but they will surely be on full alert in a bid to find those few extra percentile points to keep such an array of opposing attacking talent at bay.

That is probably easier to put into plan on paper than the pitch but I doubt Arsene Wenger or Jurgen Klopp will want to kick off this spell of fixtures with a physically and mentally draining shootout at the Emirates.

There is serious scope too for both to play a more cagey game when it comes to team selection.

I would expect to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain get a chance from the start though on his return to north London after Klopp stirred things up this week with a dig at his former employers over how the England midfielder was utilised.

That could mean one less available for spot for a combination of the ‘Fab Four’, Klopp seemingly not overly concerned about how he rotates his most influential attacking players in a bid to keep them sharp.

An apparent slight hamstring issue for Mo Salah picked up in the victory at Bournemouth could mean the free-scoring Egyptian gets his breather this time on the bench.

There is 15/2 available about a 1-1 draw for those looking to swell the Christmas coffers with a speculator on the correct score but I will play it safer still and suggest that a wager on under 2.5 total goals can come up trumps.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

Sky Bet are running a free-bet offer on Arsenal v Liverpool tonight
Sky Bet are running a free-bet offer on Arsenal v Liverpool tonight

Recommended bets:

2pts under 2.5 goals in Arsenal v Liverpool at 17/10

Posted at 1205 GMT on 21/12/17.

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Most Read Football

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WATCH: Neville furious with United players

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