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Arteta aims for Gunners to rise to level of Reds

Arsenal may move to strengthen their squad ahead of the transfer deadline

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ANOTHER CHANCE: Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette looks dejected after Monday’s defeat by Liverpool. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Reuters

ANOTHER CHANCE: Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette looks dejected after Monday’s defeat by Liverpool. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Reuters

Pool via REUTERS

ANOTHER CHANCE: Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette looks dejected after Monday’s defeat by Liverpool. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Reuters

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hopes his squad will head back to Anfield tonight believing they can again give Liverpool plenty to think about.

The Gunners suffered a 3-1 Premier League defeat by the Reds on Monday night, their first loss of the new campaign.

Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead midway through the first half before Liverpool hit back with quick goals from Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson, new signing Diogo Jota adding a late third.

Both managers will freshen up their team for the League Cup tie.

Arteta believes Monday night's spirited performance, albeit not the final result, will have lifted the whole group.

"I am happy that we competed throughout the game and I think there are a lot of things that we can do better - and we will do better - and that's going to help us so much in the process," Arteta said.

"We tried and they believed. That's what I asked of them before the game, to believe.

"To play here with character and to play our way and now we just accept that they were better and that they are better at the moment and that we have to improve.

"This is the level that we have to reach. We will come back on Thursday and try to win again."

Arteta acknowledged Monday night's Premier League fixture had been "physically a really demanding match", so is again set to utilise his squad for the cup tie.

Defenders Cedric Soares and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have returned to full training following their calf problems, so could feature.

Iceland goalkeeper Alex Runarsson may be in line for his debut, while Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe are all expected to feature.

Arsenal could yet make some late moves ahead of the transfer deadline.

Roma midfielder Amadou Diawara is said to be on Arteta's radar, with Lucas Torreira touted as a possible makeweight in the deal, although he has also been linked with a switch to Atletico Madrid.

Lyon's France international Houssem Aouar is another reported target, while Marseille are rumoured to be tracking Matteo Guendouzi on loan.

Meanwhile, Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders feels Thiago Alcantara's positive coronavirus test has highlighted the structure and discipline of the club's testing protocols.

The Reds announced on Tuesday that midfielder Thiago had tested positive for Covid-19 and was self-isolating.

When asked about the recent signing from Bayern Munich ahead tonight's clash with Arsenal, Lijnders said: "It shows again that health and family are the most important things in life.

"We wish him a speedy recovery, but I wish everyone who is fighting the virus at the moment a speedy recovery, and hope everything goes well."

When then asked if there was complete confidence with regard to the protocols at Liverpool, Lijnders said: "That's why it is a big compliment to our structure, first and foremost because we have testing in place by the Premier League, but we also do private testing.

"The most important thing is keeping discipline, and we are following these discipline rules, and we test immediately when something happens. It's all OK."

Another player who will not be involved tonight is skipper Jordan Henderson, who has been absent since sustaining a knock in the 2-0 win at Chelsea on September 20.

Lijnders said: "Jordan we will re-evaluate on Friday after this game to look if he is ready for (Sunday's Premier League trip to) Villa, at least to train with us."

Liverpool also have Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain unavailable due to injury, and Kostas Tsimikas is sidelined as well having picked up a thigh issue in last week's 7-2 third-round win at Lincoln.

"We thought it would settle but it didn't and he will need a few more days and the international break as well, so he will not be involved in both games," Lijnders said of Tsimikas.

Lijnders has also spoken in support of Liverpool's 19-year-old full-back Neco Williams, who reportedly received online abuse after the Lincoln match.

Lijnders said: "Neco is a doer, and doers make mistakes. Our game is based on everyone taking the initiative from each position, and that is what we want."

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