Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirms integral duo in doubt for Liverpool clash

Klopp delivers team news for Liverpool's match with Arsenal

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is sweating on the fitness of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey ahead of the trip to Liverpool this weekend. The Spaniard was hoping the pair’s fitness would show signs of improvement in the team’s final training session on Friday before heading north to Merseyside.

Arsenal travel to Anfield full of confidence and they are currently the Premier League’s most in-form side having not tasted defeat since back in August.

The Gunners lost their opening three matches but have won six of their last eight games as they set their sights on a top-four finish.

It could be argued that the Gunners are playing Liverpool at the perfect time after Jurgen Klopp’s side were beaten last time out at West Ham before the international break.

They will be without a number of key players on Saturday with Andy Robertson, Roberto Firmino and James Milner among those absent.

But Arsenal are also potentially facing injury problems of their own as Arteta waits to discover whether Aubameyang and Partey will be available.

“No it wasn’t pre-planned [for Auba to fly home early], we have to assess him and see how he is and make a decision,” Arteta said.

“Same again [for Partey], he could not play for the national team, he really tried to do that because they had a massive game and he really pushed for that one, but he wasn’t close enough to do that.

“Again, it’s something we have to assess today.”

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Aubameyang flew to Egypt with the Gabon squad for their final World Cup qualifier but instead of playing in the match, he jetted home on a private charter flight.

Arteta has now confirmed that there was no pre-planned agreement and Aubameyang had instead picked up a problem.

Meanwhile, Partey was forced to sit out of Ghana’s final World Cup qualifier against South Africa with a groin injury.

The same problem had kept the former Atletico Madrid man out of the Gunners’ home win over Watford before the international break.

Arsenal’s resurgence this season has come as no surprise to Klopp, who knows his Liverpool side will need to be back to their best to beat the Gunners.

“I’m not surprised,” said Klopp. “A season starts and the winner of the first matchday – if you win 4-0 – gets asked, ‘Can you win the league?’, if you lose the first game then you are directly in the relegation battle.

“Obviously, with the quality of Arsenal, there was never a chance that they stayed where they were at the beginning of the season so it was always clear they would come back.

“The way they came back is not normal because they have since then had an incredible run of results and they are good.”

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