According to Goal, Mesut Özil will be unavailable for Arsenal when the Gunners travel to Anfield to play Liverpool this evening.
The latest top-four showdown will take place at Anfield with Liverpool hosting Arsenal tonight in the 5:30 PM kickoff. Depending on how you look at it, fortune might be against the Reds with Mesut Özil set to miss the clash.
Özil is a great player. He was superb last season for Arsenal, coming so close to beating Thierry Henry’s Premier League assist record. This season, however, he has been quite poor. The German came in for criticism for his display in Bayern Munich’s 5-1 drubbing of the Gunners at the Allianz Arena two weeks ago.
While no goalkeeper was ever going to stop Arjen Robben’s bullet shot into the top corner, it was Özil’s lazy, spectator-like defending which earned him a lambasting on social media and from pundits commenting on the game.
The fact that Özil isn’t playing today could be construed as a negative thing as his lacklustre defending would’ve been something Jürgen Klopp and co. would’ve looked to exploit. If you cast your mind back to the 2013/14 season, when Liverpool obliterated Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield, Özil was shocking and constantly gave the ball up in midfield.
So, unfortunately, he won’t be playing this evening as Goal ‘understand’ that he has been advised to rest up and recover from a bout of flu in time to play the return leg against Bayern Munich at the Emirates.
Liverpool need three points more than anyone in the top six, as both Arsenal and Manchester United have a game in hand on the Merseysiders. Anything less than a win would be damning as far as Champions League qualification is concerned as it will be almost impossible to catch up the teams above with the form Liverpool are in.