Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned Nicolas Pepe that he will have to fight for his place in the team if his form does not improve.

Pepe, who joined from Lille for a reported club-record fee of £72million in the transfer window, has been criticised for a sluggish start to his Gunners career.

The 24-year-old has scored once in 10 appearances in all competitions and has only completed 90 minutes in a Premier League match on four occasions.

With youngsters such as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli having impressed in attacking roles this season, Wenger believes Pepe could start to come under pressure for a spot in Unai Emery's starting line-up.

"I like the player and I thought it was a good decision [to sign him]," Wenger told Omnisport. "He's not yet completely adapted and you have to give him some time. He looks a little bit to be playing not with the freedom he did in France at the moment.

"I see some characteristics of his game, especially off the ball, that don't happen at the moment. On the other hand, I must say we have good young players who can play on the flanks, [and] that he will have a fight to keep his position."

Arsenal have won five of their past six games in all competitions, with the 1-0 defeat of Bournemouth on Sunday lifting them to third in the Premier League after eight matches.

Wenger is keen to give successor Emery his backing as he knows all too well the demands for stylish but successful football in north London.

"I'm not here to judge coaches. I am a supporter of Arsenal Football Club, so I just support him," Wenger said. "But he can win games and he plays a type of game that I like.

"A club like Arsenal is a huge responsibility and one of those responsibilities is to play attractive football. After that, I think the most important thing is to support the team and to win games."

Despite a promising start to the season, Wenger does not think Arsenal are in a position to challenge Liverpool or Manchester City for the title.

"At the moment you can't look too much at the position because the points difference is very small," he said. "You draw, you're seventh; you win a game, you're third.

"I don't think [they can challenge for the title] at the moment on what I've seen. Liverpool are too far ahead for everybody else. Manchester City looks to have the best potential to fight against Liverpool, but as long as you are not too far away, you can hope."

Unai Emery remains convinced Nicolas Pepe will build a "big career" at Arsenal despite a string of indifferent performances in the Premier League.

French forward Pepe scored his first goal for the club in last month's win over Aston Villa, a second-half penalty at Emirates Stadium, but failed to impress in the drab 1-1 draw at Manchester United.

The 24-year-old old joined Arsenal from Lille for a reported £72million fee in August following two prolific Ligue 1 campaigns.

That form he showed in France is yet to translate to London but Emery remains firmly behind the club-record signing.

"I am sure that Pepe is an amazing player," the Gunners boss said. "I am sure he is going to have a big career here.

"He needs time but a lot of players when they came here, the first month, the first year is not easy for them.

"But I am going to work with him, to make the adaptation easier for Pepe and Dani Ceballos and other players."

Emery denied the added pressure of being the most expensive player in Arsenal's history has adversely affected the Ivory Coast international.

"The players are not thinking about the salary or what one club paid to use him," he said.

"For us, it's not thinking about pressure or no pressure. We are playing every time, as a coach or a player, under pressure. Being under pressure is because we are at a big club with a very demanding objective.

"Every player has been selected to be here and it's a privilege to be here.

"That privilege brings pressure, of course. But it’s positive. Not for the salary, not for how much the club paid for him. No, no, no."

Arsenal entertain Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday, ahead of Sunday's home meeting with Bournemouth in the Premier League.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's late free-kick handed 10-man Arsenal a 3-2 Premier League win over Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Watford last weekend and looked like they would be on the end of another disappointing result when John McGinn scored for Villa after 20 minutes.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for the hosts shortly before the break after picking up a second booking, but Nicolas Pepe's first goal for the club – from the penalty spot – pulled them level after 59 minutes.

Parity lasted for only a minute as Wesley's close-range finish restored Villa's lead, but Calum Chambers and Aubameyang struck in the final 10 minutes to move Unai Emery's side up to fourth in the Premier League.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery said Nicolas Pepe still needs to adapt to the Premier League following a slow start to life in England.

Pepe joined Arsenal in a club-record £72million transfer from Ligue 1 outfit Lille in August and the Ivory Coast forward is yet to justify his price tag.

The 24-year-old has made five Premier League appearances, starting three without scoring a goal for Arsenal, who drew 2-2 at Watford last time out.

Preparing for Sunday's clash against Aston Villa, Emery said: "He needs to adapt.

"He is playing well but progressively we know there is going to be more from him to help us and I want him to take the last step quickly in adapting for us.

"We are working with him - after training we are watching individual videos with him.

"He is playing well but also we need in our organisation to be strong with every player to improve a lot."

Arsenal surrendered a two-goal lead in their Premier League draw way to Watford before responding with a 3-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Gunners are 10th in the Premier League, already seven points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Emery, whose Arsenal finished fifth in his first season at the Emirates Stadium last term, added: "When we are winning, I stay calm, when we are losing, I stay calm.

"I want to win more than lose and really I want to be consistent in our way and in our steps ahead. We know each match is very important because we have a lot of supporters in London, England and also worldwide.

"We know our responsibility and we know we want to give them very good moments, we want to give them special moments and feel connected with us because it is not only how we can win, it is also how we can play and how we can give them our energy, our capacity, our skills and enjoy each match with us."

Arsenal also provided an update on injured forward Alexandre Lacazette, who is recovering from a left ankle problem and is likely to return in October, while Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney have stepped up their comebacks.

Mistakes from Sokratis and David Luiz saw Arsenal squander a two-goal lead as Watford earned a 2-2 draw in Quique Sanchez Flores' first game back in charge at Vicarage Road. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's deadly finishing, in the absence of the injured Alexandre Lacazette, looked to have steered Arsenal to victory after the Gabon international netted twice in 11 first-half minutes to take his tally to five in five Premier League games this season.

Unai Emery's men took the lead when Will Hughes was bundled off the ball and Aubameyang finished off a fast break with a cool finish, and the second arrived soon after courtesy of an astute Mesut Ozil throughball.

But Arsenal came under heavy pressure in the opening stages of both halves of an entertaining encounter and Watford pulled one back after a calamitous pass from Sokratis allowed Tom Cleverley a chance that he buried with aplomb.

David Luiz conceded a penalty nine minutes from time that substitute Roberto Pereyra confidently converted.

Arsenal, who came from behind to draw 2-2 with Tottenham in their last outing, are now winless in three Premier League games, while Sanchez Flores doubled Watford's points tally for the season by guiding them to a draw.

Unai Emery has handed Mesut Ozil his first Premier League start of the season as Arsenal make the short journey to Vicarage Road for their clash with Watford.

Illness has kept Ozil out of Emery's side during Arsenal's mixed start to the season, with a place among the Gunners' unused substitutes in a 2-2 draw against Tottenham the closest he has come to making an appearance.

Ozil's season was also delayed by the alleged attempted carjacking in July that left him, along with team-mate Sead Kolasinac, said to be mentally unready to join the team for the latter part of Arsenal's pre-season training.

Ozil, who has made at least 20 league starts for Arsenal in the past six seasons, was handed a place behind Emery's front two of Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against Watford, with Dani Ceballos returning to the starting line-up in place of Lucas Torreira.

Arsenal won their opening two league games of the season against Newcastle United and Burnley before suffering defeat against Liverpool and then drawing at home against Spurs.

Watford, meanwhile, have taken just one point from their opening four matches of the season.

Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen start for Tottenham in Sunday's derby clash with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

Unai Emery is also fielding a bold line-up, with Nicolas Pepe in a front three alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for the Gunners for the first time.

Eriksen started the 2-2 draw at Manchester City but has otherwise been restricted to the role of substitute amid uncertainty over his future at Spurs.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino effectively set a deadline of Saturday for any prospective Eriksen move, with Real Madrid and Barcelona said to be interested.

Defender Vertonghen has also had his future called into question as he has yet to make an appearance for Spurs this season, but he joins Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez it what appears to be a back three.

Arsenal start with a fearsome attacking front line, while Lucas Torreira is recalled to the midfield after coming off the bench during the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool last week.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe could be unleashed together against Tottenham in the north London derby.

The trio are yet to start a Premier League match as a front three since Arsenal made Pepe their club record signing, bringing the Ivory Coast forward in from Ligue 1 side Lille.

Lacazette has been battling an ankle injury and was left out of the France squad on Thursday, but Aubameyang has started the new campaign in fine form with two goals from three games.

Arsenal's attack is now arguably as strong as any in the Premier League, with Emery considering whether to choose the Spurs game for Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe to start together.

"Yes, but be calm," Emery told reporters on Thursday when asked if the trio could all be in his XI. "My decision in each moment is thinking about how we are.

"For example with Lacazette, he had a problem with his ankle. This week is the best week of the last three weeks. He’s getting better and feeling better with his ankle, it’s very positive.

"With Pepe, he came here later than the others but he is getting and feeling better in each match. Aubameyang is very important for us, he scores two goals in the first two matches, he had two or three good actions in Liverpool.

"The most important thing for me is to have chances and after with players like Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe, Micki [Henrikh Mkhitaryan], Reiss [Nelson], [Dani] Ceballos and Mesut [Ozil] we can score with different players.

"I think they can start together and they can play also during the match as all three, it depends how we decide our game plan. But I am very optimistic for that situation, but not also those three players, also Nelson, Mkhitaryan, [Joe] Willock, Ozil.

"We need to be able to make the best decisions, but above all, to have different possibilities with the players."

Spurs have stumbled at the start of the season, losing at home to Newcastle United last time out, although they claimed a battling 2-2 draw away to champions Manchester City.

"For us, to play matches like last week against Liverpool and this week against Tottenham, the two teams who played the final of the Champions League last year, is amazing," Emery added.

"I think it's the best test and every time is a good moment to play against them. Sunday, with our supporters, I think is the best moment to play and enjoy with our supporters in that match, that derby.

"I think maybe that on Sunday, that match is the best match in the world for all football supporters.

"I think it's a very, very big challenge for us and it's a very, very good moment, a good match and the possibility of winning against them on Sunday gives a chance for good success. We also remember that last year we finished behind them with only one point's difference in 38 matches.

"We are going to play against the Champions League finalists and there are a lot of positives for us, for our supporters, to enjoy that match on Sunday."

Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed successful away trips in gameweek three of the Premier League season, with the Blues turning to youth for inspiration while the champions were inspired by longstanding heroes.

A transfer ban has forced Frank Lampard to rely on a batch of talented Chelsea youngsters as he looks to make a positive start to life as a Premier League manager, and some of his hottest prospects showed more than just potential on their trip to Norwich City.

While Chelsea picked up a first league win of the season and Manchester City took three points from their trip to Bournemouth, it is Liverpool who remain the top flight's pace-setters after they brushed Arsenal aside at Anfield.

With the help of Opta's stats, take a deep dive into the weekend's biggest stories.

 

ABRAHAM AT THE DOUBLE FOR LAMPARD'S YOUNG BLUES

Lampard fielded Chelsea's youngest Premier League side for 25 years at Carrow Road, where Tammy Abraham scored twice in a 3-2 victory.

With the likes of Abraham, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic in the side, the Blues' average age was just 24 years and 208 days, making it the most youthful Chelsea team to play a Premier League game since February 1994 against Oldham (average age: 24y 190d).

Abraham, who has scored more league goals since the start of last season (28) than any other English player in the top two divisions, became the third youngest player to score a double for Chelsea in the Premier League - after Mark Nicholls in January 1998 and Eddie Newton in December 1992.

Mount also found the net, scoring for the second game running, and the last time Chelsea had two English players under the age of 21 score in the same Premier League match was back in August 1992 (Newton and Graham Stuart against Sheffield Wednesday).

SILVA SHINES ON LANDMARK APPEARANCE

Manchester City saw off Bournemouth 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium to make it nine top-flight wins out of nine in this fixture - the best 100 per cent win record by a team over an opponent in top-flight history.

Kevin De Bruyne set up the first of Sergio Aguero's two goals on the south coast to register his 50th Premier League assist in his 123rd appearance, reaching that milestone figure in fewer games than any other player in the competition's history.

Argentina international Aguero's second came 19 minutes into the second half and was his 400th career goal for club and country, with 235 of those coming for City.

The match was also a special occasion for David Silva, who marked his 400th appearance for City with a couple of assists of his own. The Spanish midfielder has assisted more than once in 14 separate Premier League games - only Ryan Giggs and Cesc Fabregas have done so more often (17 games).

Harry Wilson's sublime free-kick late in the first half to make it 2-1 saw him become the youngest player, at 22 years and 156 days, to score in his first two Premier League appearances since Anthony Martial in September 2015 (19 years, 289 days).

SALAH STILL DEADLY AS LIVERPOOL STREAK CONTINUES

Liverpool won for the 12th league game running with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal - their best streak in the Premier League and their joint-best ever in all league competition, equalling the record set under Kenny Dalglish in 1990.

Mohamed Salah scored a second-half double at Anfield and has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than he has any other side - six goals and two assists, including a goal in all four of his home games against them.

The first of Salah's goals came via the penalty spot after he was pulled back by David Luiz inside the box. Arsenal have given away eight Premier League penalties since the start of last season - only Brighton and Hove Albion with 10 have faced more.

It was a familiar story for Arsenal in many ways as they have now failed to win any of their last 23 away league games against fellow 'big six' sides, conceding 53 goals and keeping just one clean sheet during that run.

The performance of Nicolas Pepe on his full debut did give Arsenal supporters something to take away from the game, however, with the club-record signing becoming the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the Liverpool defender's last 50 league appearances.

JOELINTON HELPS MAGPIES END 'BIG SIX' HOODOO

Newcastle United got their first Premier League win under Steve Bruce thanks to Joelinton's first-half winner against Tottenham, and drew a line under a long-standing struggle on the road against the division's top sides.

Prior to Sunday's result, Newcastle had not beaten one of the Premier League's 'big six' in an away fixture since a 2-1 victory in December 2015 - also against Tottenham.

The game was disappointing for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who saw his side suffer their first league defeat of the season in his 500th match as a manager in all competitions and his first defeat against Newcastle since May 2016 (a 5-1 loss).

It was a different story for Bruce, who recorded his first away victory as a manager against Spurs in the Premier League, and became the sixth boss in the competition's history to win a match with five or more different teams after Alan Pardew (5), Harry Redknapp (5), Mark Hughes (6), Roy Hodgson (5) and Sam Allardyce (7).

Almost everything about Arsenal's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday was predictable.

It was vintage Arsenal, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Gunners made a fist of it for 41 minutes – by which point they were 3-0 down on their last visit to Anfield - yet once Liverpool were ahead through Joel Matip, it just looked a matter of how many they would score.

Ultimately the Reds made do with a comfortable two-goal cushion, with Lucas Torreira getting a late consolation after coming on as a substitute.

But Arsenal found themselves clinging on at times in the second half, with the match affirming many pre-match expectations.

 

Pepe's party tricks undermined when it mattered

No doubt supporters will have been excited by the prospect of seeing club-record signing Nicolas Pepe line up for the first time since his £72million move from Lille.

The Ivory coast international joined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack and he cannot be accused of going missing.

After all, he became the first player in 50 matches to dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the first half, before going on a brilliant run that saw him make a mockery of Andrew Robertson's attempt at defending.

However, the latter situation also presented him with a glorious chance to score in a one-on-one situation. His lack of composure was alarming for a player who scored 22 Ligue 1 goals last term, as he took his shot too early and fired straight at Adrian.

There's no doubt he has ability and some of his touches proved as much, though the performance was closer to impersonating former Gunner Gervinho, rather than the legendary Thierry Henry.

 

Arsenal's recruitment issues laid bare

It was Pepe's first Premier League start – he should improve with time.

But that does not change the perception Arsenal would have been wiser splashing £72m on other areas of the squad, rather than on an attack that already includes Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

David Luiz's hapless showing is the case in point.

The Brazilian, brought in as Laurent Koscielny's replacement, was presumably supposed to add the knowledge provided by 'experience', but signing a centre-back with his track record when trying to shore up a leaky defence is akin to using paper to cover a burst pipe.

He was all over the place at Anfield, conceding a penalty by pulling Mohamed Salah's shirt before being left for dead by the Egyptian for his second goal.

 

Aubameyang a flat-track bully?

Arsenal fans generally consider themselves lucky to have Aubameyang. After all, he has been an excellent signing in terms of his output.

However, there have certainly been doubts raised about his effectiveness against the top sides. The Gabon striker has managed just three goals in 14 games against the Premier League's so-called 'big six'.

Against the rest of the teams he has played against in the top flight, Aubameyang has netted 31 in 38 matches, averaging a goal every 94 minutes.

He threatened a few times at Anfield but was nowhere near ruthless enough, letting Adrian get away with a poor clearance when he sent a lobbed effort wide of an open goal in the first period.

He then took an age to make a decision after the break when played through on goal, allowing Joel Matip to make a last-ditch tackle. Aubameyang's blushes were spared somewhat by the flag eventually going up for offside.

 

Reds silence Gunners… Again

Perhaps most predictable of all was that Arsenal simply lost against Liverpool.

The Gunners have not won at Anfield since 2012, their barren streak including losing 4-0, 4-1 and 5-1 (twice).

Before this weekend, Arsenal had won just three games against the 'big six' under Unai Emery. While Saturday was technically an improvement on the 5-1 battering last season from Arsenal's perspective, that's hardly a ringing endorsement of the Spaniard's side.

Next up: Tottenham in the north London derby.

Arsenal's record signing Nicolas Pepe is set for his first Premier League start after being named in the team to face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.

Pepe, 24, joined the Gunners from Lille for £72million earlier this month but had been kept in reserve with coach Unai Emery only affording him a couple of substitute appearances in Arsenal's first two games.

But after catching the eye with some clever touches and flashes of excitement against Burnley, he is set to be let loose by Emery as the Premier League's top two tussle at Anfield.

Arsenal fans will have to wait to see Pepe starting alongside both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, however.

The Frenchman is benched despite scoring last time out, leaving Aubameyang to lead the line.

The only other change to the side is Granit Xhaka replacing Reiss Nelson, bolstering the midfield.

There are few surprises in the Liverpool starting XI. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who signed a new long-term contract this week – is left on the bench against his former side.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane lead the line along with Roberto Firmino, the scorer of eight goals in as many games against the Gunners.

Arsenal are aiming to claim a first Premier League win at Anfield since 2012.

Unai Emery suggested he is ready to hand record signing Nicolas Pepe a first Arsenal start in Saturday's Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The Ivory Coast forward arrived in a deal that could reach a reported €72million from Lille in the close season but has been limited to substitute appearances in wins over Newcastle United and Burnley.

Gunners boss Emery has been reluctant to thrust the 24-year-old into action due to a lack of pre-season preparation at Arsenal.

But Emery hinted a more prominent role is possible for Pepe against Liverpool as the only two teams with 100 per cent records in the Premier League face each other at Anfield.

"The most important thing is, like a person, to help him and his family to feel comfortable here. Now he is three weeks into working here with us," Emery said of Pepe. 

"He didn't do the pre-season here but he's progressively feeling better. For example, in the first match, he played 15 minutes in Newcastle, then he played 45 minutes against Burnley. 

"I think his individual performances are progressively getting better. For Saturday, he is maybe ready to have more minutes. 

"I am going to decide tomorrow, but really his progress has been positive and has been good for the team and for him. 

"The most important piece of the adaptation is to help him to feel easy and be comfortable with us."

Emery, who will also make a decision on Friday over the availability of Mesut Ozil (illness) and Granit Xhaka (leg), has led Arsenal to two opening league wins for the first time in a decade.

But in Arsenal's last visit to Anfield they were ransacked 5-1 by Jurgen Klopp's men and Emery says the test against the Reds is an opportunity for his side to show their quality.

"Each match is a big challenge and each match is for us to prepare best as possible. The idea is to continue creating in our way and style," he added. 

"We need to be strong and also we can recover some players to be fit. I think we are closer to achieving everyone being ready to play, but we need some more time. 

"For Saturday, we are in good spirits and our players are ready to play with big ambition to do something important.

"It's a big stadium with a big atmosphere and I want to play every match in our amazing stadium with our amazing supporters in our home. 

"It's going to be a different game to Burnley because the team is different. They are going to demand different tactical issues, but we want to play and show how we are now. 

"It's a big test to show their capacity and our capacity."

The Premier League's top two in this embryonic 2019-20 season go head to head on Saturday as Liverpool host Arsenal.

The two sides took contrasting approaches to the transfer window, with European champions Liverpool largely setting for the same squad again, as Arsenal splashed out on Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz.

But both tactics have been rewarded with early season results, meaning the division's only remaining 100 per cent records are on the line at Anfield.

At least one of those winning starts will end and, with the help of Opta data, we take a look at the intriguing contest ahead.

 

CAN ARSENAL BREACH FORTRESS ANFIELD?

Arsenal will have their work cut out if they are to end a miserable run of six Premier League games without victory at Anfield, a stadium where they have lost 13 times in the competition - second only to Manchester United's Old Trafford.

That stretch of six matches has also seen the Gunners concede at least two goals per game and a concerning 22 in total.

Liverpool are not in the business of dropping points at home and, in fact, they are unbeaten in 41 matches there. Only Chelsea's sensational 86-match streak, that ended in October 2008, can top that.

Far from flat-track bullies, the Reds' form is dominant against the recognised 'top six', too, against whom they are unbeaten in 18 at Anfield, winning 10.

Last season's 5-1 win for Liverpool in this fixture provides a reminder of just how badly things could go wrong for Arsenal.

 

HEAD TO HEAD: MOHAMED SALAH V NICOLAS PEPE

Mohamed Salah scored in that demolition and will aim to star again on Saturday. In the visiting dressing room, Pepe will hope to echo the Egyptian's impact following a club-record transfer.

Pepe's statistics in his final season with Lille were similarly outstanding to Salah's in the last campaign at Roma that saw him earn the Liverpool move.

Salah had 15 goals and 11 assists for 26 in total or one every 95.6 minutes. Pepe, meanwhile, scored an impressive 22 and also laid on 11, with his 33 goal involvements occurring every 100.8 minutes.

There were comparisons to be drawn between their styles, yet Pepe perhaps surprisingly attempted more dribbles (213 versus 70) and won more fouls (108 versus 26) than Salah, who is renowned in the Premier League for his close control and ability to draw challenges.

Arsenal will hope Pepe can translate his form to English football with the same success.

 

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool's home record might worry Pepe and Arsenal, but their outstanding form is not confined to Anfield. The Reds are enjoying a club-record Premier League run of victories (11 matches), and another win on Saturday would see them tie their all-time league streak of 12.

Arsenal will surely have to stop Klopp's attack to get a result.

The last time Liverpool dropped points in the Premier League was a goalless draw against Everton in March. The same result against fellow rivals Manchester United a week earlier was the only other time in 32 league games they have failed to score.

Arsenal - on a three-match top-flight winning run - have not won four on the bounce in almost a year, while victory would also see the Gunners triumph in the first three games of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 2004-05, when they were last defending champions.

 

HISTORY SAYS...

Expect goals! Clashes between Liverpool and Arsenal have had 155 - more than any other Premier League fixture.

While Salah is a threat, Roberto Firmino will hope to be in the mix again, too, as the Brazilian has seven goals in four games in this fixture at Anfield.

Where Liverpool's front men could be backed to fire, though, the same might not be true of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He has scored just three goals in 13 games against 'top six' opposition, compared to 31 in 38 against the rest of the league.

Liverpool will certainly be favourites - unbeaten in eight against Arsenal, their best such run since February 2000 - and Klopp has never lost to the Gunners.

David Luiz will make his Arsenal debut against Burnley on Saturday, but Nicolas Pepe has been kept waiting for a first Premier League start.

A deadline-day signing from Chelsea, the experienced David Luiz joins Dani Ceballos and Alexandre Lacazette in the XI as Unai Emery makes three changes to the team that won 1-0 at Newcastle United.

Lacazette was an unused substitute in that match and Spanish midfielder Ceballos appeared in the second half following his loan move from Real Madrid.

Pepe, a club-record signing from Lille, could feature off the bench for the second week running as Granit Xhaka drops out of the squad due to back and leg bruising.

Mesut Ozil is missing as a result of illness earlier in the week, but Sead Kolasinac is back in the matchday fold.

At his pre-match news conference, head coach Emery stated both players were mentally ready to return to action after being given time off due to concerns over their safety.

Ozil and Kolasinac were victims of an apparent attempted carjacking in July and missed last weekend's season-opening victory.

Calum Chambers and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, starters at St James' Park, are relegated to the bench.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said the Premier League's Golden Boot is already on his mind after scoring Arsenal's goal in their 1-0 opening-day victory over Newcastle United.

The 30-year-old striker shared last season's top-scorer award with Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, the latter opening his account for the new campaign in the Reds' 4-1 win over Norwich City on Friday.

At St James' Park on Sunday, Aubameyang was the beneficiary of a mix-up in the Newcastle defence.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles pounced on Fabian Schar's pass before Jetro Willems could react, then crossed to the Gabon international who flicked the ball past Martin Dubravka and into the net.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, Aubameyang's clinical finishing made the difference and he admitted he went into the game with high hopes for the season.

Asked whether the Golden Boot is a target this season, Aubameyang said: "Of course it is in the mind of a striker but first of all the team is the most important.

"I'm really pleased the goal helped us win the game."

Arsenal boss Unai Emery started the game with Alexandre Lacazette on the bench along with new signing Nicolas Pepe, who came on as a second-half substitute once the Gunners were ahead.

Newcastle improved with the introduction of Allan Saint-Maximin off the bench but, like Arsenal, mustered just two shots on target all afternoon.

Aubameyang said he felt Arsenal deserved all three points after they banished the memory of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on the opening day of 2018-19.

He said: "We fought today a lot. It was a great game against a good team.

"It was important to start with a win, last season we started bad, so we are happy.

"It is always positive for all the squad to win the first game, everyone is happy to get three points and we're looking forward to winning more games."

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