Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield could go a long way towards shaping the respective seasons of two Premier League heavyweights.
Victory for the hosts will help to rebuild dented confidence and have them believing that a top-four challenge can be mounted.
Defeat for the Reds will leave them in the bottom half of the table and raise a number of uncomfortable questions for Brendan Rodgers heading into the New Year.
Arsenal will travel to Merseyside determined to ensure that pressure is piled on a rival boss, with Arsene Wenger seeking to answer a few critics of his own.
The Gunners have endured their fair share of inconsistencies this season, and sit 13 points off the pace in the title race as a result.
Wojciech Szczesny is refusing to write them off in the battle for top-flight supremacy, though, with it possible that victory over Liverpool – which would help to make amends for last season’s 5-1 mauling – will spark a surge up the standings.
He told Sky Sports: “You want back to give something back to the fans. They travel a long way and you never want them to come back feeling like they did last year.
“We’re lower in the table than we want to be, so we want to look up and catch up to the likes of Man City, Man United and hopefully Chelsea. We want to challenge them and this will be another big step and another important three points.”
Arsenal are five points off the top four at present, and breaking into that pack remains the priority for all concerned.
Bridging the gap to capital rivals Chelsea at the summit may be a little ambitious, with a remarkable run of results required.
The Gunners have a history of finishing strongly, though, and they will feel that the anxiety of others could work in their favour if they can close to within touching distance of the title-chasers.