Mark Lawrenson predicts Arsenal v Liverpool result, highlights concern without Sturridge

Mark Lawrenson

Arsenal take on Liverpool in the Premier League this afternoon.

Mark LawrensonMark Lawrenson

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Arsenal and Liverpool will draw 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

The Premier League has returned this weekend, and the biggest game of week one sees Arsenal and Liverpool meet in North London in a mouthwatering encounter – despite some big players being missing.

Arsenal won't be able to start key trio Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud having only just returned to training following their participation late into Euro 2016, whilst defenders Gabriel Paulista and Per Mertesacker will both miss out through injury.

Arsenal's Rob Holding celebrates scoring a goal v ChivasArsenal's Rob Holding could start against Liverpool

Arsene Wenger may have to reshuffle his back line with his three top centre backs all being out, meaning two of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy may start, whilst Theo Walcott is in line to start up front.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are set to be without James Milner and Daniel Sturridge, as well as summer signing Loris Karius, giving Jurgen Klopp some decisions to make.

Liverpool manager Juergen KloppLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp

With some patching up to do for both managers, this game may lose a little of it's excitement, but two teams with top four aspirations – and possibly higher – meeting on the first weekend of the season, this game is deservedly earning a big-match build-up.

Ahead of the game, pundit Mark Lawrenson has spoken to BBC Sport about the contest, and predicted a 1-1 draw between two teams, with Liverpool facing a tough start to the campaign.

Lawrenson noted that Arsenal have a lack of defenders and would likely take a point, whilst he doesn't believe that Liverpool have a consistent goalscorer without Sturridge, whose injury problems mean Roberto Firmino should lead the line against Arsenal.

Liverpool's Daniel SturridgeLiverpool's Daniel Sturridge

"Arsenal fans are already complaining about their side's lack of signings and they are currently short of fit centre-halves," said Lawrenson. "Liverpool have injury problems too, because Daniel Sturridge is recovering from a hip problem, and without him I am not sure that they have a regular goalscorer."

"Liverpool are opening the season with three away games because of the work on the main stand at Anfield. As well as Arsenal they go to Chelsea and Tottenham in the first month. Taking all of that into consideration, I think both sides would take a point here," he added.

What's your prediction for Arsenal v Liverpool?

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