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Nicolas Pepe to make full Arsenal debut at Liverpool

Nicolas Pepe
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Nicolas Pepe will make his first start for Arsenal ahead of this evening’s crucial showdown in the Premier League against Liverpool.

Unai Emery has pulled off a big surprise in his latest Arsenal line-up for the Liverpool match by dropping Alexandre Lacazette. The French striker, who scored against Burnley last weekend, makes way for Pepe instead.

This development will come as a great disappointment for Gunners supporters. It was no secret everybody is relishing the prospect of seeing Lacazette, Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang play together.

Unsurprisingly, Emery has opted to start Dani Ceballos again after the Real Madrid loanee’s impressive start. While Joe Willock, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Tuesday, has retained his midfield spot.

Although there’s no place for Mesut Ozil, who’s struggled with an illness recently.

”He [Ozil] needs to be fit. He is training normally with the team,” said Arsenal boss Emery on Friday.

”That is the first way to achieve that, and after that he can help us with his capacity. We will make a final decision today.”

Emery’s Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, has partnered Virgil van Dijk with Joel Matip.

Captain Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum will head the Reds midfield. While Klopp’s trusted front three Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will be tasked with breaking down the Arsenal defence.

Starting Line-Ups

Liverpool: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Subs: Milner, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Shaqiri, Origi, Kelleher.

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Papastathopoulos, Monreal, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Willock, Pepe, Aubameyang, Ceballos.

Subs: Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, Torreira, Chambers, Nelson, Martinez, Kolasinac.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 24: Liverpool warm up during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield on August 24, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)