Mikel Arteta hints at William Saliba return for Arsenal against Liverpool and issues Bukayo Saka update
- Holding started Arsenal's last two league games
- Saliba had been ever present before injury
- Arsenal not won at Anfield in league since 2012
WHAT HAPPENED? The Gunners defender has missed the past two games due to a back injury he sustained while playing against Sporting CP in the Europa League.
But Arteta appeared to suggest that the centre-back had a chance of being involved at Anfield this weekend, when asked about the latest Arsenal team news during his pre-match press conferences on Friday.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “No real changes with the rest of the players that were still injured," the Arsenal boss said. "We have some hope with one of them who will maybe be able to train but we'll see.” When asked if Saka was fully over the sickness bug that saw him start on the bench against Leeds, Arteta added: "Yes, he is."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Although Arteta did not name Saliba when discussing the player who could return, it’s unlikely that it could be anyone else, given the nature of the injuries that his other currently absent stars are having to deal with.
Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny are both known to be out for the rest of the season and while Eddie Nketiah is progressing well with his ankle injury issue, the striker is not thought to be in contention to return as soon as the Liverpool game on Sunday.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Speaking last week about Saliba, Arteta revealed he was confident the defender would be able to play again before the end of the season. “I am very hopeful and he is as well,” said the Arsenal boss. “Back injuries are a bit tricky and how they evolve with the load that you put in certain areas. Let's push it and see how he copes with that. He's so willing to be back in the team."
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WHAT'S NEXT? The Gunners travel to take on Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday looking to maintain their advantage over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.