Welcome to the jungle! Mikel Arteta raring to go back to Anfield 18 months after 4-0 humiliation

Welcome to the jungle! Mikel Arteta is eager to return to the kettle at Anfield, 18 months after his biggest boss humiliation during his latest visit to Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool

  • Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to embrace the moment they visit Liverpool
  • The Gunners lost 4-0 at Anfield last season, despite Arteta’s tactics
  • Arteta believes his side should ‘go for it’ when they take on Jurgen Klopp’s Reds

Mikel Arteta has urged his Arsenal players to embrace the moment and ‘go for it’ as they take their title fight to the ‘jungle’ of Anfield.

The leader can take another huge step towards glory with a victory over Liverpool on Sunday. Arteta insists his side now have the faith to win the title, but first they must put an end to another hoodoo and secure a first victory in 11 years at Anfield.

Last season, the Spaniard prepared his players for the famous atmosphere on the field by blasting You’ll Never Walk Alone from the speakers during training. They were then battered 4-0, leading to mockery of Arteta’s wayward methods.

But he defended himself on Friday, saying: “You can’t train the players in the zoo and then go to the jungle on Sunday. It’s impossible.’

When it was suggested that the manager might be causing problems in his players’ minds, he explained: “If you just want to isolate a context that’s about an atmosphere you’re going to live in, then they shouldn’t be shooting on target.

Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to ‘go for it’ when they visit Anfield in their title chase

The Gunners were beaten 4-0 at Liverpool last season, despite Arteta's unusual tactics

The Gunners were beaten 4-0 at Liverpool last season, despite Arteta’s unusual tactics

Arteta takes on Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool at Anfield, where the hosts dominated the meetings

Arteta takes on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield, where the hosts dominated the meetings

“Because if they have to shoot on target on Sunday, don’t shoot on target on Thursday in case you miss. You have to prepare the players, you have to tell them what to expect and you have to acknowledge that.”

He added to the criticism that followed: ‘It’s incredible when you win. If you lose, it’s terrible. If we play with a back six tomorrow, if we win: “Magician”. If not, it’s, “What the hell are you doing? Why did you change things?”‘

Arteta has been in Arsenal’s midfield when they last won a Premier League game at Anfield in 2012. They have taken just two points from their last nine visits and since Jurgen Klopp took charge eight years ago, the aggregate score has stood at Merseyside: Liverpool 25 Arsenal 7. But Arteta says his side should enjoy the challenge ahead.

“We have to enjoy it and we have to really embrace the moment and go for it,” he said. “We know we’re facing a big challenge, but it’s a big opportunity to go to Anfield and do something we haven’t done in years and that’s what drives the team.

‘We are capable of it. We know we have to be at our very best to win – definitely better than last year.’

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