Mesut Ozil Arsenal
Mesut Ozil has given a huge boost to Arsenal since signing for the club in the summerReuters
Mesut Ozil will be key to Arsenal's fortunes against Liverpool. Reuters
Mesut Ozil will be key to Arsenal's fortunes against Liverpool. Reuters

Ever since the start of the season, with Arsenal and Liverpool going on a great run in the English Premier League, the same question has been asked time and again: Are Arsenal and Liverpool really title contenders?

Well, the answer to that, to some effect, could be given on Saturday night when the two sides, in prime form at the top of the table, meet at the Emirates.

Arsenal, with 22 points from 11 games, have been the best side in the Premier League so far. So pleasing on the eye, with Mesut Ozil adding that stardust which has been missing for a few years.

However, they have been put to the test quite a bit in the last couple of games, and the results at home have not been great, albeit not in the Premier League.

Borussia Dortmund came and conquered the Gunners at the Emirates, although the home side's performance was not a worry. Then, after Arsenal fought their way past Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last weekend, they were easily beaten by Chelsea in the League Cup - now that performance was nothing to write home about.

So, that's two games that Arsenal have lost at home against quality opposition. Arsene Wenger will be desperate not to make it three when Liverpool, two points behind the Gunners, visit on Saturday.

"I don't think we are vulnerable [at home]," Wenger insisted. "Against Dortmund, [Wojciech] Szczesny had zero saves to make and against Villa [the opening game of the season] if you look at the game again it was a little bit special.

"The other night [against Chelsea] we gave an early goal chance and basically gave the game away, maybe because we wanted so much to win and we were a little bit impatient. We have to be calm and play like we do when we're away.

"It was a very tight game. When you look at it again there were very few chances created by both sides but we made a mistake at the back. On the night we didn't create enough goalscoring opportunities up front."

Defensive mistakes, indeed, have been the primary reason behind those two high-profile losses, and if Arsenal do not cut down their errors at the back, they will fall to quality sides time and again. There is no better team equipped, at the moment, than Liverpool, clearly benifitting from the fact that they play only one game a week, to gun down Arsenal off the slightest of mistakes.

In Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge they have the "SAS" partnership - undoubtedly the best one-two forward punch in the Premier League at the moment.

If Arsenal allow the two to set the Emirates alight, then a Wenger prowling along the touchline waving his arms in the air and looking unhappy with life will be as visible as a giant black rock on a snowy field.

Team News: Arsenal vice-captain Mikel Arteta returns from a one-match suspension following his sending off against Crystal Palace, but the likes of Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo and Lukas Podolski remain sidelined. Mathieu Flamini, so important for Arsenal this season, also misses out, but could be back for next weekend's game against Manchester United.

Liverpool welcome back Philippe Coutinho from a long-term shoulder injury, but Luis Enrique could miss the game with a knee problem.

Key men: Arsenal: Mesut Ozil has not sparkled off late as he did in his first few games, and the Germany midfielder will be needed to step up to that world-class level against Liverpool.

Liverpool: The "SAS" partnership has been thriving like no other, and Suarez and Sturridge will look to add to their already considerable goal and assist tally.

Where to watch

The game is scheduled for an 11 pm IST start with live coverage on ESPN and ESPN HD. You can also catch the match live online by clicking the official link HERE. 

Expected lineups: Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Wilshere, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.

Liverpool: Mignolet; Toure, Skrtel, Sakho; Johnson, Gerrard, Henderson, Lucas, Cissokho; Sturridge, Suarez.

Prediction: 2-1 to Arsenal