Arsenal may have put out a positive update from the medical team yesterday evening but Mikel Arteta wouldn’t be drawn on the fitness of key men on the eve of his side’s trip to Liverpool.
The Spaniard is set to lead his side in a training session this afternoon before the trip to Merseyside and it sounds as though a few members of his squad still need to be assessed before decisions will be taken on whether they start the match.
First up, Arteta was quizzed on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang skipping Gabon’s second match of the Interlull and whether it was pre-agreed.
“No, it wasn’t pre-planned,” he said. “We need to test him and see how he is and make a decision.
“We have a lot of players that have been through some different games, little issues, injuries so today we have to just test everybody and see how we are to play tomorrow.
“Let’s see how everybody is, we have to see them today before assessing and making a judgement on how everybody is.”
The boss was also asked for an update on Thomas Partey. The Ghana international missed the Gunners’ 1-0 win over Watford two weeks ago and sat out two crunch games for his country, including their controversial win over South Africa that keeps them in the hunt for a place at Qatar 2022.
“He could not play for the national team, he really tried to do that because they had a massive game. He really pushed for that one but he wasn’t close enough to do that. Again, it’s something that we have to assess, since today, he’s not done enough.”
Given the magnitude of the match, we suspect/hope Arteta is indulging in a few mind games. It makes sense not to make things easy for Jurgen Klopp.