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Gerrard in and Wilshere out of combo Arsenal and Liverpool XI

| 02.02.2013

Steven Gerrard may have had his fair share of injury problems in recent seasons and he may not quite be the box-to-box midfield dynamo of old, but he will remain an important cog in the Liverpool side that travels to Arsenal next in the Premier League.

Liverpool are 21/10 to repeat their success at the Emirates from last season and based on our preferred starting XI taking the squads of both teams into consideration, this is a great price.

Seven of the Liverpool squad make our starting line-up with Gerrard tasked with the role of bossing the midfield and making a difference at both ends of the pitch.

This is arguably the most controversial selection in the team, especially as it means that there is no place for Jack Wilshere.

Gerrard showed in his second-half cameo with Oldham the difference he can make, with Brendan Rodgers’ team looking deciding flat up until this point.

He could have had a hat-trick, his passing was more incisive than that of anyone else and he generally carried the Liverpool onslaught towards the opposition.

Wilshere has the ability to perform a similar role at Arsenal, but he is arguably more of a ball carrier than Gerrard and a passer more of the continental mould, keeping possession perhaps more than looking for the killer ball.

Gerrard is also the stronger in the tackle and the better finisher and the fact he is more of the finished article wins him the nod.

The other big decision came in defence and whether any of the Arsenal rearguard were worthy of a place.

In the end we decided that Per Mertesacker did warrant a spot, given that the Gunners are yet to keep a clean sheet without him this season, while keeping nine with him in the side.

With Daniel Agger better in possession and more of a natural on the left side of the defence, he bests teammate Martin Skrtel.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.