Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe remain doubts for their Premier League match against Liverpool on Saturday.
Saka was forced to withdraw from England’s three World Cup qualifiers with a hamstring strain and remained at Arsenal over the international break, while Smith Rowe missed England U21’s match against Croatia on Wednesday due to injury.
When asked about Saka’s fitness, Arteta said: “He hasn’t trained with the team yet. He’s been doing some individual work. We had to pull him out of the England squad unfortunately.
“He’s feeling better, but he hasn’t trained with the team yet.”
The Arsenal manager sounded more optimistic when asked about Smith Rowe’s availability, however, with the 20-year-old’s hip set to be assessed by the club on Thursday.
“He had discomfort with his hip and that’s why [England] decided to keep him out,” Arteta said. We will see today how he is when we will speak with the doctors and the physios, and we will see if he is available for training tomorrow.”
Arsenal face Liverpool at the Emirates on Saturday night before taking on Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, with the Arsenal manager admitting his side must beat the Premier League champions and go on a winning run to finish the season.
“For me the priority [this week] is Liverpool,” Arteta said. “We know that if we want to climb up the table and have a chance to be in Europe next season through the Premier League we will need a consistent run in the last nine games [of the season].
“We need to get a run of winning matches and the only way to do that by starting against Liverpool, we do not have any margin [for error] and we have to win the game.
“I’m not the one to analyse what’s going wrong for [Liverpool this season]. I can talk about what they’ve done and what they are still producing, I’ve seen a lot of their games and the stats will support that. They are, if not the best, the second best team in almost every department that us coaches analyse. ”
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