Arsenal’s title hopes have been dented after William Saliba was ruled out of the side’s trip to Liverpool this weekend.
The Frenchman has been in superb form for the Gunners this season and has formed a solid partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of the side’s defence.
Saliba, though, has missed the last two matches after sustaining a back injury in the Europa League defeat to Sporting Lisbon three weeks ago.
It was hoped the international break would represent sufficient time for Saliba to recover but he’s yet to train with the first time since the incident occurred.
According to The Sun, Saliba is still struggling with the injury and that his recovery is taking far longer than expected.
Rob Holding has filled in during the last two games but Arteta was critical of his side’s defending after their victory against Palace before the international break.
Speaking ahead of last weekend’s win over Leeds, Arteta had been hopeful that Saliba would be fit to feature before the end of the season.
He said: ‘Back injuries are a bit tricky with how they evolve and the load that you put in certain areas, but he’s very positive about it.
‘The medical staff are positive about it. Let’s push it every day a little bit and see how he can cope with that, and how the pain develops as well. He’s obviously so willing to be back with the team.’
The trip to Anfield is a must-win for the Gunners, who have visits to St James’ Park and the Etihad on the horizon.
The Reds are in poor form, having lost three games on the bounce since beating Manchester United 7-0.
Jurgen Klopp’s men travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea tonight, while Arsenal have a free week.
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