Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey has suffered an injury setback (Picture: Getty)
Partey has been sidelined with a thigh problem since October, meaning the 30-year-old has missed Arsenal’s last 20 games in all competitions – including the side’s 1-1 draw at Anfield just before Christmas.
The Ghana international underwent surgery on his thigh after sustaining the injury in the final few moments of a training session prior to the Gunners’ Champions League clash with Sevilla.
Pictures of Partey back in training last week raised some hope that a return to first-team action could be imminent, but a recurrence of the issue has seemingly delayed the former Atletico Madrid man’s recovery.
It comes as a major blow to the north London club, with Arteta’s men heading into a crucial period in the context of this season’s title race, five points adrift of Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders.
Asked for an update on Arsenal’s injury concerns at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Arteta told reporters: Gabi [Gabriel Jesus] obviously played and trained with us the whole week.
‘With Thomas, unfortunately we had a little setback a few days ago so he’s not going to be available to be in the squad. Whether it’s a matter of days or weeks, we will see, but he had a little thing.’
The Ghana midfielder has missed 20 games for Arsenal this season (Picture: Getty)
Arteta confirmed that Partey felt discomfort in the same area of his thigh, but was unable to put a timescale on the midfielder’s possible return to the fold.
‘I’m not a doctor but I can try to explain. He felt something again in a very similar area and he wasn’t able to train for the last few days,’ the Arsenal head coach added.
Arsenal are also missing Jurrien Timber and Fabio Vieira through injury, while Mohamed Elneny remains unavailable despite Egypt’s elimination at the Africa Cup of Nations at the hands of DR Congo.
Liverpool, meanwhile, travel to north London without the injured talisman Mohamed Salah. The attacker is also expected to miss the Reds’ clash with Chelsea next Wednesday evening.
Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to north London this weekend (Picture: Getty)
Arteta is relishing the challenge of welcoming a rampant Liverpool to the Emirates and hopes the ‘positivity’ and ‘enthusiasm’ amongst Arsenal’s support – after back-to-back wins – could steer his players towards all three points on Sunday.
‘All we need to do is play like we’ve played the last two games and be more efficient in the areas that are going to decide the game,’ the Spaniard went on.
‘But I’m very excited. It’s always great to prepare a game against Liverpool.’
‘How good they are, they dominate every aspect of the game and we play at home.
‘What I sense is a real sense of positivity and enthusiasm around the place.’
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