Arsenal manager Unai Emery has admitted he would rather not play Liverpool this season but maintains the Gunners will be positive when they face the European champions at Anfield.
Liverpool are on top of the two-week-old Premier League table after beating Norwich and Southampton in their opening two games, while Arsenal are second after wins over Newcastle and Burnley.
The top two meet at Anfield on Saturday, and Emery admits Jurgen Klopp’s men are formidable opponents on current form.
“For us we don’t want to play against Liverpool ever,” he joked after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Burnley,” he said.
“We’d prefer not to play against them.
“That is really our challenge, a really good test. For the supporters, for all of us, going there with six points is good.
“Really our target is to reduce the distance to Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea.
“When we play against them it is a big challenge to show how we can be. Next week is going to be a very good match.”
Liverpool thrashed Arsenal 5-1 in the same fixture last season, thanks to a Roberto Firmino hat-trick and goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
However, Emery is confident his new-look team can keep Liverpool’s dangerous front three quiet this time around.
He said: “We are going to prepare first with the adaptation to them, their gameplan and individual players and after to impose our gameplan and capacity.
“We are going to prepare both defensively and offensively.”