The last time Kenny Dalglish set about totally rebuilding a Liverpool side, his new charges announced themselves at the Arsenal. On the opening day of the 1987 season, a beautiful late summer's day at Highbury, in front of the biggest league attendance for nearly three years - a whopping 54,703, kids - Dalglish's big-name summer signings John Barnes and Peter Beardsley combined to set up the almost-box-fresh John Aldridge on nine minutes. Paul Davis levelled the scores on 17, before Steve Nicol settled an end-to-end game with a header from outside the box. The parallels with today aren't exact - it's not the opening day, this isn't Highbury, and nobody's expecting the title to end up at Anfield this season - but just like then, this is an unfamiliar Liverpool side that piques the interest. And just like back in those early George Graham days - a young Tony Adams at one end, Arsenal new boy Alan Smith at the other - the modern post-Cesc Gunners are in transition too. So here's hoping for another belter between two slightly uncertain teams, whichever way it goes.
Arsenal, and please put your hands together, ladies and gentlemen, for Mr Samir Nasri! Szczesny, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Sagna, Frimpong, Ramsey, Nasri, Arshavin, Walcott, van Persie.
Subs: Fabianski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Miyaichi, Lansbury, Miquel, Bendtner.
Liverpool, with Luis Suarez on the bench?! Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique, Lucas, Henderson, Adam, Downing, Kuyt, Carroll. Subs: Doni, Meireles, Suarez, Maxi, Spearing, Skrtel, Flanagan.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
Kick off: 12.45pm.
In the meantime: If you've not signed the petition yet demanding full disclosure of all government documents relating to 1989 Hillsborough disaster - something Government flunkies are outrageously opposing - please take a minute to do so. Whoever you support.
The teams are out! Arsenal are sporting their traditional red and white shirts, with their new faux-traditional crest with surrounding shrubbery. Liverpool are in their all-black away strip. "Given Wenger's record, surely the only surprise is that he hasn't made Nasri captain," quips the tinder-dry Chris Sturrock.
And we're off. Arsenal set the ball rolling. There's some atmosphere at the Emirates. Walcott goes trundling after a long ball down the right, but Jose Enrique gets his body in the way and earns the visitors a free kick. A nice understated start to the match, and no wonder: these poor sods had to play 111 minutes last time round.
2 min: Liverpool's new expansive style: Adam launches a free kick into the Arsenal area towards the head of Carroll. Hmm. "Suarez on the bench? Henderson on the pitch? And people are talking about Wenger being the one who has gone crazy?" splutters Luke Stevenson.
4 min: A minute or so's worth of pressure from Arsenal, including a couple of pretty triangles down the inside-left channel involving Nasri, and one corner on the left that comes to nothing.
5 min: A low ball into the Arsenal box from the right by Downing. Kuyt should get hold of it with a view to shooting, or help it on, or something, but he lets a dangerous ball roll under his feet and through to Szczesny, who snaffles.
6 min: Arsenal stream up the other end and win a corner down the right. The ball falls to Arshavin, free on the penalty spot, who shanks a dreadful effort away at 90 degrees. Liverpool clear. There was a half-arsed shout for a penalty as Kelly and Ramsey bustled at the near post, but nobody's heart was really in it.
7 min: This is a rare old start, with most of the attacking effort coming from the home side. Yet another corner for Arsenal, down the left, Vermaelen winning a header at the far post but only glancing it well wide right.
8 min: The youngster Frimpong - 19, he is - is booked for squaring up to Henderson over a throw-in. He's got the proper heat on! He's got the Arsenal genes, this lad, for sure.
10 min: Arsenal are looking really dangerous. Walcott tears down the right and sends a lovely low ball across the front of the six-yard box. Arshavin can't quite get there, though. Not sure where Van Persie was. Maybe he was close at hand too, so let's not jump to conclusions.
12 min: Arsenal are clearly up for this. Walcott and Arshavin both receive a lecture from the referee for their up-and-at-'em style.
14 min: This looks bad for Arsenal: Koscielny is trotting up the pitch with the ball at his feet and he suddenly pulls up, holding the small of his back. As he drops to his knees, he pounds the turf with his fist, then shakes his head. I'm not sure he'll be able to continue. He looks in a lot of pain.
15 min: Koscielny is being helped off the pitch. This is terrible to see. It's all he can do to hobble. He's in a whole world of pain. The 18-year-old Ignasi Miquel comes on for his debut.
17 min: The news is that Koscielny's back has gone into spasm.
20 min: Arsenal's strong early start has come to a juddering halt as they allow their new defender to bed in. Adam whips a cross in from the left, Carroll sending a booming header towards the top-right corner. Szczesny tips round the post brilliantly. From the corner, the ball eventually finds Kuyt on the edge of the area, but his effort is spooned well over the bar. And wide, too. "No Suarez?" begins Chris Owens? "No bloody Aquilani, either? Not even on the bench. The lad's been our best player in pre-season, bar none, and he's not even getting a look-in from the bench - that is outrageous." Yes, it does seem like a strange decision; Aquilani looked very good towards the end of the game against Valerenga.
22 min: A free kick by Adam down the left near the Arsenal box which really is best left.
23 min: It's all Liverpool at the moment, unsurprisingly so given the shock of the loss of Koscielny. Jose Enrique loops a pass down the left to send Kuyt scampering down the wing. Once he reaches the byline the Dutch striker lifts the ball back towards the penalty spot, where Henderson rushes in to guide a weak header towards the bottom-right corner. Szczesny is all over it.
26 min: Liverpool are pushing Arsenal back at the moment, swinging balls into the box from this position and that. It's not exactly like watching Barcelona, but in some ways you can't blame them, because Arsenal aren't dealing with the balls particularly well at the moment. "Suarez needs to be rested," insists Ian Copestake. "In midweek Liverpool play Exeter." They're not making him run all the way down behind the bus, are they?
28 min: Carroll is booked for crass stupidity. He's caught miles offside as he goes after a Kuyt pass, and decides to slot the ball home. It's a tidy finish, and all, but one that earns him a yellow card. Well done, Andy!
29 min: Adam, ever mindful that he's the new Xabi Alonso, attempts to score from inside his own half. It's not too far off either, sailing just over the bar. Szczesny was concerned enough to go scampering back, but he'd have had it well covered were it on target.
30 min: What a shot by Frimpong! My word. Arshavin takes a free kick on the left that can best be described as Adam-esque - i.e. not described for his own good - but once the ball's cleared, the young man sends a low fizzing shot towards the bottom-left corner from 30 yards. It's going in, and it takes a full-length Reina stretch to fingertip the ball wide. Corner's wasted, but that's a brilliant effort by Frimpong.
34 min: A lot of pointless passing at the moment. "With Vermaelen back in, AFC look much better in the back, but that does NOT detract from the gaping holes exposed last year due to lack of depth," fumes Anthony Paige, "so for Wenger to not buy reinforcements is scandalous. Every arsenal supporter knew we were one injury away from debacle in the back and this merely exposes the folly of the near total lack of attention to the defensive personnel. We are NOT going to win ANYTHING playing 17 year old reserves." In fairness, the Arsenal back line looks like settling down after that early trauma. Liverpool haven't created very much up to this point.
36 min: A brilliant run by Nasri, who sashays down the middle of the park, bodyswerves a static Agger on the edge of the area, and sends a low fizzer just wide left. His efforts are met with warm applause by the home support. There's nice.
38 min: Frimpong is playing really well here, breaking down quite a few Liverpool attacks and launching counter-initiatives. No real stand-out figure so far, though, in what's been, on balance, a poor show so far. "So let me get this straight, Andy Carroll is a 6ft-plus Geordie man with a reputation for bar fights yet he has spent the first 30 minutes falling over, getting his shirt tugged and then complaining about it?" wonders Luke Stevenson. "Looks can be deceiving apparently."
41 min: This is all pretty incoherent.
42 min: Walcott forces Jose Enrique into conceding a corner down the right. The set piece is cleared without too much fuss. This is degenerating into nonsense. "I think resting/dropping Suarez for this game is a perfectly good decision from Dalglish," opines Fraser Leggat. "With the quality they have in midfield playing 4-5-1 (especially away against Arsenal) is a pretty sensible option and Carroll is perfect in the lone forward. There are plenty of goal-scorers in Liverpool's current midfield set up and Suarez can be brought on with half an hour to go when Arsenal are tired."
44 min: Arsenal pick it up a bit. Walcott makes for the Liverpool area at pace, and he's got Arshavin in acres down the left, but doesn't see him and tries to feed Van Persie to his right instead. The pass is too heavy and though a corner's won, the chance is gone, the set piece of course coming to absolutely nothing. What a chance Walcott had there to set up the opening goal.
45 min: Lucas is booked for dragging down the excellent Frimong as he marauds down the middle. He protests his innocence, but come on. The free kick's in a dangerous position, 25 yards out in a central position, but Van Persie bangs a witless effort straight into the wall. It deflects out for a corner, but you know how these things go.
45 min: There will be three added minutes, extra-long halves being de rigueur in this fixture these days. Nasri has another pop from distance, but the ball flies miles over. Still, another warm round of applause from the home crowd. "Arsenal are ARL on the Sky Sports scoreboard," writes Simon Frank. "Is this to avoid putting the letters ARS together? Are we really at that stage?" Football fans are delicate things these days, Simon, bursting into tears at the smallest perceived slight. Sky have probably decided it's more trouble than it's worth.
HALF TIME: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool. Not much of a half of football, that. Arsene Wenger will be happy to get his men into the dressing room, in order to reorganise his defence, but he wouldn't have been panicking about it: Liverpool didn't really put the rickety back line under any pressure, one Andy Carroll header apart. Arsenal have looked the better team, with the young Emmanuel Frimpong their star man. "So was this Liverpool's good or bad half?" wonders Ian Copestake. "After 45 against Sunderland any energy Liverpool had disappeared. Perhaps this is also the thinking behind the Suarez move."
HALF-TIME ENTERTAINMENT: There is none. Instead, please take a couple of minutes to sign the e-petition demanding full disclosure of all government documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster (UK residents / nationals resident overseas only).
And we're off again! It's tipping down in north London. Fritz Walter weather, as they say in Germany. Luis Suarez weather, as they should be saying on the Liverpool bench. Adam starts the half by taking another pot at goal from the halfway line. Szczesny gathers on his line safely, and without fuss.
47 min: A lovely deep cross from Jenkinson from the right, but there's nobody in the middle to cause bother for Arsenal and Agger heads clear. "Just a note that for all Wenger's failings," begins Rob Smith, "if you need a man to find you a teenage African centre midfielder for pennies, there is only one man for the job."
48 min: Some good news for Andy Carroll: Newcastle have beaten Sunderland 1-0. Some tinnies on the train home and a couple of choruses of Blaydon Races ahoy!
50 min: Carroll, perhaps giddy at the news from the Stadium of Light, attempts to trap a ball dropping over his right shoulder. He spins around through 360 degrees while his legs occasionally flash out along the horizontal. The ball flies out of play. "Charlie Adam reminds me of a pub side player shooting from the halfway line so he doesn't have to run," notes Dan Brooke. Fair's fair, it takes quite an effort giving the ball that sort of big hoof.
52 min: Arshavin bombs down the left and cuts inside. The run looks dangerous, but a rush of blood sees him fire a low pass down the inside-left channel and into the area for nobody but Reina.
54 min: Liverpool's first passing move since God knows when. Adam powers down the middle and tries to feed Carroll down the inside-right. The pass is too heavy, but Carroll manages to cut it back for the onrushing Kelly, who hits a first-time shot just right of the goal. That was close. And better from Liverpool, who have been pretty damn poor going forward for the majority of this match, that period just after Koscielny's departure apart.
58 min: Liverpool soak up a load of Arsenal pressure, Frimpong then Nasri probing. Then Kuyt breaks down the left, but his pass forward isn't read by Jose Enrique. This is very scrappy.
61 min: This is properly poor now. Few passes are sticking. "Frimpong looks a player for sure," writes Scott Stricker. "He is just the right amount of bat-shit crazy to wake the players around him up from their slumber." This rain might do it as well, to be fair. It is pelting down.
62 min: A corner for Liverpool down the right. Carroll launches himself at it, but Szczesny is off his line quickly to punch clear with confidence. Carroll continues barrelling towards the empty net, a touching dénouement.
65 min: A couple of moments that explain a lot. Arshavin passes the ball straight out of play with no player within ten yards of him. Then Kuyt has time in the centre circle, only to stumble over the ball while standing still.
67 min: Nasri drops a shoulder and buys himself some space and time in the middle of the Liverpool half. He advances towards the area. The crowd bay for a shot, but none is forthcoming. Thirty seconds or so later, the same thing happens, but this time Adam makes a fine sliding tackle. Not much else to report.
68 min: SOMETHING HAPPENS!!! Arshavin barges Kelly off the ball to the left of the Liverpool goal. He rolls the ball to Van Persie, on the edge of the six-yard box. He should score, but shoots straight at Reina, whose luck is in as he swings a boot at the ball, sending it looping backwards and spinning wide left. Reina goes into meltdown: it's not clear whether he's berating the referee for allowing Arshavin to play on, or Kelly for allowing himself to be bullied out of it.
70 min: RED CARD!!! And suddenly it's all happening. Frimpong is sent off, a second yellow, for planting his studs on Jordan Henderson's shin. That could easily have been a straight red. Arsenal can have no complaints whatsoever.
72 min: And some reactive substitutions. Lansbury replaces Arshavin for Arsenal, while Liverpool swap Carroll and Kuyt for Meireles and Suarez.
74 min: Immediately Suarez is, much as you'd expect, in the thick of it. He scampers after a Jose Enrique pass, rolled down the inside-left channel. The striker tries to flick the ball under the advancing Szczesny, first time, but the keeper parries clear.
76 min: Another burst down the Liverpool left, this time by Downing, who hammers a rising shot from a tight angle straight at the keeper. Szczesny tips the ball over the bar. The resulting corner is a waste of everyone's time.
77 min: Vermaelen goes on a blistering run down the middle of the park, completely unchallenged, and sends a long-range shot just wide left. "I would just like to pick up on Luke Stephenson's 38th-minute comment that 'Andy Carroll is a 6ft-plus Geordie man with a reputation for bar fights yet he has spent the first 30 minutes falling over'," pipes up Mark Guthrie. "To be fair, he is currently learning his trade from Steven Gerrard who is a 6ft Scouse man with... well, you know where I'm going with this, don't you."
78 min: SLAPSTICK GOAL!!! Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool. Suarez goes causing bother in the Arsenal box down the inside-right channel. He looks to poke a shot on goal from eight yards, but Miquel gets there first and hoofs the ball back upfield. Problem is, Ramsey is standing right behind him, and the ball bangs straight off the Welsh midfielder's chest and loops into the goal. What a farce. And there's a suggestion that Suarez was just offside when the initial ball he was chasing was played. Just being enough, of course. What a supreme irritant Suarez is! (That's meant as a compliment, of course.)
80 min: Walcott is replaced by Bendtner, Arsenal's last throw of the dice.
82 min: Just seen the Suarez offside thing again. He was offside, his front foot ahead of the last man. But that was all, it was very tight. Arsenal fans are well within their rights to have the heat on, but you can see why the assistant referee gave the benefit of the doubt.
85 min: Downing is set free down the left, but there's nobody in the middle for his low, hard cross. Meanwhile Suarez, buzzing around hither and yon, is making a lot of good runs that his team-mates simply aren't spotting.
87 min: Meireles has a slash from distance, but it isn't any good. Arsenal aren't seeing much of the ball at all. "Spend some fucking money," chant the home support.
88 min: Lansbury is booked for upending Adam. Or possibly a combination of upending Adam then attempting to start a philosophical debate with the referee after the event.
90 min: GOAL! Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool. Suarez really is a sensational player. He starts a move upfield with a quick throw to Meireles down the right wing. Soon enough Lucas has the ball in the centre, just ahead of the Arsenal box. He draws the Arsenal defence out, rolls a pass wide right to Meireles, who hits a first-time ball centre for Suarez to stroke home into an empty net, Szczesny long having been drawn out of position. That was as crisp and as clean as they come.
90 min +1: There will be four added minutes of this.
90 min +2: Suarez breaks clear down the left, but can't find Meireles in the centre.
90 min +3: You'll Never Walk Alone is currently being performed as part of a mash-up with Spend Some Fucking Money.
FULL TIME: Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool. Liverpool win for the first time at the Emirates, and for the first time at Arsenal since the glory days of Titi Camara. Kenny Dalglish's decision to keep Luis Suarez in reserve now looks like a very clever move indeed: after he replaced the lumbering Andy Carroll, his presence led to the opener, then he scored the clincher. As things stand, for two hours at least, Liverpool are top of the table, with Newcastle United tucked in just behind them. Thanks for all your emails, and if you haven't yet signed the e-petition demanding full disclosure of all government documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster, please do so now.