Makeshift backline for Reds’ visit

Arsene Wenger has defensive problems with Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny all missing Sunday’s opener against Liverpool.

Arsenal: Makeshift backline for Reds' visitArsenal: Makeshift backline for Reds' visit

Mertesacker (knee) and Gabriel (ankle) are out long term while Koscielny has not played in pre-season, after reaching the final of Euro 2016 with France, and is unlikely to return before the end of the month.

Wenger has confirmed Gabriel faces six to eight weeks out but he will now not require an operation while Mertesacker’s time-frame on the sidelines remains around four months.

Due to the injuries, summer signing from Bolton, Rob Holding, is expected to be thrust into Premier League action sooner than Wenger may have liked and he’s set to be partnered by Callum Chambers in an inexperienced central defensive pairing.

Wenger has confirmed he hopes to strengthen his squad and a deal for Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi is in the pipeline, but he’s confident Holding can handle the occasion if he faces Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Wenger said: “He has played in the Championship so that is a good experience, to deal with one level higher.”

Olivier Giroud is also set to sit Sunday’s clash out after his summer exertions with France while Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson (both knee) are also sidelined.

Provisional Squad: Cech, Ospina, Debuchy, Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, Gibbs, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Xhaka, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Akpom.

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