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Morning Mix: Arsenal midfielder has the chance to silence the doubters at Liverpool

Friday is upon us once again which means it is time for ‘Morning Mix’ – our weekly football column with a bit of music thrown in for good measure.

We look at a major talking point for the weekend ahead and point you in the direction of some of the best football stories elsewhere on the internet.

We also offer a top tune recommendation to get you in the mood for the weekend and what to watch out for over the coming days. Let’s get the ball rolling!

Rice needs to produce the goods at Liverpool

Plenty of people have been willing to blow smoke up Declan Rice’s backside since he waved goodbye to West Ham United and joined Arsenal last summer.

His supporters claim he has made a massive difference to Arsenal’s midfield and is a primary reason why they are currently top of the Premier League.

However, a recent statistical comparison with Manchester City star Rodri paints a different picture, with Rice lagging behind in several key categories.

A common criticism of Rice is that he often goes missing in big games – a point which can be evidenced by a quick look at Arsenal’s most recent matches.

He was praised for netting a late winner against newly-promoted Luton Town but was overshadowed by Aston Villa’s vibrant midfield in the next game.

Rice produced a solid performance against Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend – admittedly a better team than Luton, but not one which is challenging for the title.

Arsenal’s visit to Liverpool on Saturday gives Rice the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why they broke the bank to secure his services from West Ham.

His bumper price tag comes with certain conditions attached. Running the show against Liverpool at Anfield is never easy. If Rice does that, the doubts about him will subside.

The week that was

Are you looking for the best football stories from the past week? Check these out:

Today’s top tune

It’s nearly Christmas, so let’s have something festive!

What to watch this week

While the Liverpool vs Arsenal game will inevitably garner plenty of attention, it will be worth monitoring how Villa cope with the festive period.

If they can safely navigate to the end of the year without any mishaps, any remaining doubts about their title credentials should finally disappear.

A final Morning Mix thought

Nuno Espirito Santo is Nottingham Forest’s new manager. Does anyone else think this won’t end well?

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