Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits neither Bukayo Saka nor Emile Smith Rowe has taken part in training ahead of Saturday’s vital Premier League encounter with Liverpool.
Saka was taken off in the Gunners’ 3-3 draw with West Ham before the international break and played no part in England’s three World Cup qualifiers due to a hamstring injury.
Smith Rowe, meanwhile, suffered a hip complaint during the Young Lions’ 2-0 defeat by Portugal at the Under-21 European Championship last Sunday.
Arteta has relied on the two youngsters to provide his side with creativity and cutting edge this season, and they have contributed 20 goals or assists between them.
But it appears unlikely either attacking midfielder will return to contention in time for the visit of the champions.
“Bukayo has not trained with the team yet,” Arteta told reporters on Thursday. “He has been doing some individual work.
“We had to pull him out of the England squad, unfortunately. He is feeling better, but he has not trained with the team yet.
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“Emile has some discomfort in his hip and that’s why they decided to keep him out.
“We will see today how he comes here, we will speak with the doctors and the physios and see if he is available for training tomorrow.”
Arteta also confirmed he has no fresh injury concerns as he prepares to put his returning stars through their paces on Thursday afternoon.
“There are still a lot that I haven’t seen yet,” the Spaniard added. “We will see them this afternoon and assess the squad tomorrow, see how everybody is feeling and make some decisions. But so far, no big news.”
Ninth-place Arsenal and seventh-place Liverpool are in desparate need of points in the race for European places and face a daunting task to close the gap on the top four.
But both sides are still active on the continent this season, with Liverpool facing Real Madrid in the Champions League and Arsenal taking on Slavia Prague in the Europa League next week.
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