Arsenal will have defender Takehiro Tomiyasu available sooner than anticipated after Japan were eliminated from the Asian Cup at the quarter-final stage.

Japan were beaten 2-1 in their last-eight showdown with Iran to leave the Arsenal player heartbroken in his quest for international honours in Qatar.

However, that result comes as a welcome boost for the Gunners in their ongoing Premier League title charge. The 25-year-old will play no further part at the tournament and he’s due home imminently.

Tomiyasu, who signed for the Gunners from Bologna in 2021, has made 20 appearances for Arsenal so far this term with one goal and assist to show for his efforts. Mikel Arteta has been unable to call upon him since their defeat to Fulham on December 31, though, owing to the player’s international commitments.

Before that, Tomiyasu was side-lined for close to a month with a calf injury. However, ahead of what is shaping-up to be an enthralling run-in, the 41-cap Japan international will provide Arsenal with a timely boost.

As the versatile full-back prepares to make his way back to the UK in the coming days, Arsenal are gearing up for a mouth-watering showdown with Liverpool at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon (4.30pm). A win in that match will move the Gunners to within two points of the Premier League summit.

Manchester City – the reigning champions – have totted-up the same number of points as Arsenal (46) but do have a game in hand on table-topping Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side have amassed 51 points.

Tomiyasu played 90 minutes for Japan at centre-back in their 2-1 defeat to Iran and made four appearances during the tournament. An exact return date to Arsenal is yet to be confirmed, but the defender is touch and go to return to north London for the Liverpool match.