Mikel Arteta has laughed off suggestions that Arsenal club captain Martin Odegaard communicates with team-mates via his socks.

The Norwegian midfielder has again been integral to the Gunners this season, taking charge of most of the dead-ball situations.

But fans and pundits have begun noting that the 25-year-old frequently tampers with his socks before taking a corner or a free-kick. And in his pre-match press conference ahead of a crucial clash with Liverpool on Sunday, the Spanish boss was tackled on the issue.

Arteta, however, didn’t even try to keep a straight face. While laughing, he responded with “I’m not going to tell you that,” prompting the journalists themselves to start chuckling.

It wasn’t the first time this week that the manager has offered a comical take on proceedings. He joked about the midweek row between Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko, which followed his side winning at the City Ground.

“They’ve been in the same house for the last three days, sharing wives and everything,” said Arteta.

“They are living together now, they are best mates. You don’t argue with somebody you don’t have a great relationship with, it happens because of the trust. I love it, as long as it’s in a respectful way and it stays there, very happy with that.”

Odegaard has scored four times in the Premier League this season and is firmly established as a fan favourite following his move from Real Madrid in 2021. And he will be a key figure as Arsenal look to haul back the Reds in the title race at the Emirates.

The Gunners currently trail their rivals by five points but have steadied the ship after a rocky December. A 5-0 win over Crystal Palace was backed up by that 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday, with Arteta admitting his team can ill-afford many more slip-ups if they are to end their 20-year wait for a top-flight crown.

And they will need to produce a clinical display against Jurgen Klopp’s side amid perceptions that Arsenal lack ruthlessness in front of goal. Indeed, after the 2-0 defeat to West Ham before Christmas, Odegaard himself called out his side for a lack of goals.

“It’s one of those nights,” he said. “We had a lot of chances but in the box we were not good enough. We have to improve in front of the goal and it’s down to the whole team to do that.”