Liverpool - Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will face a stern
test of their Premier League title credentials when they take on Liverpool on
Wenger's side head to Anfield two points clear at the head
of the table and having won five of their last six league games.
The weekend FA Cup third round victory over Sunderland
extended their winning run and Wenger acknowledges his side's recent success
has strengthened the belief they can push on during the second half of the
The Gunners manager, though, knows any meeting with
Liverpool carries an extra edge that was demonstrated when the sides met on
Merseyside last season, with the home side clinching a point thanks to Martin
Skrtel's stoppage-time equaliser.
"The momentum creates confidence and confidence is vital
at that level," Wenger said.
"In December and now in January we have been consistent
and we go into a very important part of the season because we play many games.
"Every time we go to Anfield, we face a team who is up
for it. It's always a ferocious battle, no matter who the manager is.
"They had a very strong manager before, they have a
very strong one now and Jurgen Klopp has the personality to do well
Wenger hopes to add Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny to his
squad this week.
"I expect Mohamed yes, we are positive that this week
it can happen," he said.
Also read: Feast and famine as Arsenal face ravaged Reds
And his options will shortly be strengthened by the return
to fitness of Alexis Sanchez, although the Chile striker will not make the trip
"We think he will be short for Wednesday," said
"He has a chance to be available for Sunday against
Stoke. He is always keen to play."
- Big challenge -
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is looking forward rather
than back as he prepares to take on Wenger in English football for the first
The pair have previously met at Champions League level with
honours almost even, Wenger enjoying three wins to Klopp's two and a draw from
his time in charge at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
Klopp took over at Liverpool after the sides had drawn 0-0
at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League in August.
And the German admits watching Wenger's work at closer
quarters has impressed him even more as the Liverpool boss prepares for huge
back-to-back home games against the Gunners and Manchester United.
"We shouldn't talk too much about my experiences of
playing against Arsenal. We will find a current plan for this game," Klopp
"It's always a big challenge to play against clubs like
Arsenal or Manchester United.
"It's a good challenge, not easy, but really
interesting. We have to make good decisions in the right moment. We are looking
forward to these games.
"My respect for Arsene Wenger grows day by day. It's
really intensive to work in the Premier League and he's done a brilliant
Klopp's remarks regarding Wenger, looking to lead Arsenal to
a fourth league title but first since 2004, reflect his initial impressions of
managing in England.
Klopp, who took over at Anfield in October, said that the
number of fixtures has been the biggest difference to managing on the
continent, with Liverpool facing the possibility of playing nine games in
That workload is stretching a squad that has been badly hit
by injuries, although Klopp hopes to have a number of key players back for the
game on Wednesday when the eighth-placed Reds will be looking for a third win
in four league games.
After having no senior central defenders available for last
Friday's 0-0 FA Cup draw at Exeter, ex-Arsenal defender Kolo Toure and Mamadou
Sakho are both expected to be fit.
Captain Jordan Henderson is also set to return in midfield
and winger Jordon Ibe is fit after hamstring trouble.For
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