Arsenal v Liverpool: Arsene Wenger calls on Gunners to heal wounds of Anfield thrashing

Frank Dalleres
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Wenger's team lost 4-0 at Anfield in August (Source: Getty)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged his team to make amends for one of the most painful defeats of his 21-year tenure when Liverpool visit Emirates Stadium on Friday night.

The Gunners lost 4-0 at Anfield in August, a match that encapsulated their defensive frailties and difficulties in overcoming other teams from the Premier League’s so-called big six.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds arrive in north London in formidable form, having taken 21 points from a possible 27 and scored three or more goals in six of their last nine league matches.

Read more: Coutinho dazzles as Liverpool storm back into top four

But Wenger believes a stuttering Arsenal can exact revenge and enhance their hopes of returning to the Champions League next season if they take the game to Liverpool.

“When you have such a long career as I have you have some defeats unfortunately that hurt you for the rest of your life,” said Wenger.

“But I believe what is interesting in football is that you always have time to make up for it and when you can put things right, do it. So let’s focus on what is in front of us and turn up on Friday night with a completely different performance.

“Don’t worry about the motivation – the motivation is there. This squad has a good mentality. It’s about us to just make sure we are on top of our game and that we play with pace and a determined attitude.”

Klopp, who is unbeaten in four meetings with Arsenal since his arrival on Merseyside in October 2015, is expected to have Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino fit for the fixture.

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League
Firmino and Salah are part of Liverpool's so-called Fab Four (Source: Getty)

Liverpool’s Fab Four, as they have been dubbed, have scored 50 goals between them already this season and Wenger concedes he faces a dilemma over whether to play a four-man or three-man defence.

“We are adaptable to both systems now. It will be down to me to make the decision: do we play in a four, in a three or in a five? I have some more time to think about that,” he added.

“I believe that Liverpool is very good going forward so you need a good overall defensive performance. I have to analyse that well and as well guess a little bit who will play – it’s not always the same, it depends on the personnel. They have plenty of offensive players and looking at them recently they have changed a lot their teams – so it’s difficult to guess.

“I will see what I do but for me the most important is that we turn up with a positive performance. We have been strong at home and it’s important that we continue to dictate our game at home.”

Wenger could recall centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, who is likely to have recovered from injury, but striker Olivier Giroud is out of contention with a hamstring problem sustained in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win over West Ham.

Read more: Arsenal reach last four but injuries sour win over West Ham

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