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The Liverpool attacker, who has been picked to lead the line in recent matches, is hoping to strike early like the Reds did in last season’s 5-1 victory

Raheem Sterling has warned Arsenal that Liverpool are growing in confidence as he plots a repeat of last season’s hammering of the Gunners at Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers’ side consigned the north London club to a 5-1 defeat on Merseyside in February after racing into a four-goal lead with only 20 minutes played, though have endured a more turbulent campaign this season.

Liverpool were beaten 3-0 by Manchester United in their last league outing but Sterling, who goes into Sunday’s game off the back of a brace against Bournemouth, is hoping to blitz Arsenal once again.

“It was possibly one of the best games I’ve been involved in. It’s always great to play against Arsenal and to beat them in such good fashion, playing really good football at times,” Sterling told the club’s official website.

“It showed the heights we were at last season. Hopefully this time around we can get on the front foot straight from the off like we did last year and get the win again this season.

“Our confidence is on its way back to where it should be and hopefully we can get out there with a quick start. We’ll try to do the best we can do and we know that doing our best can definitely win us the game.”

Liverpool have failed to meet the high standards set last season during a disappointing 2014-15 campaign so far and sit 11th in the Premier League, though have secured their passage to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Sterling’s two goals against Championship leaders Bournemouth ended a long barren run for the England international, who struck twice against Arsenal in the same fixture last season.

The 20-year-old has been recognised for a stellar year that saw him play a key role in Liverpool’s surprise Premier League title challenge and become an England regular

Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling has won Tuttosport’s prestigious Golden Boy award for 2014, becoming the first English recipient since Wayne Rooney in 2004.

Sterling has been recognised for a stellar 2014 that saw him play a key role in Liverpool’s surprise tilt at the Premier League title last season and establish himself as a regular starter for England.

The 20-year-old saw off competition from Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, as well as Liverpool team-mates Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi.

“It’s a great achievement to win such an award,” Sterling told Liverpool’s official website. “It’s a really happy feeling for me and my family, of course.

“Something I’ve always wanted to do is to work hard playing football and try to be recognised. I’m really grateful that people have shown me this recognition.

“It’s down to hard work. I’m really happy that people are recognising that I’m trying to work hard and do my best for this football club. I’m really grateful for this award.”

Previous winners include Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero, and Sterling insists he still has a long way to go in order to fulfil his potential.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he admitted. “At this moment in time, I should have a few more goals, but I’ve not taken some of my chances. But I’m young and learning all the time.

“This award just shows that hard work gets you where you want to be, and that I’m on the right track for where I want to be in my career. Hopefully I can just keep working hard and try to take my game to the next level.”

The Liverpool boss reveals how the former Barcelona forward would have been a perfect fit for his style of play as the Reds welcome his new club Arsenal to Anfield on Sunday

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described Alexis Sanchez’s decision to snub the Anfield club over the summer as a “bitter disappointment” ahead of the visit of Arsenal on Sunday.

The Chile international will come up against his summer suitors for the first time since his €41 million move from Barcelona.

Alexis was identified as a ready-made replacement for Luis Suarez at Anfield, and his 14 goals for Arsenal this season have magnified Liverpool’s attacking deficiencies thus far.

“He’s a world class player with outstanding quality and even bigger work rate. He would have been perfect for us,” Rodgers told reporters.

“He made his decision. The best option for him.

“I think if you look at how I ask teams to play speed is critical. Not just with the ball, but the intensity with the pressing.

“When Daniel Sturridge was injured in August I think everyone who knows football should hopefully be able to see that our game has become much deeper because of personnel.

“Sanchez was identified for us as someone who would have been a key signing and really just a roll on to what we had with Luis Suarez.

“So to not get him was obviously bitterly disappointing, but once he was gone that was it. We just had to focus on what we had.”

The Gunners were thrashed 5-1 on their last visit to Anfield and the Frenchman is keen to ensure that his side do not suffer another demoralising thrashing this weekend

Arsene Wenger is keen to draw inspiration from happier trips to Liverpool as Arsenal aim to avoid a repeat of last season’s 5-1 drubbing.

Liverpool raced into a 4-0 half-time lead at Anfield in February, before Raheem Sterling added a fifth seven minutes after the interval with his second goal of the game.

Arsenal had won three of their previous four Premier League trips to the red half of Merseyside before last season’s thrashing, and Wenger wants to banish memories of that humiliation and kick-start a busy Christmas period with a win on Sunday.

“Every defeat hurts and every defeat is a scar in your heart forever, but we also have very good memories at Liverpool,” he said.

“We won many games at Liverpool as well and, even last year when we lost against them, a week later against the same team we won 2-1 at home in the FA Cup.

“We want to have continuity. It is a very important period now.

“Over the Christmas period, we play four Premier League games. At Christmas we’ll come back strongly in the league, I am sure.

“When you get over the hill in January, you look towards the end [of the season], and how you come out of the Christmas period is of course very important.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is under pressure following a disappointing start to the season, and has guided his side to just two wins in their last seven home fixtures in all competitions.

With that in mind, the Northern Irishman is intent on picking up a morale-boosting victory on Sunday.

“Internally, it will continue our spirit and our focus,” he said. “Arsenal did OK at home last week as well. They won 4-1 and played really well against Newcastle, but we’ll be looking to focus on our game.

“They’ve got outstanding players, but the focus will be on ourselves and looking to bring our game in an important game.”

Liverpool will be without striker Mario Balotelli – banned for one match due to a controversial post on social media – while Glen Johnson (groin), and Daniel Sturridge (thigh) will also miss out.

Dejan Lovren is also doubt after coming off with a groin injury during Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final victory at Bournemouth.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are having to cope with a lengthy list of casualties, with Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mesut OzIl (knee), Laurent Koscielny (calf), Mikel Arteta (calf), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Tomas Rosicky (thigh) and Serge Gnabry (knee) all missing.

Theo Walcott could feature after returning to training earlier this week, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nacho Monreal may also be involved after recovering from injuries.

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