Liverpool-Arsenal preview: Wenger out to avoid repeat drubbing

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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