Saturday, February 15, 2014

Arsenal-Liverpool Preview: Gunners seek revenge over Reds

Arsene Wenger Liverpool Arsenal Premier League
Arsenal will be out to avenge last weekend's 5-1 hammering at Anfield when they host Liverpool in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger's side were blown away in the first half when the two sides last met, with the Reds racing into a 4-0 lead inside 20 minutes thanks to two goals from Martin Skrtel and one each from Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.

Sterling added a fifth after the break before Mikel Arteta's late consolation penalty, which could not hide what had been an embarrassing afternoon for Arsenal. The Gunners were knocked off the top of the Premier League later that day courtesy of Chelsea's 3-0 win over Newcastle United.

Both sides have since been in action during midweek. Arsenal played out a turgid goalless draw at home to Manchester United, while Liverpool needed a last-gasp Steven Gerrard penalty to overcome bottom-side Fulham 3-2 at Craven Cottage.

The clubs remain in contention for the Premier League title, with Arsenal a point behind leaders Chelsea and Liverpool three further back in fourth spot, but their attentions will switch to the FA Cup this weekend.

Arsenal overcame north London rivals Tottenham 2-0 in the third round, before beating League One outfit Coventry City 4-0 to seal their place in round five.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have faced lower-league opposition in both of their previous outings, recording 2-0 wins over both Oldham Athletic and Bournemouth.

Wenger will welcome back midfielder Mathieu Flamini for the tie, the Frenchman having served his three-match suspension for the red card he picked up in the 2-2 draw at Southampton, although Aaron Ramsey remains out and Santi Cazorla is a doubt due to illness.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, however, revealed that his squad was likely to be similar to the one that travelled to Fulham, though he is unsure whether full-back Glen Johnson will be fit in time.

"He's working very well," he said. "I'm not sure he'll be ready for the game this weekend but if we can have a good week next week he'll be very close.

"He looks fresher and fitter. That period that he's had out has really helped him. He's in good condition but there's still a bit to go yet."

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