Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 May 2016

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal form creates confidence ahead of Anfield trip

Published 12/01/2016

Arsene Wenger has guided Arsenal to the top of the Barclays Premier League
Arsene Wenger has guided Arsenal to the top of the Barclays Premier League

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's current run of form means they go to Liverpool with the right belief to maintain their place at the Barclays Premier League summit.

The Gunners have won seven of their last eight matches in all competition, with a Boxing Day defeat at Southampton the only blemish on their recent good run.

Wenger made five changes for Saturday's FA Cup third-round victory over Sunderland with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker rested completely for the 3-1 win.

Arsenal are expected to return to full strength for their trip to Anfield as they look to defend their two-point lead at the top of the table.

And Wenger, who remains hopeful a deal for Egypt international midfielder Mohamed Elneny will be completed by the end of the week, feels the current run holds his side in good stead heading into the game with Jurgen Klopp's men.

"The momentum creates confidence and confidence is vital at that level," he 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 and that consistency is a good basis to go into the next game with the right belief.

"The consistency of our results is very important. Therefore it was important to win on Saturday and not to break that belief.

"It was good for me to see some players that have played less and to be down 1-0 and respond in the way we did and have an outstanding second half. It was all a very positive basis in preparation for Liverpool."

While Wenger will call upon his key men at Liverpool, one player who will not feature is Chile forward Alexis Sanchez - who continues to recover from a hamstring complaint.

"We should have Ozil and Mathieu Flamini available," Wenger said of his squad.

"We will have to test David Ospina who is not available on Saturday. For Alexis, the Liverpool game will come too soon for him but he has a chance to be available for Stoke and his development is going well.

"He is always keen to play. If you listen to Alexis, he can always play - even when he is injured. We try to be cautious. With a muscular injury you never exactly (know) how big the risk but he is very close. If you look at him training he is very close."

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