Wenger: Liverpool Aren’t On The Same Trend As Last Season

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Liverpool are struggling to pick up their form from last season but recalls “special” memories of meetings between both sides.

Arsenal will aim for their third consecutive win when they visit Anfield on Sunday. The French boss, 65, believes his side’s run of games over the Christmas period is crucial to their ambitions in the Premier League.

“We want to have continuity. It’s a very important period now. You start the Christmas period now and over the Christmas period you play four Premier League games,” Wenger told reporters in his pre-game media briefing on Friday.

“Can we have a good run over Christmas? I’m sure we will come back strongly in the league and when you get over the hill in January we look towards the end [of the season], so how you come out of the Christmas period is of course very important.”

Arsene Wenger Says Liverpool Have Struggled This Season. Image: Arsenal FC.
Arsene Wenger Says Liverpool Have Struggled This Season. Image: Arsenal FC.

Last weekend’s 4-1 win at home to Newcastle saw the Gunners maintain a 13-point gap behind leaders Chelsea in sixth place, while Liverpool lost their grip on top half placement in the league table, eventually being forced down to 11th by their neighbours Everton after the Toffees’ win over QPR on Monday night.

Despite both side’s downward turn of fortune, Wenger insists Sunday’s clash has every tendency to reignite the vociferous Anfield support from the past.

“There’s a special atmosphere,” Wenger quipped. “I have a lot of respect for the crowd at Liverpool because they stand behind their team.

“I remember one day we were leading 5-1 at Liverpool and they were chanting ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. It’s one of the few grounds in the world where you can see that. There’s a special combination of knowledge of the game at Liverpool and support for their team. I have a huge respect for that.”

The ‘Kops’ might have restored a bit of confidence with their performance in midweek’s win over second-tier Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup, but fans are yet to witness similar re-assuring display in the league.

Anything close to the 5-1 thrashing of Wenger’s side in last season’s corresponding fixture would be celebrated as a huge success across Merseyside; however, Liverpool will have to do without the departed Luis Suarez and injured Daniel Sturridge, who has moved over to the States to continue recuperation from a thigh injury; linking up with specialists at Major League Baseball side Boston Red Sox.

Wenger admitted the heavy defeat in February still “hurts” but cited Liverpool’s lack of attacking verve in the current campaign.

“Every defeat hurts,” said Wenger. “Every defeat is a scar in your heart forever. We also have very good memories at Liverpool. We won many games at Liverpool as well. Even last year we lost against them, the week later against the same team we won 2-0 at home in the FA Cup.

“Liverpool scored over 100 goals last season in the Premier League and they were very good going forward. This season they’ve scored 19 I think until now so they are not on the same trend offensively.

“But it’s difficult for me to assess our direct opponent two or three days before [the game]. I expect to play against a very good team. This season they have a heavy schedule as well, like we have. They play Champions League games, they play Premier League games and it’s very demanding.”