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Arsenal V Liverpool at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview

Updated 29 Jan 2013 15:31:27

Arsenal V Liverpool at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview

Arsenal V Liverpool - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Wenger: Panic buying shows weakness

Arsene Wenger believes panic buying in the January transfer window is a symptom of what is wrong with the modern game and a manager must be "strong enough to do nothing".

Despite clamour from supporters to recruit, the Arsenal boss only intends to add to his squad by Thursday's deadline if a player can enhance his current side.

Wenger revealed former England captain David Beckham will train at Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base, but would not confirm an interest in Spain striker David Villa, saying only that Barcelona do not wish to sell.

"It's just like you go out and you buy anyone just to give people hope," Wenger said.

"I think what is important is that you bring in players who can strengthen your team, or you do nothing, you're strong enough to do nothing.

"I always said that what is important is to bring a player in who can strengthen the squad.

"'Anyone', for me, means just exactly what is today the modern game has become.

"In January it's very difficult to find players who strengthen your team when you're in our position."

Villa would undoubtedly improve the Arsenal squad, but Wenger is happy with the forwards at his disposal - Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Gervinho, who is currently at the African Nations Cup with Ivory Coast.

Wenger added: "It doesn't go away, but Barcelona doesn't want to sell David Villa. They have made that very, very clear.

"As numbers we have enough. We have plenty of quality strikers."

Wenger does not believe there is room to negotiate with Barcelona.

"You respect the desire (to keep a player)," he said. "If I say that somebody is not for transfer I expect the other clubs not to try to buy him."

Wenger was speaking ahead of the Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool.

Under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool appear to be following Wenger's philosophy of trusting in young players.

It backfired for Rodgers when Liverpool were dumped out of the FA Cup by Oldham on Sunday, leading to criticism of the young players by the Northern Irishman.

"It's always a big disappointment to go out of the FA Cup," said Wenger, whose side edged past Brighton on Saturday.

"You never speculate because you never know really what exactly what kind of response you get.

"If he's not happy with their younger players they will not play on Wednesday.

"I think what is important for us is to be us at our best and cope with what Liverpool will offer us."

Arsenal will be boosted by the returns of Thomas Vermaelen from an ankle injury and Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, who dropped to the bench at Brighton at the Emirates Stadium.

Meanwhile, Rodgers has no doubt his team will react in the right way to their FA Cup nightmare.

He said: "It's quite easy (to move on). It's one of the things you have to be able to do in modern football, and especially at a club like this.

"However, disappointing the cup was, we'll get a reaction on Wednesday. Just seeing the players, the small group we had working (on Monday morning), they had a real focus and concentration.

"That hurts, and I'm glad it does, because that shows that they care. We'll enter the game with even greater motivation to win.

"We've seen over the last few weeks the quality in the group so we mustn't forget that as well, however disappointing Sunday was.

"We must really focus in on the game on Wednesday, it's an opportunity against a good opponent but an opponent that's around about us in terms of points so we have to go there with the confidence and focus that we've shown in the league of late.

"And if we do that we'll have a great chance of getting a good result."

Liverpool will welcome back fit-again trio Jose Reina, Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson for the game.

Full-back Enrique has not played since suffering a hamstring tear against QPR a month ago while goalkeeper Reina has missed two games with nose and thigh injuries and full-back Johnson sat out the FA Cup defeat by Oldham because of a hamstring problem.

Rodgers is likely to revert to a more familiar line-up after heavily criticising his young players for their performance at Boundary Park.


PA

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