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IAN RUSH: Liverpool FC thriving in pursuit of third-placed Arsenal

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09 Feb 2010 04:00:00

BIG tests are coming thick and fast but the demands are bringing the best out of Liverpool - can the same be said about Arsenal? It would be wrong to get carried away on the back of a comfortable win in the Merseyside derby extended our unbeaten run to seven but, suddenly, there is a slight chance that third place - never mind fourth - is up for grabs again. Much, of course, depends on the outcome of tomorrow night's tussle at the Emirates Stadium and, despite losing to Manchester United and Chelsea in their last two games, Arsenal will start favourites. They are a terrific side, probably the best footballing team in the Premier League, but they keep finding themselves being undone by the desperation to keep on scoring the perfect goal. Their failure to want to win ugly is costing them dearly. Liverpool, on the other hand, have shown how capable they are of digging in to grind out victories and the display against Everton was all about effort and commitment. People were saying it was a typical bad tempered derby, full of nastiness and spite, but I thought it was great to watch and despite Everton starting well, I actually felt Liverpool made them look very ordinary. If you can't take confidence from such a game, I honestly don't know what more you could ask for but the suspicion remains that Liverpool are now building up a head of steam at just the right time. Fourth place is the minimum objective and the fact we have got a foothold in there now, with results going in our favour at the weekend, could prove to be crucial. I said a few weeks ago that Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa would be left to rue their failure to take advantage of our dip in form and the way Liverpool are starting to churn results out suggests they are going to take some shifting. The key is to make sure we do not squander all the hard work and Rafa Benitez will want to make sure he wakes up feeling as good on Thursday morning as he did on Sunday. But should that happen to be the case, then the prospect of Liverpool finishing third will become very real - and who would have thought we could have said that a month ago?


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