Gunners must not be distracted by Luis Suarez - Wenger
Arsenal manager insists home side must focus on themselves and no Liverpool’s star man
Liverpool’s Luis Suarez leaves the pitch with the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield last week. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Had things turned out differently this summer, the controversial Uruguay forward could well have been leading the Gunners attack, rather than netting six in the five games since returning to action for the Reds from a 10-match ban.
He said: “Suarez is doing very well, but what is important for me is the players that play for Arsenal, not those who could play for Arsenal. What is very important tomorrow is the players who play against Luis Suarez.”
Wenger continued: “I think our target is to have the ball and master the situation because we are dominating and we have more of the ball than our opponents - and if we have the ball a lot we do not need to worry too much about our opponents and that will be the target tomorrow.”
There had been some discontent among Arsenal fans at the thought of signing a player who also served a ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in October 2011.
Wenger, though, would have had no issues had the transfer been completed, with Liverpool rejecting a £40, 000,001 offer which was expected to have triggered a supposed get-out clause.
“The player has been punished for what he did,” Wenger said. “We have high moral grounds. We take information about the moral level of the player and when there is any moral restriction we do not buy the player.”
Arsenal will have midfielder Mikel Arteta back from suspension after his red card against Crystal Palace.
Wenger maintains his squad are determined to show their title aspirations are not unfounded with an impressive display against the Reds.
“The mood is very strong, very united and very focused. We know where the priorities are, it is in the Premier League and the Champions League, ” he said. “We are in a strong position in the Premier League, that is why our mood is positive.”
Wenger added: “We want to be and I think we are title contenders, and Liverpool as well. You have four other teams certainly, or five, who will be title contenders this year. It is a big game for us, massively important, but I don’t worry about where the teams are (in the table).
“Between the team who is 14th and the team who is eighth, there are two or three points. At the moment, the table has no real significance.”