Consistent Arsenal head to Anfield with right belief

Arsene Wenger believes current run of form is creating vital confidence within squad

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

Arsenal have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, with a St Stephen’s 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 Özil 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 Jürgen 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.

“T 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.”

Hamstring complaint

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 Özil 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.”

Liverpool's search for central defensive reinforcement has led them to Queens Park Rangers defender Steven Caulker, who has now finalised a loan move to Anfield.

Caulker was a season-long loan at Southampton but failed to establish himself in Ronald Koeman’s side and last played for the club in December’s 6-1 defeat by Liverpool in the League Cup quarter-final.

QPR have accepted Liverpool’s offer of a loan deal until the end of the season for the former Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City defender and Caulker returned to Loftus Road yesterday to officially cancel his terms with Southampton.

The 24-year-old was registered by noon, meaning he will be eligible to play for Liverpool against Arsenal Wednesday tonight.

“Liverpool Football Club have completed the signing of Steven Caulker on loan from Queens Park Rangers until the end of the season,” read a statement on Liverpool’s website.

“The relevant paperwork has been completed in time to allow the centre-back to be eligible for selection for Wednesday evening’s Barclays Premier League fixture with Arsenal at Anfield.

“Caulker, who has Premier League experience as well as being capped by England, showed a willingness to commit to the Reds at short notice.”

Injury situation

His arrival eases the injury situation the club are currently facing in defence, which includes both short and long-term absentees.

Klopp lost all four of his established central defenders to injury for Friday's FA Cup tie at Exeter City – Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Touré .

Both Touré and Sakho are expected to be fit for Arsenal’s visit to Anfield but the Liverpool manager is keen for experienced cover given the club’s on-going injury problems. Guardian Service