Arsene Wenger throws down gauntlet to Arsenal players ahead of Liverpool clash
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 03/03/17 12:36pm
Arsene Wenger says his players owe it to themselves to put in a performance against Liverpool after a disappointing month for his Arsenal side.
Arsenal suffered successive defeats at the hands of Watford and Chelsea respectively before notching their solitary Premier League victory of February when they beat Hull 2-0 at the Emirates.
That was followed by an embarrassing 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League before last week's 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory at non-league Sutton United.
Arsenal have won just three of their last 23 away games at Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, but with the Reds also struggling of late, Wenger senses an opportunity for his side to improve that record.
"They owe themselves a performance," Wenger said.
"They are quality players and I think on the day [at Bayern] it all went against us because we were 1-1 at half time and in the second half everything went against us.
"We lost Laurent Koscielny quickly [to injury] and then quickly conceded without having adjusted. We lost three goals [in minutes] 53, 56 and 63 - after that it was mentally very difficult.
"We responded at Sutton, that was quite a tricky game and we want to respond again tomorrow.
"It is even more important because we have not done well recently in these kind of games
"For us, this kind of game like Liverpool is of course an opportunity that we want to take. We have to go and take it and not wait for the result.
"The result comes with an attacking attitude and that for me is the most important. That we go to just start on a positive attitude. For the rest of the season, of course it will have vital consequences."
Wenger, whose side are currently 13 points adrift of leaders Chelsea having played a game less, is keen to focus more on beating Liverpool than fantasising about a memorable run to the title.
"We have to focus on our next game," he added.
"We have a game in hand, things can change quickly. To do a thing like that, you need exceptional rhythm in your results and as well Chelsea to fade.
"At the moment I think it's more important that we focus on winning our games and focus on our next game rather than dreaming about coming back to Chelsea.
"[Playing Liverpool] is always high intensity, very competitive. Anfield is a special place where the fans are behind their team, where their team plays at a good pace.
"For us, after a little break, it's important to switch on quickly. We have seen that's not easy - Liverpool showed that against Leicester.
"After a break, it's important that you are ready from the start on again. You lose a little bit the rhythm of the competition and for us it's vital to start strongly at Liverpool."
Arsenal's chances will be boosted by a return to fitness for both Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey, while Danny Welbeck is now in contention to start having been eased back into the first-team picture following a second serious knee injury.