Friday 19 December 2014 18:44, UK
Arsene Wenger says it was Arsenal's consistency and style of play that convinced Alexis Sanchez to choose London over Liverpool.
Sanchez makes the trip to Anfield on Super Sunday for the first time since he turned down Liverpool in the summer in favour of a move to Arsenal.
And Wenger has little sympathy for opposite number Brendan Rodgers after his own attempts to sign Luis Suarez in the summer of 2013 ended in failure.
"We were interested in Luis Suarez last year and he scored 40 goals for Liverpool," Wenger said at his pre-match press conference. "That's part of the competition.
"I think at the end of the day every great player has a choice to make. He chose us and we're very happy for that. I don't know why he has chosen us over anyone else but we're very happy that he has done that.
"I just tried, like every manager, to convince the player that you can help him to develop the quality of his game, that the way we play football would suit him and that’s why I think he has chosen us in the end.
“As well, we have continuity. All the player wants to do is play in the Champions League - it is quite simple. We have quite a good continuity on that front."
Sanchez has proved a big success, scoring 14 goals already, and the Chile forward has so far avoided the kind of injuries which mean Arsenal go into the Christmas programme severely depletetd.
Mathieu Flamini will be their only fit senior central midfielder at Anfield if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fails a late fitness test, and a roll call of injured players includes key men Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere.
I just tried, like every manager, to convince the player that you can help him to develop the quality of his game, that the way we play football would suit him
Wenger fears Ramsey's latest hamstring problem could keep him out for Arsenal's run of four Premier League games in 11 days - a run he believes will be a significant factor in his side's season.
"It's a very important period now," he said. "Over the Christmas period we play four Premier League games. Over Christmas we'll come back strongly I'm sure in the league. After, when you get over the hill to January, you look towards the end. How you come out of the Christmas period is of course very important.
"We've won five of our last six games. We want to continue our strong run, and Sunday is a good game for us to show that we can have continuity in finding a good balance between attacking well and defending well."
That was not the case on Merseyside last season, when Arsenal were beaten 5-1 by a Liverpool side at the top of their game, and Wenger said: "Liverpool last year scored over 100 goals in the championship, they were very good going forward.
"This season they've scored 19 until now so they are not on the same trend offensively, but I must say they started out the blocks very strong and we were too late to get into the game."
Few would have predicted then that Rodgers' position would be questioned by some Liverpool supporters just months later. Wenger said: "Our job is to survive crises. Part of the job, not all the job. When you want to make a long career, you cannot only win, unfortunately."
Watch Liverpool v Arsenal live as part of a Super Sunday double bill this weekend. Coverage on Sky Sports 1 starts at 12.30pm.