| 3.3°C Dublin

Rafa adamant defence key to beating Arsenal

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes a solid defence may be the best way to beat Arsenal.

The Spaniard takes his side to the Emirates Stadium tonight looking for the club's first Premier League victory on Gunners territory for a decade.

Having restored Liverpool's defensive solidity -- highlighted by six clean sheets in an unbeaten seven-match run -- Benitez feels they are better equipped to cope with Arsenal's possession passing game.

"If you play them at the Emirates they have more confidence and they try to go forward all the time, it is the way they play," said the Reds boss.

"You cannot control the game unless you are strong in defence."

Benitez has studied how Manchester United and Chelsea have inflicted back-to-back defeats on the Gunners and knows exactly how to play it.

Liverpool have been winning games without playing well and that could work in their favour tonight as the manager is more than happy for his team to carry on grinding out results.

"You can score if you play good counterattack -- like United did the other day," he said.

"When you are playing well and winning everything is fine. If you don't win you have to change things and you have to play as you can -- sometimes ugly, sometimes nicely. If you are strong and work hard against them you will always have a chance."

The last time the two sides met back in December Arsenal re-ignited their title bid with a 2-1 win after losing two of their three matches prior to visiting Anfield.

Benitez hopes a victory, which would take them within two points of their third-placed opponents, will have the same effect on his team.

"They were in a very bad situation; they had their critics and then they won and they started going forward and winning games," he added.

"Hopefully we can keep winning and we will see if we can talk in a different way to the start of the season."

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes a win tonight puts third place up for grabs.

"I'm sure Arsenal will be a bit of a wounded animal on Wednesday," he said. "It's a massive game for us and the target is to try to get a result where we can push on and try to get third place.

"Our target is a top-four finish but if Arsenal give us any sniff of catching them then we want to grab it, and hopefully that will be tonight."

ARSENAL v LIVERPOOL

LIVE SKY SPORTS 2 (7.45)


Privacy