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Wenger believes Sanchez chose Arsenal over Reds for Champions League

Arsene Wenger has hinted Alexis Sanchez chose to move to Arsenal ahead of Liverpool due to a near-guarantee of Champions League football.

Wenger's Arsenal, who have qualified for the knockout stages of Europe's elite competition for a 15th consecutive season, tomorrow face a Liverpool side who were Premier League runners-up last term but are toiling this season.

The Reds are out of the Champions League, having qualified for the first time in five years, and 11th in the Premier League entering this weekend's fixtures.

Much of the difference between Liverpool last term and this has been attributed to the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

While Wenger declined the opportunity to appraise tomorrow's opponents, he offered an opinion on why Sanchez moved to the Emirates Stadium, rather than swap places with Suarez.

The Gunners boss said: "All the players want to play in the Champions League. It's quite simple. We have quite a good continuity on that front."

Sanchez has adapted well to life in the Premier League, but many of Liverpool's signings have struggled to make a similar impact and Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is facing a stern examination of his calibre.

Wenger, who has been Gunners boss for 18 years and survived his fair share of challenges, said: "Everybody goes through periods where it goes a bit less well.

"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."

BOOED

Criticism of Wenger resurfaced after their most recent Premier League away match, when he was booed at a train station following the 3-2 loss at Stoke.

Arsenal responded by beating Galatasaray and Newcastle, scoring four goals in each match, but return to Anfield, where last season they lost 5-1.

The Gunners conceded four goals in the opening 20 minutes against a rampaging Reds as their title challenge unravelled.

"We've won five of our last six games," Wenger said.

"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.

"Liverpool are always very strong at home and that's why we want to continue to be faithful to our philosophy and play our game, but as well be solid defensively."

Asked if the pain of last year's loss at Anfield lingers, Wenger added: "Every defeat hurts. Every defeat is a scar in your heart forever. We have as well very good memories at Liverpool. We won many games at Liverpool as well.

The match is between two top-four contenders, but Wenger is not yet looking to the end of the season.

"When you get over the hill to January, you look towards the end," he said.


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