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Rodgers intent on making most of Arsenal nerves as Reds bid to expose Gunners again


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool intend to prey on Arsenal's growing insecurities as they seek a repeat of last weekend's Premier League hammering in the FA Cup tomorrow.

Rather than fear a backlash in north London against a side intent on exacting revenge for a 5-1 defeat, the Liverpool manager and his players believe they are facing Arsène Wenger's side at an opportune time.

Wenger has indicated he will rest players ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie with Bayern Munich. In contrast, Brendan Rodgers says he has no intention of keeping his stars in reserve for the fifth-round tie at the Emirates.

Rodgers says Arsenal's tentative display against Manchester United in midweek was a consequence of their Anfield experience.

"You could see Arsenal were nervous in the game the other night, you could see it against Manchester United," Rodgers said. "It's never easy when you get exposed like that but mainly it was down to our brilliance on the day really. We were outstanding. Usually a team will get time to get over a defeat like that, so to come across us so quickly afterwards, it will be interesting to see the effects.

"Obviously, it's unusual for Arsenal to face a team that has beaten them like that so quickly, normally you get time to regroup. But they will be motivated... If we can get anywhere near the level we were at in the league game we will have a great chance of winning.

"They will enjoy playing at home. It is an opportunity for them to build confidence back up. We both have played a couple of times this week – we've had two excellent and different victories, but they will be looking to pick up confidence."

Defender Aly Cissokho believes the timing of the fixture is to Liverpool's advantage.

"It will be very tough for them after losing the game like they did last week," said Cissokho, who is on loan from Valencia.

"It's been a tough week for them, losing to us, drawing against United and then with Bayern Munich, the Champions League holders, just around the corner. In their mind they must be thinking of Bayern too. It's a difficult run for them and they're not in the best of form, but Arsène Wenger is very experienced. We have to make sure we profit from their drop in form and don't let them develop their game. We need to get on top and make them uncomfortable.

"I feel a bit sorry for any defenders having to face Suárez, Sturridge and Sterling. I have never experienced a game like last week before, with two such big teams and our performance in the first 20 minutes. The quality of passing, the goals we scored and the atmosphere it created."

Cissokho has endured mixed fortunes since moving to Anfield, but still hopes to secure a long-term deal at the end of the season.

"There have been no negotiations over that yet – discussing my future hasn't been on the agenda. That will take care of itself," he said.

"What's more important is having a run in the side – all I am thinking of is doing well, keep fighting, preparing well and to that end it is going well because the team is winning. We want to reach the Champions League. That's the time we can talk about the future." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent