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Arsenal v Liverpool: All eyes on Sterling in the capital

Raheem Sterling will be eager to let his football do the talking when Liverpool face Arsenal in a mouth-watering Premier League encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Liverpool forward Sterling this week stated he does not want to be perceived as a “money-grabbing 20-year-old” as his contract saga rumbles on.

Sterling has thus far refused to sign a new deal at Anfield, but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers vowed on Thursday that the England international will not be sold at the end of the season.

Rodgers must decide whether to include Sterling in his starting line-up against Arsenal just a few days after the youngster said reports linking him with a move to the London club were “quite flattering.”

Sterling missed England’s friendly draw against Italy on Tuesday due to a toe problem, but is in contention to face Arsene Wenger’s side as Liverpool attempt to put a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United before the international break behind them.

Victory for fifth-placed Liverpool would leave them only three points adrift of an Arsenal team brimming with confidence following a run of six consecutive victories.

Wenger has urged his side – seven points behind Chelsea having played a game more – to maintain their outstanding form and the Frenchman has not given up hope of winning the title.

He said: “We have the aspiration to win the next game and that’s quite good enough. After that, win the next one.

“Whatever is mathematically possible you have to try to achieve but that doesn’t depend only on us. What does only depend on us in the final run is our performances and our results, so let’s focus on that. 

“After that if everything goes for us, you never know, but you can only master your own performances so let’s focus on that and be realistic and continue to earn the right to win the games. That’s what we want.”

The Arsenal manager added: “You know after the international break it’s always important that you come back and straight away you are on it.

“I’m not too much in mathematics now. We do that after the game. What is important is just for us to win the game and produce the performance.”

Defeat to United was a blow to Liverpool’s hopes of securing a top-four finish and Rodgers knows his side can ill afford to slip up again this weekend.

He said: “Our possession wasn’t good enough in the last game. We were never in position to receive the ball and to press the ball. We need to be technically better.

“We will go there tactically very clear. We need to get something from the game.”

Rodgers is hopeful that Daniel Sturridge (hip) and Adam Lallana (groin) will face Arsenal after pulling out of the England squad, but Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard are suspended.

Jack Wilshere (ankle) could make his Arsenal comeback and Danny Welbeck (knee) may return after missing England’s trip to Italy, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) remains sidelined.

Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby played in a friendly victory over Brentford this week and it remains to be seen if they play any part.

Thu 2 Apr, 2015
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