By Adam Clark

Arsenal have never lost an FA Cup tie against Liverpool at Anfield. Fact.

OK, so they've only been there twice - in 1923 and 1936 - but football's all about its history, trends and traditions isn't it?

Therefore, another statistic Liverpool should be aware of ahead of Saturday's FA Cup Third Round meeting is that in three Finals against the Reds, the Gunners have a 2-1 advantage, having triumphed 2-0 in 1950 and 2-1 in 1971.

The lost Final came courtesy of a late Michael Owen double in 2001 but a single Dennis Bergkamp strike ensured Arsenal won the next and most recent clash between the two, at Highbury in the following season.

So history says Liverpool haven't got a chance, right?  Unfortunately, a more recent record of theirs - a 20-game unbeaten run at home in all competitions - suggests otherwise.

As the Gunners prepare for the first of two trips to Anfield in four days we asked Chris Bascombe, Liverpool FC correspondent for the Liverpool Echo, for his thoughts on Liverpool's Christmas form, the respect both sides have for each other and why neither team will want a stalemate.

THE STORY SO FAR
"Liverpool have turned in some good results since the postponed Carling Cup game but they've been on a good run for three months or so now. After a slow start they're probably in the best form they've been in all year. Looking back over Christmas, losing at Blackburn at the time seemed a big blow because you thought the momentum might stop. But they've gone on and beaten Tottenham and Bolton, who are nearer rivals, and therefore taken points off more important teams. So Blackburn was a blip rather than a major setback, which a defeat against Bolton or Tottenham would have been."

MAN OF THE MOMENT
"Steven Gerrard is the obvious one and Xabi Alonso is in his best form of the season but Daniel Agger has been the star. He's been spoken about as an Arsenal-type signing because [Rafael] Benitez admires [Arsène] Wenger for signing young players, like Kolo Toure, who came from nowhere and are now worth £20million. Agger's one who signed for £5million and he's definitely heading in the right direction. This time next year everyone will be talking about how good he is. You would expect a young centre back to make mistakes but there's been none of that with Agger."

CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM
"In the cup home advantage does shift who's favourite. If it was at Emirates Stadium Arsenal would be favourites but it's up here and so it's probably marginally in Liverpool's favour. You can guarantee neither manager will want a draw because both teams have a backlog of games and I'm not sure where you'd be able to fit in a replay. Every player will be going all out for the win."

CAUSE FOR CONCERN
"I think both teams have a lot of respect for each other and will know each others capabilities but I don't think they will fear each other. Thierry Henry's back and Liverpool have particular respect for him. Personally, I'd be quite happy to see Henry fit because, of all the players I've seen at Anfield in the last seven years or so, he's possibly been the best. In the last few years under Benitez Liverpool have coped with him [Henry] quite well and had good results but we've certainly seen some performances from him and Arsenal in the past too."

TALKING TACTICS
"They will go out to attack because a draw would be the worst result for both teams. If it's even with 15 minutes to go I think you'll see both teams going for it and I'm expecting an open, entertaining game. I think you might see two completely different games but the strongest sides will definitely be out on Saturday."

IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
"What do I remember about the 2001 FA Cup Final? The last five minutes! Before that spell the Final wasn't really memorable from a Liverpool perspective. Everyone's got a DVD of that game but they fast forward it to those final moments - Michael Owen's greatest in a Liverpool shirt. They didn't deserve to win it, and I don't think any Liverpool fan will ever try to convince anyone they were the better team that day, but everyone always remembers the winners."



8/1 - Arsenal to win the 2006/07 FA Cup


Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 5 Jan 2007