By Chris Harris

As far as Arsène Wenger is concerned, mental strength and matchwinners hold the key to the Champions League clash between Arsenal and Liverpool.

The first leg at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night kicks off a run of three games in seven days between the sides with a Premier League fixture in North London sandwiched between the two European games.

The familiarity between Arsenal and Liverpool means the element of surprise is unlikely to play a part in the coming week. Instead, Wenger believes desire and the role of key players will be decisive. Speaking before the weekend, the Arsenal manager explained why.

"Against an English team the competition is always different," said Wenger. "You come back more to a formula because we know each other well.

"There are two things which will make the difference in that game - the quantity of the mental strengths available in the teams and how well the players who can make a decision perform. The players who can turn a game have to turn up on the night.

"When you play a local team in the European Cup it is a test of character. We know we can do it, but who wants it the most?"

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Chris Harris 1 Apr 2008