by Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal’s 2008 Champions League Quarter-Final exit at the hands of Liverpool taught Theo Walcott a harsh lesson - one he will always remember.

Walcott came on as a 72nd-minute substitute and went on a brilliant 60-yard run to set up a tap-in for Emmanuel Adebayor to score a goal that would have been enough to send the Gunners into the Semi-Final.

Seconds later Walcott and Arsenal conceded to let Liverpool back into the tie and eventually lost 5-3 on aggregate.

Speaking at a Shareholders Q&A on Thursday night, Wenger said the England forward would have learnt a valuable lesson at Anfield that night.

“Adebayor scored and we were going through,” reflected Wenger.

“At the time Walcott was 18 years-old and [we] had scored an important goal and he forgets absolutely that Liverpool can still be dangerous.

“If you put the same Walcott at 28 years-old - if he scores this goal he will run straight back and think ‘this time I will not be caught because I made the mistake ten years ago’. That’s the difference with having experience.

“I believe we have improved since then. For example on that night my team was so euphoric when we scored that goal I asked Alexander Hleb to change with Walcott but he [Hleb] didn’t even hear me.

“I knew Liverpool would have a go and that they would react but they [my players] were so much on a different planet that I couldn’t even get in touch with them.”

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17 Sep 2010