Arsène Wenger admitted that his centre backs struggled with the sheer height of Peter Crouch during Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.

The 6ft 7ins England striker hit the perfect hat-trick - one left-foot shot, one right-foot shot, one header - and dominated the visiting defenders in the air.

"He was intelligent, he worked hard, he was superb," said Wenger. "Everything he did was technically good and his finishing was clinical, especially the first goal.

"Gallas and Toure are football player sized but today we looked short. Still we don't always meet a basketball player on the pitch."

Some journalists questioned whether that last term was a criticism.

"It was not meant to be disrespectful," replied Wenger. "Crouch has the size of a basketball player but the skill of a real football player. That is why he is difficult to handle. If you put in a basketball player against Kolo and Gallas they would have no problem. It was not a pejorative term it was a positive one."

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2 Apr 2007