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                                                    Barclays Premier League , Mar 3, 2012
                                                    Ground: Anfield , Kickoff: 12:45 , Att 44,922

                                                    Team news

                                                    Liverpool to move forward after Carling Cup victory Liverpool's Carling Cup triumph must be consigned to the trophy cabinet as the players prepare to "sacrifice" themselves for the club again, manager Kenny Dalglish said.

                                                    A first piece of silverware in six years was secured at Wembley after a physically draining Carling Cup penalty shoot-out win over Cardiff.

                                                    But the players barely had chance to celebrate as they raced off to join their international teams for the various midweek friendlies taking place around the world.

                                                    When they returned to the club's Melwood training ground on Thursday it was made clear to the squad the time for enjoying that victory had passed.

                                                    With fourth-placed Arsenal visiting Anfield on Saturday, Dalglish wants his players switched on and fully focused on a match which could have a significant bearing on their aspirations for Champions League qualification.

                                                    "What happened last Sunday I think they fully deserved it - on the day and in their performances in the competition," said the Scot.

                                                    "The boys have been away for international matches but I am sure they have enjoyed the success they have had and they will put it behind them and get themselves focused for the match on Saturday, which will be really difficult.

                                                    "We don't want to sound as if they shouldn't have enjoyed themselves - I hope they have because we have - but we've had the enjoyment and now it is back to work.

                                                    "We know the hard work which was involved in getting to Wembley. The players were prepared to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the club and we just need more of that.

                                                    "We will now go for whatever we can in every game. It is nice to be in the Europa League but it is even nicer if we can progress and build on what we did last Sunday.

                                                    "I am sure it has whetted their appetite. Our season is not finished because we won the Carling Cup." Dalglish is awaiting an update on captain Steven Gerrard's fitness.

                                                    The midfielder injured a hamstring in England's friendly defeat against Holland on Wednesday while defender Glen Johnson is expected to be fit after pulling out of the national squad on Monday as a precaution.

                                                    Centre-back Daniel Agger is likely to miss the next couple of weeks with a cracked rib, meaning Jamie Carragher is likely to get a recall.

                                                    Arsenal could put further distance between themselves and Liverpool with victory as well as close up on Spurs, who host Manchester United on Sunday.

                                                    Despite not having lost at home in the league, the Reds have drawn eight times.

                                                    Manager Arsene Wenger said: "You never go to Liverpool and think you have an easy game in front of you. Let's not forget Liverpool won 18 championships so of course that is still in the history and the minds of every single person in England.

                                                    "But things have levelled out now and everybody can take points everywhere. You see that with the results in the Premier League.

                                                    "Every point we can take now is vital until the end of the season." Arsenal have injury concerns over captain Robin van Persie (groin) and centre-back Thomas Vermaelen (ankle).

                                                    Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey (ankle) has already been ruled out while Czech winger Tomas Rosicky (groin) faces a fitness test. Abou Diaby returns from a long absence after a hamstring problem.

                                                    Defender Francis Coquelin (hamstring) remains sidelined, along with centre-back Per Mertesacker (ankle) and Brazil full-back Andre Santos (ankle) is two weeks away from returning to training.

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                                                    Liverpool vs Arsenal

                                                    Last modified 15:07 03/03/12

                                                    Van Persie leaves Liverpool reeling Robin van Persie proved his worth to Arsenal as one of the deadliest strikers in world football scored two goals to snatch a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

                                                    Despite being second-best for most of the game the Gunners strengthened their grip on fourth place - and lessened the chances of Liverpool catching them - thanks to the prolific Holland international.

                                                    The Arsenal captain had two shots on target and scored both as he took his record to 25 goals in as many league matches.

                                                    Reds manager Kenny Dalglish must wish he had a striker in such form after watching his side squander a number of opportunities.

                                                    A missed penalty and two shots rebounding off the post - taking the number of times they have hit the woodwork this season to 21 - only half the story as another familiar tale unfolded at Anfield.

                                                    Arsenal were lucky to go in level at half-time and so to come away with a victory will delight Arsene Wenger and infuriate Dalglish, who suffered his first home defeat of the campaign.

                                                    The Gunners had two chances in the first 45 minutes, with Theo Walcott testing Jose Reina and Van Persie scoring.

                                                    By contrast Liverpool, without injured captain Steven Gerrard, created enough openings at the other end to have been out of sight at the interval.

                                                    After the visitors' first chance, when Jose Reina denied Walcott with a good low save after former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta's long diagonal ball over the top of left-back Jose Enrique had put the England winger through, the visitors appeared in danger of being swamped.

                                                    Stewart Downing, so impressive in last weekend's Carling Cup win at Wembley, fluffed his shot with Wojciech Szczesny caught 10 yards out of his penalty area before Luis Suarez won a penalty when he was tripped by the goalkeeper.

                                                    Unfortunately for Liverpool their travails from the spot have been indicative of their season in general and Kuyt's effort was saved by Szczesny, who also denied the Dutchman's shot from the rebound.

                                                    Dalglish's side have now missed six penalties, excluding the two also squandered in last week's Wembley shoot-out, this season.

                                                    The Arsenal goalkeeper was powerless to prevent the opening goal, however, when Laurent Koscielny, under little pressure, turned Jordan Henderson's cross into his own net.

                                                    Liverpool should have made it 2-0 moments later when Henderson's shot was parried by Szczesny to Suarez to drilled the rebound against the post.

                                                    But just when it looked as if Arsenal were on the brink of cracking they equalised with a goal of breathtaking simplicity on the half-hour.

                                                    Bacary Sagna's right-wing cross perfectly picked out Van Persie who had got in front of Jamie Carragher and the striker made no mistake with his header.

                                                    More Suarez trickery, taking him past the quartet of Alex Song, Sagna, Koscielny and Vermaelen, saw his low shot brilliantly turned behind by Szczesny before Kuyt hit the post in added time.

                                                    Early in the second half there was a lengthy stoppage when Henderson collided with Arteta, who eventually left the field heavily concussed on a stretcher to be replaced by Abou Diaby.

                                                    Thomas Vermaelen was booked for clattering into the back of Suarez as Liverpool continued to enjoy the upper hand without really threatening.

                                                    When they did create a chance in the 69th minute it fell to Martin Kelly close in at the far post but he went with his right foot instead of his left and bundled Kuyt's cross wide.

                                                    Arsenal remained a danger on the break and Reina had to be alert to brilliantly block a Walcott shot with his legs after being wrong-footed.

                                                    Downing wasted a chance to square the ball to Suarez, hitting his cross too close to Szczesny, before screwing a volley well wide.

                                                    Team Line-ups

                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Substitution Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Rating
                                                    25 Jose Reina
                                                    34 Martin Kelly
                                                    37 Martin Skrtel
                                                    23 Jamie Carragher
                                                    3 Sanchez Jose Enrique
                                                    20 Jay Spearing(sub 90)
                                                    18 Dirk Kuyt
                                                    14 Jordan Henderson
                                                    26 Charlie Adam
                                                    19 Stewart Downing(sub 87)
                                                    7 Luis Suarez
                                                    32 Alexander Doni
                                                    9 Andy Carroll(sub 90)
                                                    11 Rodriguez Maxi
                                                    16 Sebastian Coates
                                                    33 Jonjo Shelvey
                                                    38 Jon Flanagan
                                                    39 Craig Bellamy(sub 87)
                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Substitution Rating
                                                    13 Wojciech Szczesny
                                                    3 Bacary Sagna
                                                    6 Laurent Koscielny
                                                    5 Thomas Vermaelen
                                                    28 Kieran Gibbs
                                                    8 Mikel Arteta(sub 52)
                                                    17 Alex Song
                                                    14 Theo Walcott
                                                    7 Tomas Rosicky
                                                    30 Yossi Benayoun(sub 73)
                                                    10 Robin van Persie Goal
                                                    2 Vassiriki Diaby(sub 52)(sub 79)
                                                    21 Lukasz Fabianski
                                                    15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain(sub 79)
                                                    25 Carl Jenkinson
                                                    27 Yao Gervinho(sub 73)
                                                    29 Marouane Chamakh
                                                    49 Ignasi Miquel

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