You might be forgiven that the upcoming clashes between Arsenal and Liverpool would be played out without the need for petty mind games between the two sides. After all, Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez strike you as the sort of guys who prefer to rise above the childish and calculated barbs that the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have enjoyed serving up in recent seasons.
However, Sky Sports report that this is not the case, with the unlikely figure of Kolo Toure lighting the blue touch paper ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League match. His claim that Liverpool were scared of Arsenal does not sit too well with the Merseyside club, who have demonstrated that they fear nobody where Europe is concerned, reaching two of the last three Champions League finals. It’s over to Rafa:
“Are we scared of Arsenal FC?” Benitez asked on Tuesday, before answering his own question with an emphatic: “No.”
“When we play in Europe we have a lot of confidence and playing against Arsenal we beat them 4-1 at Anfield last season.
“This season we drew 1-1 and we had big problems because Torres was injured. We played 45 minutes with him not fit, and after we had a problem with Alonso.”
Indeed, it must be hard to fear a team who have recently failed to beat the ‘Big Four’ that are Aston Villa, Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Wigan, especially when you’ve beaten the Italian champions home and away. Anyway, never mind the verbal jousting, let’s see the football do the talking over the next week, all 270 minutes of it between the Reds and Gunners.