Retired striker Michael Owen does not expect his former side Liverpool have the capability to resoundingly defeat Arsenal a second time in the space of eight days as Brendan Rodgers' team remain defensively frail while, despite their attacking prowess, Arsene Wenger's Gunners have proven to be resilient at the back when playing in front of the Emirates Stadium crowds.
Two goals from Martin Skrtel, one from Raheem Sterling and another from Daniel Sturridge won Liverpool maximum points in the first 20 minutes alone of Arsenal's recent Premier League trip to Anfield, before Sterling hammered in the fifth and final nail in the red-and-white coffin. Mikel Arteta converted a consolation penalty in the 69th minute but Arsenal's humiliation was complete, they returned to North London pointsless.
While Wenger is largely expected to shuffle his deck somewhat one Sunday, February 16 as Arsenal compete in the first of their two-legged round of 16 Champions League knockout encounter against Bayern Munich at Ashburton Grove just three days later, one player he sorely missed during the 5-1 thumping will be back for the cup - Mathieu Flamini, who returns from suspension.
Speaking to betvictor, Owen commented: 'Liverpool have the firepower and more pace and flair than Arsenal, but the Gunners will be looking to exorcise that 5-1 mauling at Anfield last weekend and they have an excellent defensive record at the Emirates.
'For all Liverpool’s attacking brilliance they remain fragile at the back and were perhaps a shade fortunate to win at Craven Cottage on Wednesday. I don’t expect to see the classic that many are predicting.'
Progression to the quarter-final awaits the winner of Saturday's exam, a test the home side will want to repeat in a second leg as it will mean another trip to Merseyside…
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