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Arsenal vs. Liverpool: Will Alexis Sanchez rub salt in Brendan Rodgers’ wound by scoring against him?

02 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Arsenal vs. Liverpool: Will Alexis Sanchez rub salt in Brendan Rodgers’ wound by scoring against him?

The Reds boss thought he had Sanchez lined up as Luis Suarez’s replacement, only for the Chilean to choose Arsenal instead

The moment Luis Suarez sunk his teeth into the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini, seconds before Uruguay defender Diego Godin scored a late goal to knock Italy out of the 2014 World Cup, the airwaves, newspapers and websites were filled with reaction and comment on The Suarez Problem.

But back in England, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was wrestling with his own Suarez problem – and it had nothing to do with the striker’s propensity to gnaw on his opponents.

By then, Rodgers knew his number one goal-getter would be leaving the club to sign for Barcelona. Liverpool needed a replacement.

But how to replace one of the world’s best players? Rodgers thought he had the answer: Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean was surplus to requirements at Barca now they were getting Suarez, and his energetic style and scoring prowess would have seen him slot perfectly into the team Rodgers had built at Anfield. Liverpool could continue their progress and perhaps even capture the title they had so nearly won in 2014.

Just one problem: Sanchez chose Arsenal.

Some said it was because his wife wanted to live in London. Arsene Wenger claimed it was because the Gunners offered him a better chance of winning trophies and could demonstrate greater consistency in the Champions League.

Either way, for Rodgers it was “bitterly disappointing.”

“He’s a world class player with outstanding quality and even bigger work rate. He would have been perfect for us,” the Reds boss lamented.

And you can’t help thinking he is right. While Sanchez slotted in perfectly at Arsenal, bagging 19 goals already, Liverpool spent the first half of the season in form that was patchy at best, and desperately lacking a front man capable of playing the game high in pressing and intensity that Rodgers favours.

This Saturday the two sides face each other at the Emirates and you could forgive Rodgers if he finds himself stealing envious glances in Sanchez’s direction.

Still, he does seem to have come up with a system that works and the Reds have been in good form since Christmas. Indeed, their 2-1 reverse to Manchester United was their first defeat in 14 league games.

Their aim is clear: a top four spot or bust. They have a five point deficit to United they need to overhaul, but the Emirates is probably the last place they want to be going right now.

The Gunners have won their last six on the bounce and are hunting down Manchester City who are in second, just a point ahead.

Not all is rosy in the Gunners garden however: Alexis Sanchez has just one goal in his last 12 games. What price on him finding his shooting boots against his former suitors?