Football: Liverpool chief Brendan Rodgers believes his side’s FA Cup “hurt” will spur them on at Arsenal in tomorrow’s Premier League clash.
The Reds suffered a humiliating 3-2 fourth-round defeat at League One Oldham on Sunday after Rodgers opted to field a blend of youngsters and first-teamers.
But the Anfield boss, who is set to recall the fit-again trio of Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique, is confident his players will bounce back.
“We’ll get a reaction on Wednesday,” said Rodgers. “Just seeing the players, the small group we had working (on Monday morning), they had a real focus and concentration."
He added: “That hurts and I’m glad it does, because that shows that they care. We’ll enter the game with even greater motivation to win.”
Liverpool’s decent league form of late has seen them move up to seventh, just three points behind the Gunners.
And, after losing at home to the Reds last term Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who ruled out a deal for Barcelona striker David Villa today, is keen to avoid a Cup backlash.
He said: “I think what is important for us is to be us at our best and cope with what Liverpool will offer us.
“It’s a very important game for us now. The run that starts now, I said that after the Chelsea game we cannot afford to drop points.”
The Gunners, who have had David Beckham training with them at their Hertfordshire base, could recall captain Thomas Vermaelen (ankle), while Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are poised to start after being rested for the FA Cup win at Brighton.
Southampton boss Maurcio Pochettino could have club captain Adam Lallana (knee ligaments) back for their trip to Manchester United, while Chelsea travel to Reading without Petr Cech and David Luiz (both calf).
At Carrow Road, victory over visitors Tottenham would be the perfect tonic for Norwich chief Chris Hughton after the Canaries’ FA Cup humiliation at the hands of Luton, while Everton host West Brom and West Ham travel to Fulham.