• Premier League

Liverpool are a major title threat, says Wenger

ESPN staff
February 27, 2014
Arsene Wenger does not believe the Premier League is suffering a slide in standards © Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has echoed the beliefs of Jose Mourinho by claiming Liverpool are emerging as a major threat to win this season's Premier League title.

Liverpool are in the mix for the biggest prize in English football after a strong run of results in recent weeks and currently sit in fourth place, four points off leaders Chelsea.

Following their FA Cup elimination to Arsenal, Brendan Rodgers' side now only have the Premier League to focus on. Arsenal have FA Cup and Champions League games on their horizon as they look to sustain their own title push and Wenger admitted a lighter schedule could play to Liverpool's advantage.

Wenger: Campbell has Arsenal future

Joel Campbell has 'adapted' © Getty Images
  • Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell could still have a future at the club, after he impressed for Olympiakos against Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday.
  • Campbell's fine goal in Olympiakos' 2-0 victory against United in the first leg of their last-16 tie caught Wenger's eye, with the Arsenal boss suggesting he sees signs of improvement from a player he signed from Saprissa back in 2011.
  • "He was good, convincing going forward," Wenger said. "He looks like he has adapted better to the physical side of the European game.
  • "We knew always that he had talent to create something special, but he relied a bit too much on that. He has been with different clubs. He has learned the toughness of the physical part of the European leagues."
  • When asked whether Campbell could return to have a future as an Arsenal star, Wenger said: "Why not have a future here. We brought him to bring him here, so why not."

"Liverpool is in the race and they have an advantage because it's the only competition they play," Wenger said. "Overall, it will be very tight, I hope until the end because that means it will be close until the end and if you are consistent, you will have a good chance to win it."

However, following their recent Champions League loss at home to Bayern Munich, Wenger may now be forced to focus solely upon achieving a domestic double rather than the slim hopes of European success.

Both Arsenal and Manchester City - who lost to Barcelona in their opening leg - find themselves two goals down to their respective opponents ahead of the second legs away from English soil.

Furthermore, Manchester United's defeat at Olympiakos and Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Galatasaray has fuelled the suspicion that England's best clubs are no longer contenders for the Champions League crown.

However, Wenger insisted the Premier League is not suffering from a slide in standards, despite the failure of all four English teams to record victories in the first legs of their Champions League last-16 ties and urged caution when discussing that particular trend.

"First of all, you have to remember all four teams came out of the group stage," Wenger said. "That proves that the level is there. After, you cannot judge a general trend on one game. Man City played with ten men, Arsenal played with ten men. City played against Barcelona, Arsenal played against Bayern Munich, the European champions.

"The other two teams are still in position, Chelsea and United, where they can turn the result around. Let's wait for the second game before we discuss a trend. It is one game and very different opponents."

After all of England's top clubs failed to make it through to the quarter-finals of last season's Champions League, the prospect of a second successive season without a Premier League presence in the latter stages of the game's marquee competition must be a concern to the clubs that were the dominant force in Europe not so long ago.

A continuation of this trend could also threaten the Premier League's fourth spot in the Champions League, yet Wenger went on to insist the appeal of the Premier League will be unaffected by their European uncertainty.

"Honestly, the Premier League is the most difficult in the world," Wenger added. "The level is good from first to 20th. This is the only league that has this. There are ten other teams in Europe who can beat the Premier League [teams]. This is what we have seen."

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