Arsene Wenger has confessed Arsenal's 4-0 hiding at the hands of Liverpool in August will 'hurt for the rest of his life', but has encouraged his side to ease the pain of the past by inflicting a similar fate on the visitors when the two sides meet on Friday night.
The clash at Anfield earlier in the season saw Arsenal receive hefty criticism for falling at the will of the Reds, with pundit Gary Neville labelling the performance from the Gunners as a lack of "respect for the shirt."
The match at the Emirates on Friday could prove decisive in the top four race as Liverpool could establish a four point buffer with Arsenal with a victory, whilst three points for Arsenal will see them climb above the visitors and move back into the top four.
Stopper Petr Cech admitted the loss at Anfield was one of the worst he has experienced and ahead of the game Wenger was asked where it ranked in his career, and he told the Evening Standard: “Well, when you have such a long career as I have, you have some defeats unfortunately that hurt you for the rest of your life.
“I believe what is interesting in football is you always have a time to make up for it. When you can put things right, do it. So, let’s focus on what is in front of us and turn up on Friday night with a completely different performance.
“I don’t worry about the motivation. The motivation is there. This squad has a good mentality and it is about us, to make sure we are on top of our game. We must play with pace and a determined attitude."
Whilst the affair is set to prove vital for the top four, the clash will also see the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the Emirates. The England international made 198 appearances for the Gunners in six-years and started for Arsenal in the 4-0 thrashing, playing 62 minutes before being substituted.
Unsure about which Arsenal will turn up against Liverpool tbh, we can either blow them away 4-1 or end up losing 4-0. We’re such a bipolar club ffs— ً (@afcManyu) December 19, 2017
The 24-year-old then went onto join Liverpool four days later for £40m, but Wenger stressed that his decision to start Oxlade-Chamberlain was not one he regretted.
He added: “It would be not fair to put the defeat at Liverpool, where the whole team had a bad performance, on one player. After that, on the other side, you analyse ‘did you make mistakes or not?’ You cannot go home and say everything was perfect when you lose like we did.
"I rate Alex highly and he knows that. After that, you want all the players to be respected who have played for us.
On his ability to prepare for the unpredictability of Liverpool's lineup and their potent attack, Wenger said: “I have to analyse that well and you have to guess a little bit who will play. It is not always the same - it depends on their personnel.
“The fact we are adaptable to both systems means it will be down to me to make the decision. Do we play in a four or a three or a five?"