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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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UCL final loss Wenger's biggest regret

Arsene Wenger has picked out his side’s 2006 Champions League final defeat against Barcelona as the biggest regret of his 999 games as Arsenal manager.

Jens Lehmann was sent off during Arsenal's Champions League final defeat against Barcelona in 2006.
Jens Lehmann was sent off during Arsenal's Champions League final defeat against Barcelona in 2006.

• Cross: Past, present and future

Gunners keeper Jens Lehmann was sent off just 18 minutes into the game at the Stade de France against Barcelona, with 10-man Arsenal taking a lead through Sol Campbell before eventually losing to late strikes from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti.

Champions League success continues to elude wenger's long tenure at Arsenal, and he feels the sending off turned the game in the opposition’s favour.

“I would like to replay the Champions League Final with 11 men in 2006,” he told Arsenal player. “It will be the regret forever.

“It has happened to us again with Bayern [this season]. That game I would love to have seen what would have happened if we stayed 11 against 11 against Bayern. These were huge games with so much at stake and you feel you cannot play with all your cards.”

Wenger picked out another match against Barca, the first-leg win over them in their last-16 tie of 2011 -- which they went on to lose -- in 2011 as one of the highlights of his reign as Gunners boss, as he reflected on his time at the club ahead of his 1,000th game in charge against Chelsea on Saturday.

“It looks to me like I started yesterday,” he added. “Where did the time go? I can’t believe it is such a long time. You always focus on looking forward, but when you look back, you think I have made quite a distance here.

“Despite that, the only interest is in the next game, the hopes for the next game, the desire for the next one. You go step by step, but I have to say it is an honour to manage a club of that dimension for such a long time. I thank everyone in the club for showing me faith for so long.

“What we have achieved together is transforming this club in a modern way. It is now a much bigger club that is respected and loved all over the world and everyone at the club has contributed to that.

“We have done that without losing respect for the traditional values of the club, respect of the people who built this club. I am very proud that we have done this.”

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