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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Martinez's woe at wretched Everton

Everton
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Vermaelen absent for Asia tour

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen will miss the club's pre-season tour of Asia with a back injury. • Blog: Bendtner needs to get real Vermaelen, 27, was not named in the 24-man squad that will travel for matches in Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan. Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal also miss out due to their recent international commitments with Spain while Gervinho is absent through "sickness".

Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has expressed his hope that Jack Wilshere will start the 2013-14 campaign in fine form as he looks to get a full pre-season under his belt. "Jack is back in training and looking really good. He is obviously coming away with us on tour today and the fact he is looking so strong is good news for Arsenal and England," Oxlade-Chamberlain said in the London Evening Standard. "Hopefully, he can stay fit because he is an amazing player and can add a lot to our team. Is he the best kind of signing we can make? Yes. "Everyone is important. Whenever you lose someone it dents the team in some way. If we can keep him fit, it will give us a lot more options and enhances competition for places." He added: "One thing I have realised as he's gone through this, he is a much stronger character on and off the pitch. He has learned from it and has become a better man for it. He does a lot of stuff now to prevent these things from happening. "He works really hard and is the first one in and last one out of training. To come through something like that, having not been able to play for so many months and always stay positive, is really mentally challenging but he did that really well. "Last season he had a good stint in the team and now he is pushing on again." Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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