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By ESPN Staff
Jan 5, 2007

'Anfield will count against Arsenal' - Bellamy

Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy believes home advantage will be a crucial factor in tomorrow's FA Cup third-round tie against Arsenal.

Over the last year Rafael Benitez's side have restored Anfield's fortress reputation and that will be invaluable as they face their toughest test of the season at home.

None of the Reds' major rivals - Manchester United, Chelsea or the Gunners - have visited Merseyside in the league this campaign but the team's performances so far have brought renewed confidence.

'In a way it's very much like the Champions League draw in that it could have been much kinder to us,' said Bellamy, referring to the forthcoming two-legged European clash against reigning champions Barcelona.

'You want to make things as easy for yourself as possible and Arsenal's not an easy game.

'But we're at home, and having that advantage will be a key factor for us I think.

'We'll be confident come kick-off and we know the stadium's going to be packed to capacity - everyone's going to be up for it.'

Liverpool have not been beaten at Anfield since the 2-0 defeat by Benfica on March 8 last year, which knocked them out of the Champions League, while in domestic competitions their last defeat came on October 2 2005 with a 4-1 thrashing by Chelsea.

So far this season they have won 14 and drawn two of all their home games, while their last defeat by Arsenal at Anfield came on October 4 2003 in the Premiership.

Bellamy has taken a while to settle in at the club after his £6million move from Blackburn in the summer but has scored four goals in his last seven matches before a hamstring injury forced him to sit out the New Year's Day victory over Bolton.

However, the Wales striker is expected to be fit for the visit of the Gunners and he too is full of confidence.

'What's not to be happy about? I'm scoring, the team's scoring and we're winning games,' he told LFC Magazine.

'I'm just delighted that I'm up and running. I'm loving being at Liverpool and being part of a great team. I'm happy.'