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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

McClaren looks beyond Germany friendly

Steve McClaren is as keen as anyone to see Germany beaten at Wembley on Wednesday - but the England coach will not lose sight of the fact his main task is to snare maximum points from next month's Euro 2008 double-header with Israel and Russia. Skipper John Terry, vice-captain Steven Gerrard and senior men David Beckham, Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen have all be named in McClaren's 28-man squad despite varying doubts over their fitness. Yet for McClaren it is not so much getting the quintet on the pitch that counts. While he would like to avenge the loss to the Germans on the day the old Wembley closed by beating the three-time world champions, he would gladly sacrifice defeat if it ensured picking up six precious points in September. 'I don't think England against Germany is ever a friendly,' he said. 'It is a game we are aiming to win but the key thing is to come out of it and be able to say we are in better shape going into those two important games next month. 'What I have to have over the next couple of days is talk to the players, the managers and the medical people and see if it is viable for certain players to be able to train with us. 'Ideally, I want is to get the squad together and talk about where we are going. 'By Monday morning, everything will become a lot clearer. 'Then I will be able to reflect on things and decide whether it might benefit certain players to be involved for 30 minutes and others not to be involved at all.' The likely absences of Hargreaves and Gerrard will probably hand Michael Carrick the chance to operate in central midfield alongside Frank Lampard, while Sol Campbell stands by to win his 70th cap if Terry is not fit enough to start in central defence. Such a mass of injuries are hardly ideal for McClaren, who has had to revise his plans once already after Wayne Rooney fractured his foot in Manchester United's opening game against Reading last week. 'We have a certain way of playing when Wayne is available and that has obviously changed,' said McClaren. 'The frustration and devastation in his voice when I spoke to him on Sunday was obvious. 'His enthusiasm to play for England is enormous but we have overcome situations like this in the past and we will do so again. 'One man's loss is another man's opportunity. We will look at the alternatives and choose our team accordingly.'