Wenger prepares for Gunners' 'moment of truth'
Arsene Wenger insists an in-form Arsenal can 'beat everybody in the world' as the Gunners enter their 'moment of truth'.
Tomorrow night's clash with Liverpool at Emirates Stadium in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie begins a four-match spell which will end with Wenger's men either still having it all to play for, or facing up to another barren campaign.
Arsenal face the Reds three times in the space of a week - with their Barclays Premier League encounter sandwiched between two European ties - and then head to Old Trafford to take on leaders Manchester United on April 13.
The manner in which his men fought back from going 2-0 down and seeing midfielder Abou Diaby sent off to secure a morale-boosting victory at Bolton on Saturday - their first in the Barclays Premier League since February 11 - was not lost on the Gunners boss as he prepared his squad for their latest European adventure, albeit against more 'local' opposition.
Arsenal booked their place in the last eight of the Champions League with a superb victory over holders AC Milan, winning 2-0 in the San Siro.
To progress further towards Moscow, the Gunners must also dispose of the 2007 runners-up.
Yet Wenger - who guided Arsenal to the final two seasons ago - has full confidence in just what his side can achieve when on form.
'We feel we can beat them and that is the most important thing,' Wenger insisted.
'On the day, it is about producing a good performance.
'If we do - I am convinced we will - we can beat Liverpool, Milan, everybody in the world.
'I want them to play without any restrictions, with no fear. Just with belief that we are a great side and we can achieve it.
'I believe in my team. Is it better or less good, I let you judge. But I believe in the way we play the game and in our quality.'
Wenger accepts Arsenal are now entering the defining phase of their campaign, but feels having so many vital matches in such quick succession could just work in their favour.
'The good thing is that you cannot think too much. You prepare for one game, then focus on the next one. That's very exciting,' reflected the Arsenal boss.
'You know always that if you have done well in the season, when you go into March and April, it is the moment of truth. You work the whole year for that.'
Arsenal now trail leaders United by six points, but there are still key clashes between the top three to come.
Wenger observed: 'While Manchester United have the advantage, they have a difficult schedule as well.
'They have six games to go and four of them are away from home. One time they play against us, and they are at Chelsea as well.'
Wenger declared: 'We believe we can still win the championship and that is not impossible.
'You think I have been fighting since the first day of the season in the championship to finish second? I want to finish first.
'Don't count on us to give up now after all we have gone through since the first game of the season.'
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez believes 28-goal Fernando Torres can prove inspirational as the Reds go in search of a third Champions League semi-final appearance in four seasons.
Wenger accepts cutting off the supply to the £20million Spanish striker will prove key.
'Torres has done extremely well. Even in Spain, he didn't score as many goals as he does now,' said the Arsenal manager.
'We know we have to keep him quiet.'
Wenger maintained: 'I will try to get a balance because they are also good in the air and good on the counter-attack on the flanks.
'[Steven] Gerrard can hit long balls when they win the ball back, especially to [Ryan] Babel.
'Basically, when they get crosses in for Torres, he is dangerous.'
Wenger fully expects an exciting clash tomorrow, despite both sides knowing each other so well.
'We go for it and that always gives the other team a response,' he said.
'I can't speak about Liverpool versus Chelsea, but Arsenal versus Liverpool have always been good games and pacey games.
'Maybe it'll change. We'll see, but I'm not convinced.'
Having guided Arsenal to the Double twice, the European Cup remains the only thing missing from Wenger's CV.
The French coach still plays back the 2006 Champions League final, when the 10-man Gunners were with 14 minutes of victory over Barcelona in Paris.
'If you ask me whether I want to win it, I'd say: 'Yes, of course,' How much? If I stopped my career every day and thought: 'Do I commit suicide, but I haven't won the Champions League', I would hope not as I hope I will have won it by then,' joked the Arsenal manager.
However, Wenger declared: 'Let's make it happen this year. Why should we already be thinking about next year? We are in it. We want to go for it.'