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Szczesny nears Arsenal return

Jens Lehmann's Arsenal return could prove to be short-lived with Wojciech Szczesny a chance to return in goal against Liverpool on Sunday.

• Wilshere: We can still win title

Szczesny has not played since he came off in the first half of the Gunners' 3-1 Champions League defeat to Barcelona five weeks ago, but Arsene Wenger said he is nearing a return to fitness.

A knee injury to Manuel Almunia meant a recall for veteran German goalkeeper Lehmann in the club's 3-1 win at Blackpool, a match for which the Gunners had no reserve goalkeeper on the bench.

Manager Wenger hopes that Szczesny and Johan Djourou, who had previously been expected to miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder problem, will be fit for the visit of Kenny Dalglish's team. Alex Song (knee) and Denilson (toe) could return but Bacary Sagna (knee) is a doubt while Almunia could also miss out.

"We have no new injuries but we have a big doubt on Sagna,'' Wenger told Arsenal TV Online. "Djourou and Wojciech are question marks. Will they be fit? That all has still to be decided. We have two more days to find out. It could be a possibility that they could be available.

"It's difficult to say what their chances are. We have a big test to see how they survive the training session. That will be very important. Denilson and Song have a chance to be available as well.''

Long-term absentee Thomas Vermaelen has also returned to training but is unlikely to be risked after spending seven months out with an Achilles injury.

"I am not reluctant [to use him] but he is not match-fit yet,'' said Wenger. "He has just joined the team this week so we have to be a bit patient with him.''

Wenger met Stan Kroenke for the first time on Thursday since the American took a controlling share in the club - and the Frenchman assured him that the Gunners' chances of winning the title are still alive.

Kroenke agreed to buy out major shareholders Danny Fiszman (16.1%) and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith (15.9%) for around £234million on Monday to secure a 62.89% controlling share in the club. He is now obliged to make a cash offer for the remaining capital at £11,750 per share. The club's total value has been set at £731million.

After meeting Kroenke, Wenger said: "I think I have a responsibility to bring success to the team, to be consistent at the top and to manage the club well. For me it is important as well that everybody inside the club does what they are responsible for. My focus will be on ensuring the team has a successful run in to the end to the season. We have a lot to play for.''


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