Football

Wenger: why Alexis snubbed the Reds

Arsene Wenger has hinted that Alexis Sanchez chose to move to Arsenal ahead of Liverpool due to a near-guarantee of Champions League football.

Wenger's Arsenal, who have qualified for the knockout stages of Europe's elite competition for a 15th consecutive season, tomorrow face a Liverpool side who were Premier League runners-up last term but are toiling this season.

The Reds are out of the Champions League, having qualified for the first time in five years, and 11th in the Premier League entering this weekend's fixtures.

Much of the difference between Liverpool last term and this has been attributed to the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

While Wenger declined the opportunity to appraise tomorrow's opponents, he offered an opinion on why Sanchez moved to the Emirates Stadium, rather than swop places with Suarez.

The Gunners boss said yesterday: "All the players want to play in the Champions League. It's quite simple. We have quite a good continuity on that front."

Wenger persuaded Sanchez to move to Arsenal after meeting his agent during the World Cup last summer and then spoke with the Chile forward.

Wenger said: "I just tried to convince him that the way we play football would suit him."

Sanchez will experience the hectic Christmas calendar for the first time.

"He benefited from the fact I didn't take him to Galatasaray," Wenger said.

"He needed a little breather. It will have helped him.

"Players are used to a break over Christmas. The players from South America used to go home and in England they cannot do it.

"It's a shock for the system for everybody. Many of them suffer physically."

- PA Sport.