Wenger: Europa woe ahead for Reds

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger disagrees with suggestions Liverpool‘s exit from the Champions League will ignite their domestic season.

Rafael Benitez’s side have struggled in the Premier League and are in real danger of finishing outside the top four.

It has been argued that their demotion to the Europa League will enable them to focus on reviving their domestic title hopes.

But Wenger insists Liverpool‘s involvement in Europe’s second-tier competition will only complicate matters.

“Liverpool are one big-name casualty so far but I’m not convinced by the argument that it will make them a bigger threat in the Premier League,” he said.

“Playing in the Europa League does not provide an advantage because you play on Thursday night every time.

“Sometimes you play in smaller cities – which means the travelling can be even more complicated than in the Champions League.”

Arsenal travel to Greece to face Olympiacos on Wednesday for their final Group H clash with Theo Walcott expected to be available after suffering from a hamstring injury.

The Gunners have already qualified for the last 16, having won four of their matches in possibly the competition’s easiest group.

But some of Europe’s top clubs, such as Barcelona and Inter Milan, have found their passage trickier after finding themselves on the receiving end of some shock results.

“The Champions League has thrown up a few problems for bigger sides this season,” said Wenger in his programme notes.

“It’s hard to assess exactly why – is it the question of motivation, or maybe one of a levelling in quality?

“Maybe the fact that all over Europe, everybody knows everybody, it’s well organised and has a good scouting system, does level things a bit.”

Walcott wants Arsenal to complete the group phase with an emphatic victory in Greece.

“With all the important games we have coming up, it is nice to get qualifications sorted a game early,” he said.

“We still want to win that game in Greece, we want to dominate the group completely before going into the knockout round.”