Gunners Golden Goose Sneakers counting on fear factor

Arsenal will be hoping the fear factor outweighs Liverpool's vast European experience when the two sides cross swords in an all-English Champions League quarter-final.

Rafael Benitez has guided his side to two out of the last three finals of Europe's elite competition but Liverpool's Spanish boss will also be acutely aware that, on the domestic front, Arsenal has had the edge over his side in recent times.

Arsenal effectively destroyed Liverpool's best chances of silverware last season by knocking the Merseysiders out of both the League Cup and the FA Cup in quick succession.

Gunners defender Kolo Toure believes the mental scars left by those defeats can help his side take control of the tie in Thursday morning's (Australian time) first leg at The Emirates.

"It is an exciting tie," the Ivory Coast defender said.

"Last Golden Goose Sale season we played them four times (twice in the league and in both domestic Cups) and we showed how strong we were - we beat them in three of those games.

"It is going to be really tight, we know that, but we have the quality and I think they will be scared to play against us.

"We need to show them that we have continued to improve and are even stronger than last season. We are used to playing against them, so we know we are in for a battle."

Arsenal go into the match buoyed by having snapped out of a five-match winless run in the Premier League in morale-boosting fashion, the 3-2 win over Bolton at the weekend having been secured from two goals down with 10 men.

But Liverpool is also on something of a high after effectively securing its return to the Champions League next season by beating Everton, its only rivals for fourth spot in the league, 1-0 at Anfield.

Fernando Torres's 28th goal of the season settled the derby clash and gave Liverpool a five-point cushion over its neighbours, as well as some room to breathe ahead of its trip to London.

"For the time being the pressure is off because we have got the five-point gap, even if we have a lot of hard games to come," admitted Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who has recently seen his role in the first team evolve to the point that he is now virtually a support striker for Torres.

-AFP