Rafa not scared of Gunners

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Benitez: In confident mood

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Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has rejected claims that his side are scared of Arsenal ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash.

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Arsenal defender Kolo Toure had stoked the fires ahead of Wednesday's quarter-final tie, live on Sky Sports 2, after suggesting Liverpool were running scared of The Gunners.

Benitez has shrugged off the suggestion and believes Liverpool's European experience could prove vital in the all-English encounter.

"Are we scared of Arsenal?" Benitez asked on Tuesday, before answering his own question with an emphatic: "No."

"When we play in Europe we have a lot of confidence and playing against Arsenal we beat them 4-1 at Anfield last season.

"This season we drew 1-1 and we had big problems because Torres was injured. We played 45 minutes with him not fit, and after we had a problem with Alonso.

Job

"I think we can beat them if we do our job and we work as hard as we were working before."

Wednesday's meeting at Emirates Stadium is the first of three games between the pair in a week and Benitez believes knowing each other's game inside out will not prove to be an advantage for either side.

"I think it's the same situation for both teams," said Benitez. "We had the same problem with Chelsea in the last three years and now in a few days we will play three games against Arsenal, so I think it's more or less the same situation for both."

Benitez reported no fresh injury worries for the trip to North London and indicated Javier Mascherano is set to return to the starting line-up after being suspended for the Merseyside derby win over Everton.

"Agger and Kewell are the only players who are injured and the rest of the squad is fit. We had some knocks after Sunday's game but nothing serious," noted Benitez.

Return
When asked if Mascherano will return, Benitez said: "Yes, I think so. He was playing well and he is a key player for us. Normally if he is okay and available he will be there.

"There is a good chance that he will start."