Jens Lehmann is confident Arsenal have the quality to get a positive result against Liverpool at Anfield tonight.
Arsene Wenger’s side could move to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham with victory over the Reds, who have lost only once at home in the Barclays Premiership this season, to champions Chelsea.
However, with six defeats from their 12 away games, Arsenal will need to produce one of their best displays of a campaign which has, so far, failed to live up to previous high standards.
They at least received a boost with the news a scan has shown Jose Antonio Reyes suffered only heavy bruising in a clash with Bolton’s Abdoulaye Faye on Saturday, allaying fears the Spanish striker may have broken his leg.
It is not known whether he will return for the Champions League clash with Real Madrid next week.
Wenger has also seen his options boosted by the return of experienced centre-back Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue from African Nations Cup duty, and Lehmann feels even with an injury-hit side, the Gunners can turn in a match-winning performance.
“Liverpool are a good team, but football wise I think we can cope with everybody. The rest is down to us,” the German declared. “If we win then we will be close to them [in the table].”
Lehmann feels the addition of recent signings midfielder Abou Diaby and Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor have added strength to the Gunners’ side, and also praised the way other youngsters have risen to the challenge in what has been a make-shift defence because of injuries.
“Size-wise the two new guys have helped,” reflected the Arsenal keeper, who has been asked by the Football Association to explain his post-match criticism of referee Howard Webb following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bolton.
“It is always important when you have someone up front like Adebayor who wins the headers, while Abou Diaby has showed that he has great skills.
“And do not forget others like Seb Larsson, who has gone from being a right midfielder to being a left full-back and is doing fantastically well. Then there is Mathieu Flamini too.
“It is a big a challenge for them.”
With the likes of England duo Sol Campbell (ankle) and Ashley Cole (thigh) still not match fit and Lauren out for the season with a knee problem, Wenger has been forced into fielding some inexperienced players in his backline.
That has meant more has been expected from the likes of midfielder Gilberto.
The 29-year-old Brazilian World Cup winner is ready to lead by example again tonight.
“Since Patrick’s [Vieira] departure, it has been more responsibility for me, but it is something I like,” he said.
“The young guys like Cesc [Fabregas], Mathieu [Flamini] and now Diaby, have done very well.
“It is difficult when a young player joins the team, especially when the team is not playing well.
“They have not had the time to grow, and have had to gain their experience very quickly.
“I try to help them all I can, and they help me as well because they have a lot of strength.”
Gilberto maintains the Gunners have not resigned themselves to finishing outside the Champions League qualifying places, despite their disappointing domestic form.
“It will be hard, but there are a lot of games, so it is a possibility,” he declared.
“We have improved over the last couple of matches, and we just have to keep going now.
“This is what we want to do, because it will be very frustrating for us if we do not finish in the top four.”