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Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger said his side did not get the result their performance merited and lamented the "lost composure" among his players following Liverpool FC's equaliser. The 1-1 draw in London has, according to Wenger's opposite number Rafael Benítez, left this UEFA Champions League quarter-final wide open – with the Merseysiders in a particularly "good situation" going into the second leg.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
I feel we were not well rewarded for what we produced tonight. To finish a game like that at 1-1 is very disappointing, but we delivered the performance we wanted and overall we had chances to win. Liverpool created very little and the whole second half was played in their half. I cannot fault the players and we were unlucky in a few circumstances – I don't know how the ball didn't go in when it hit Nicklas Bendtner. It's difficult because Liverpool defended very deep so it was hard to find space. In a game like that you do not make 20 chances, you create four or five and we were punished on the one they had.
We were caught on the counterattack and credit to Steven Gerrard – he showed a touch of class on the goal. Gerrard did well, they played on the counterattack and he's the ideal player to find when you win the ball back. The possession we had compared to Liverpool was frightening. We have the desire to do it [in the return leg] but before that we have a championship game [on Saturday]. We weren't settled when they equalised – you could see it was a big blow to take. We scored the first goal and thought 'OK, let's not get caught' but when we conceded I felt it was like a thunder storm going through the team and we lost composure.
Rafael Benítez, Liverpool manager
I don't think we are favourites. When you play against Arsenal you know they can score in any stadium, but we are in a good position as we are playing at Anfield with our supporters which makes a massive difference. They had plenty of possession and we had to play on the counterattack and work really hard in defence. Arsenal are a good team, they were attacking and we had to defend as we can – sometimes deep – and try to play on the break. We had two or three chances but we gave away the ball at the last pass and that could have been the difference. It was really important for us [to equalise quickly] because if you play against Arsenal, concede a goal and cannot score soon, it becomes difficult.
The away goal is always important because we know if we can score [at home] it will be more difficult for them. It's a good situation for us – difficult but better than before. Arsène Wenger knows it will be a tough game for them and also for us. Arsenal have good players and are very good on the counterattack. [Saturday's Premier League game at Arsenal] will be totally different as it's in another competition so I don't think that will have any influence on the next game.
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