Wenger taking no pleasure from Liverpool exit

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The Independent Football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains he takes no pleasure in seeing rivals Liverpool fail to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Reds' disappointing campaign hit its lowest point last night, despite Rafael Benitez's side winning their own Group E encounter 1-0 against Debrecen in Budapest, as Fiorentina's victory over Lyon sent the five-time European Cup winners into the Europa League.

Wenger, though, insisted there was no sense of satisfaction in seeing another English club, and potential threat later in the competition, crash out.

"If you say to me I want all the big teams to be out, it is impossible," said Wenger, whose own team qualified with a match to spare after they beat Standard Liege 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

"I believe you look at your own performances and if Liverpool are out, somebody else strong is in."

Wenger continued: "When you depend on the results of another team you are in a bad position.

"They did the job tonight but you always favour Fiorentina at home against Lyon, especially when they are on a good run and have an opportunity to qualify for the first time in the history of the club if they win at home.

"I believe it is important to win your home games because what happened to Liverpool was that basically they lost at home to Lyon in the last minute.

"That cost them the qualification, even with a draw Lyon would have two points less and Liverpool one point more.

"In the Champions League qualifying group you cannot lose at home."

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has called on his side to lessen the blow of missing out on the Champions League knockout stages by winning the Europa League.

And Wenger said: "It is very difficult to say how much impact it has on the team. They can respond well and say 'let's do well in the Europa League'."