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Sanchez to return against Liverpool as Wenger insists Chile star is ´very happy´

24 August 2017 10:17

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez is fit to return for Sunday's Premier League meeting with Liverpool, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

The Chile international missed the Gunners' opening two games against Leicester City and Stoke City due to an abdominal strain, meaning he is yet to make an appearance since the final of the Confederations Cup on July 2.

Wenger said the 28-year-old is ready to be involved at Anfield, but would not state whether he is set to be named in the starting line-up.

"The early team news is that [Laurent] Koscielny is available for selection and Sanchez has worked very hard to be back again and he's available as well," said the Frenchman.

"He works very hard, is focused and gives absolutely everything. He looks ready. He's not played for a long time so I will have to decide what I do with him.

"I will have to make that decision. It's Thursday and we play on Sunday. He looks in good shape, he's worked very hard."

Sanchez continues to be linked with a move away from Arsenal, with Manchester City reportedly determined to sign him before the end of the transfer window.

Wenger, however, is confident that he will not be sold and has not abandoned hope of extending Sanchez's contract, which expires next year.

"He's always been focused on his job, he loves to play football and I don't think he's too disturbed by the noises," he said. "Players at this level are used to it. Some deal with it better than others and he's one of them.

"He's very focused, very happy. The fact that he's in the last year of his contract doesn't mean we have no chance to extend it. We haven't yet, but we have to look at the team and not focus too much on the individual contracts."

Wenger also confirmed that Sanchez will be allowed to travel for international duty with Chile, despite his lack of game time, and when asked if he expected him to be an Arsenal player when he returns, he replied: "Yes."

The speculation around Sanchez's future has been similar to that involving Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, who is said to have handed in a transfer request in order to push for a move to Barcelona.

Wenger, however, refused to be drawn into the debate over the Brazil star, insisting he does not know enough about his position at the club.

"Every situation is different," he said. "It depends sometimes on what has been agreed between you and the players and I don't know where he stands towards Liverpool or where they stand towards him. I'm not even sure that Barcelona are in for him.

"It's always difficult because you want your players to be happy, but players have contracts as well. In general, you want players to stay when they have contracts, but every situation is different."

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