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Alexis Sanchez to miss Arsenal’s clash vs. Liverpool

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal FC

Shaun Botterill

Good news Arsenal fans: Alexis Sanchez is nearly back.

Bad news Arsenal fans: Alexis Sanchez will not play at Liverpool on Wednesday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

[ MORE: Klopp warns Guardiola ]

Speaking to the media ahead of the table-toppers’ trip to Anfield to face Jurgen Klopp’s battered and bruised squad, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed that Sanchez is nearing a return to full-fitness after he suffered a hamstring injury against Norwich City on Nov. 29.

“We think he will be short for Wednesday, he has a chance to be available for Sunday [against Stoke],” Wenger said. “He is always keen to play. If you listen to Alexis, he can always play - even when he is injured. We try to be cautious. With a muscular injury you never exactly how big the risk but he is very close. If you look at him training he is very close.”

Overall, good news for the Gunners as Sanchez’s time on the sidelines hasn’t coincided with a dip in results -- which was initially feared -- with Arsenal losing just once in eight games since he went down with the latest of his reoccurring hamstring injuries.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Wenger took plenty of stick when he risked Sanchez and played him during the draw at Norwich back in November, as he admitted the Chilean attacker was struggling with a hamstring complaint in the build-up to that clash.

Following a summer away with Chile where he won the 2015 Copa America and then a shortened preseason, Sanchez’s injury has forced him to take over a month off and in the long run having him fresh and rejuvenated will be a big boost. The fact that Sanchez didn’t have to slog his way through the festive campaign is a bonus for Arsenal as they aim to stay on top of the PL and also prepare for a UEFA Champions League showdown against Barcelona in February.

Other team news ahead of the trip to Liverpool sees David Ospina facing a late fitness test, while Tomas Rosicky is nearing a return from his long-term injury but won’t be ready.

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