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Wenger: Gunners can keep Van Persie
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits they have to do everything in their power to keep captain Robin van Persie at the club.
The Holland striker scored twice, the second in added time, to snatch a 2-1 win at Anfield in a game in which they had been outplayed by Liverpool for long periods. Van Persie, who will not open negotiations on an extension to the contract which expires in 2013 until this summer, showed how valuable he is to the Gunners by taking his tally to 25 goals in as many league matches.
"We will do anything possible to keep him," said Wenger. "I cannot say much more because I have said that many times. I am very proud that he has grown, having seen the boy arrive here timid and today being the player he is and the leader of the team he has become."
He added: "He is playing under big pressure in every game because he knows he has to score - that is excellent development not only as a player but as a human being. He is up there among the best players in the world."
In truth Arsenal could have been out of the game by half-time had goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny not made a great double save to deny Dirk Kuyt from the penalty spot and also turn a low Luis Suarez shot behind.
Suarez and Kuyt also hit the post in the opening 45 minutes and Wenger admitted they were fortunate to go into the interval at 1-1 after Van Persie's header had cancelled out Laurent Koscielny's own goal.
"It was vital for us to win the game," added Wenger, whose side strengthened their grip on fourth place. "I must say it is hard for Liverpool to lose the game, they had a very good first half and we were not in the game.
"I felt Liverpool played with a pace above us in the first half and our fluency was not there at all and we gave them too much room. But as long as you are not killed off in this Premier League you always have a chance because every team has quality strikers to score a goal.
"We hung on and played as well as we could and our goalkeeper and our centre-forward made the difference today.
"What was flattering for us was to be 1-1 at half-time and in the second half I thought it was much more level."