Arshavin: Liverpool can finish third

Arsenal forward Andrei Arshavin has admitted rivals Liverpool are virtually out of the title race – but believes Rafael Benitez’s men can still salvage a top-three position in the Premier League.

The Russian’s glorious winner at the weekend helped Arsene Wenger’s side secure a 2-1 victory at Anfield and heap more misery on the Reds.

Defeat – their sixth of the campaign – left Benitez’s side seven points behind the Londoners and 13 adrift of leaders Chelsea – all but ending their feint hopes of claiming their first title in 20 years.

The Merseyside club have endured a disastrous start to the league season and have been dumped out of the Champions League at the group phase.

Arshavin, however, still believes Liverpool have enough strength in depth to recover and wouldn’t be surprised to see them challenging towards the top of the table come May.

“They are a strong team,” Arshavin said in the Daily Mail.

“[Fernando] Torres is back in full training. I think that if they win two or three games over the big clubs, they’ll become favourites again.

“It will be extremely difficult for them to take first place, but I think that they will certainly fight for a place in the top three.”

Arshavin’s stunning strike was his eighth of the campaign and boosted Arsenal’s title-winning credentials following recent defeats against Sunderland and Chelsea.

And the 28-year-old acknowledged Sunday’s victory could be crucial if the Gunners are to harbour serious hopes of overhauling Carlo Ancelotti’s men at the top of the table.

“They are going to play many games at their home stadium, where the fans will only drive them forward,” he added.

“Therefore, it is good that we are coming back to London from this stadium with three points.”