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Arsenal boss Wenger raps 'diver' Babel ahead of Liverpool clash

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has branded Liverpool winger Ryan Babel a diver ahead of Sunday's big game.

Last season, Arsenal suffered Champions League heartbreak when they were stuffed 4-2 in the second leg at Anfield.

Emmanuel Adebayor's 84th-minute strike briefly put the visitors through to the semis on away goals at 2-2, following a brilliant run by Theo Walcott.

But two minutes later the Reds were given a spot-kick when Babel hit the deck following a flimsy challenge from Kolo Toure.

Steven Gerrard scored and a last-gasp Babel strike simply rubbed in the agony.

Wenger said: "Perhaps our season died after we played Liverpool in those three games . . . . yes.

"At home in the Champions League, we had a penalty that was not given. But at Anfield a penalty was given - and that was the result of a dive. I can say that because Kolo did not touch him. Overall, we had bad luck and then more bad luck. But it's part of the quality of the team to deal with that situation and not to allow that to happen."

Yet Wenger admitted his players could face the same accusations of diving.

He added cautiously: "It's difficult to say you are annoyed about diving, because it can sometimes happen with your own players that they dive.

"It is down to the players and the referee to get it sorted out, maybe with video assistance.

"They are talking about having a referee behind the goal now and that might help. But I am not convinced. Diving has improved, even though I can show you video replays from some 20 years ago when you had some good divers.

"I don't feel any pain about it now. In football everyone can become crazy, as it never happens how you want it to."

About the author

Tribal Football Staff

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