Arsenal's Mesut Ozil should be fit vs. Liverpool, Ramsey and Koscielny back
LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Mesut Ozil "should be OK" for Saturday's game at Liverpool despite illness, while Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny are both available after recovering from injuries.
Ozil missed training on Thursday after feeling unwell and his status for the trip to Anfield is still up in the air. But Wenger hinted that he expects the Germany playmaker to be available for the game.
"We'll see, I don't know. He should be OK," Wenger said.
Arsenal did get an injury boost as Ramsey and Koscielny returned to full training this week, and Wenger confirmed that both are fit to feature.
Ramsey hasn't played since injuring his calf in January, while Koscielny limped off with a hamstring problem in the second half of Arsenal' 5-1 loss at Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
"We have Aaron Ramsey back in the squad," Wenger added. "He's back in full training. Laurent Koscielny, who we lost at Bayern Munich, is back in full training as well."
Ramsey's return adds to Wenger's midfield options, but Mohamed Elneny could miss another three weeks with the ankle injury he suffered against Sutton in the FA Cup.
However, Wenger refused to rule out the possibility of Santi Cazorla playing again this season, despite the midfielder having another setback in his recovery from foot surgery. But he also admitted that the chances of a return before May are slim as Cazorla has yet to even begin running again.
"We are now at the beginning of March, so it is very difficult to predict," Wenger said. "When you think that when a player starts to train after such a long time out, you have at least six weeks to be competitive for a place in the team.
"If you add six weeks today, we are already at mid-April so that means it will be short for him now."
Cazorla hasn't played since October, and Arsenal's performances have suffered in his absence. Wenger acknowledged it's been a blow to be without such an important player for most of the season.
"It is very frustrating for us because at the start of the season, he was maybe the star of the team," he said. "Overall it is a big loss for us but I am especially sad for him, for a guy who loves football, when football is so natural, he suffers a lot not to be on the pitch."
Arsenal haven't played since the 2-0 victory at Sutton on Feb. 20 as their league clash with Southampton was postponed because of the EFL Cup final. The break has given Arsenal's players time to recharge their batteries after the demoralising loss to Bayern, but Wenger warned that the team could also "lose a little bit the rhythm of the competition" when not playing.
He said that was evident when Liverpool lost 3-1 at Leicester on Monday after having had the previous weekend off, and urged his team to have a fast start on Saturday.
"Anfield is a special place where the fans are behind their team, where their team plays at a good pace. For us, after a little break, it's important to switch on quickly," he said. "We have seen that's not easy -- Liverpool showed that against Leicester.
"After a break, it's important that you are ready from the start again. You lose a little bit the rhythm of the competition and for us it's vital to start strongly at Liverpool."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.