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The Dutchman is a big fan of the £35m England international and is expecting a tough game against the Reds, who he considers title challengers.

Robin van Persie has warned his Arsenal teammates about Liverpool counterpart Andy Carroll, comparing him to Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer.

Carroll, another former Newcastle player, scored the winning goal at the Emirates last season for the Magpies, but has since moved on to Liverpool for £35 million.

“He’s very strong and reminds me of Alan Shearer in style - holding the ball well, heading it strongly, moving nicely and looking lively in the box," Van Persie is quoted as saying in Arsenal’s matchday program.

The England international has had a mixed time of things since going to Merseyside, but Van Persie said the Gunners will have to be alert to deal with the threat he poses.

“We’ve seen what Carroll can do before - he scored the winner here for Newcastle last season. We’ll need to be on our guard against him."

Liverpool has strengthened its squad in the summer, signing, amongst others, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing.

The Reds had a great second half of last season to get themselves into sixth place in the Premier League, and Van Persie expects them to be challenging even higher than that this year.

“I rate them as title contenders every year, and they look strong this time around,” he said. “You can only look forward to games like these. I’m excited to be playing against them. Our last encounter, in April, was certainly dramatic and started in the 90th minute really! Hopefully we can give the fans a nice experience on Saturday.

“I’ve seen highlights of their match against Sunderland last week, and they seemed unlucky not to win - although I have to say Sunderland looked decent too.”

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