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Villa midfielder has grudgingly admitted that Arsenal now call the shots in the race for fourth place, while continuing to state that he will be focussed against Liverpool, despite last summer's flirtations...

Aston Villa's fall from grace has seen them relinquish their stranglehold on a Champions League qualification finish; they have slipped out of the top four places in the Premier League.

Core midfielder Gareth Barry has reluctantly admitted that north London club Arsenal are now in the driving seat in the race for fourth place, however, he is looking on the bright side as he claims the Midlanders are just one win away from turning the tables on their torrid form.

The Villans' next fixture is a trip to Liverpool's fortress, Anfield, a ground that was witness to a spectacular victory of Primera Division heavyweights Real Madrid last week. The Reds then had the audacity to follow that triumph up with a 4-1 victory over north west rivals Manchester United.

Life could have been different for both Villa and Liverpool had Barry's protracted transfer saga resulted in a move to Anfield last summer, yet the England international remained at Villa Park. The player involved has no regrets about the dalliance, stating that it will have no bearing in how he handles the game at the weekend.

He told the Daily Star, "What happened in the summer is over. The fans will bring it back up, as they tend to remember, but once I’m on the pitch, I just do my best.

"The Liverpool game is a big one for me personally and for the team. The team is the priority, but I will just try to play my normal game and do my best for Villa.

"What goes on with the fans I will just try to keep out of my head," he said.

Regarding Arsenal's advantage for a Champions League-placed standing in the Premier League, he conceded, "It’s advantage to Arsenal now.

"They will realise that, but we are one game away from a good display and turning it around again, so we can’t worry too much.

"We must be positive.”

Alan Dawson, Goal.com

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