Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he was resigned to Alexis Sánchez joining Liverpool during the summer transfer window, following the completion of Luis Suárez's big-money move to Barcelona.
Suárez joined the Catalan club from the Reds for £65m, a switch which was expected to lead to Sánchez's move to Merseyside with manager Brendan Rodgers seeking a replacement for the Uruguay striker.
However, Arsenal secured an agreement to sign the Chile international from under the noses of Liverpool, who have endured their worst-ever start to a Premier League season without a genuine replacement for Suárez, with Daniel Sturridge injured and Mario Balotelli failing to find his best form.
Though an injury crisis has damaged Arsenal's start to the season, Sánchez has enjoyed an impressive start to life in north London, scoring 13 goals in all competitions to mask a beginning to a campaign which sees the club 13 points adrift of league leaders Chelsea.
Despite completing a second marque signing in as many summers, following the addition of Mesut Özil from Real Madrid, Wenger admits – ahead of the crunch Premier League clash between the two sides at Anfield – that he initially feared Sánchez would join Liverpool.
"I thought Liverpool was a serious candidate [for Sánchez] because they had Suárez going there [to Barcelona] so you think that's an easy way to do the deal," Wenger said. "But at the end of the day, the player always has the decision.
"Was I worried that Liverpool might get Sánchez? Yes. It could happen. There were some other clubs that were in for him as well.
"The fact is the transfers at that level today always take time to get every detail right so, because it takes time, you think always that somebody else can come in – [like] Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern [Munich] – to do the deal."