Arsene Wenger expects Alexis Sanchez to face Liverpool, defends Mesut Ozil

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Alexis Sanchez should be fit to return to action against Liverpool next week, while he has defended Mesut Ozil's performance against Stoke.

Sanchez, who has under a year left on his Arsenal contract and has been heavily linked with a summer exit, has missed the club's start to the season due to an abdominal strain.

Without the Chile international, Arsenal have struggled past Leicester in their Premier League opener while suffering a 1-0 defeat at Stoke on Saturday, though Wenger is hopeful he will have his star man back at Anfield next Sunday.

"If all goes well through the week, he should be available to be selected for the next game, yes," Wenger told reporters.

Wenger also spoke about another player whose Arsenal deal is due to expire next summer, backing Ozil's display against Stoke.

The Germany international's performance and attitude came in for criticism after the game from pundits including Martin Keown and Steven Gerrard.

"I think he did fight," Wenger said. "It is difficult to single anybody out. I believe we had many, many chances and personally I don't think he deserves [criticism]."