WEEKEND POLL: : Memories of Wembley put to one side as Hull tackle Gunners again

Hull City's Jake Livermore.
Hull City's Jake Livermore.
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As a veteran of countless derby tussles while sporting the white of Tottenham Hotspur and who also suffered the heartbreak of last May’s FA Cup final defeat, Jake Livermore can surely be excused for joking: “Oh no, not them again” when asked about today’s trip to Arsenal.

What the Hull City midfielder also insists, however, is that the trip to north London is solely about Premier League points.

Not revenge for Wembley, not settling personal scores and not getting one over the old enemy.

“The result is all that matters,” said the 25-year-old, who made his move from White Hart Lane permanent in the summer after a hugely successful loan spell in 2013-14.

“If it was about revenge or anything else, I would owe them for a few over the past eight years. It is purely the result we are down for. They are a great side and to line up alongside them at Wembley was a fantastic day. It turned out to be disappointing but that is just how football is sometimes.

“Arsenal are a massive club and a great footballing side. They are really what English football is all about. What Arsene Wenger has done is great and it is great to go and test yourselves at that place.

“Put it this way, it is something we are all relishing.”

The focus of Livermore and his Hull team-mates may, indeed, be solely on today’s contest at the Emirates.

But the ghosts of May 17 will not be too far from the minds of everyone else, with the home fans sure to remind their Yorkshire counterparts of how Wenger’s Gunners came back from two goals down to triumph 3-2.

As they fully deserved, Hull won huge praise for their performance at Wembley but Livermore is adamant that game, as big as it was, will count for nothing today.

“It was another game of football,” said the Tigers midfielder. “It was a massive occasion but that is football.

“I thought we gave a good account of ourselves up until they went on to win it. But now we are focusing on what is going to happen at the weekend. We are going to go there with a system and with confidence that we won’t come back empty-handed.”

Livermore is one of three former Spurs players likely to start today with Tom Huddlestone and Michael Dawson also sure to be on the end of some choice words from the home fans.

None of the Hull trio, however, is likely to be fazed. “I am sure we will get a good reception,” dead-panned Livermore before adding: “I have got the odd Arsenal friend.

“Since I have left Tottenham, we have got a bit closer, actually. They call me more. But the majority of them are Tottenham fans, so they will be rooting for us, that’s for sure.

“As for how I have done against Arsenal for Tottenham, I can’t really remember. But, as you would expect, they have always been pretty close games.

“But regardless (of who you play for), going to the Emirates is a fantastic occasion. Anything can happen and, hopefully, we can come away with something.”

Hull, of course, do have previous for winning at the impressive home of Arsenal. Six years ago and during what were an incredible first few steps in the top flight, Phil Brown’s Tigers became only the second side to win at the newly-built Emirates thanks to goals from Geovanni and Daniel Cousin.

Since that famous 2008 
triumph, Arsenal have won the last seven meetings but Livermore insists that Hull are not intimidated by the home side being strong favourites.

“People may say they are the best team on paper,” he said, “but we played Liverpool last season and beat them (3-1). We then went to other teams and perhaps looked better on paper than them but that didn’t stop us losing twice to Crystal Palace.

“That is the Premier League for you. Once a team gets through one campaign, it tends to become about the points, rather than the stature of Arsenal or Manchester United or whoever. That is where we are at now.

“It is 11 shirts against 11 shirts and we know we have to work just as hard, if not harder, than them. Hopefully, that means we will come back with something.

“We are looking forward to going to Arsenal. We are quietly confident in what we have got as a squad and what we have built over the past year.

“People can see we have been scoring goals. That is great because it breeds confidence throughout the team. A couple of the new lads have come in and been fantastic and hopefully we can build on that.

“We have improved the squad and the team, and we can give it a good go. Hopefully, in the long run, we will be challenging big teams.”

Livermore, who missed just two games last term, has been an ever-present in the league since making a permanent switch to East Yorkshire for £8m in the summer.

His form has been good, the partnership with Huddlestone, in particular, continuing to develop, while the arrival of Mohamed Diame has made the midfield area even stronger.

“I’m never going to be satisfied with how I am playing,” said the former Tottenham junior. “That is how I have always been.

“I won’t be happy until I have realised my full potential. When that day comes, we will talk about it.

“But, at the minute, I will just keep striving to put in performances for the manager and the fans. This is a good club to be a part of. I saw that last season, even though I was only on loan.

“I felt as if I was part of the squad last season. Since then, the team has built up around us, in terms of other players being brought in. I almost feel as if I’m not new.

“There is real quality here. That’s what football’s all about, pushing yourself and playing alongside other great players. We can all strive as a team.”