Liverpool team to play Wigan: Reina, Wisdom, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Allen, Gerrard, Enrique, Suso, Sterling, Suarez.
Wigan team: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, Beausejour, Watson, McCarthy, Maloney, Di Santo, Kone
Liverpool versus Wigan is an unlikely mid-table which pitches the man who got the job, Brendan Rodgers against the man who claimed he was the first choice, Roberto Martinez. Liverpool heads into this Northwest derby without a win in their last five games with the Latics and one less win in the league this season.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 6 games and stand a point and a place below their Wigan however the Anfield’s club failure to turn draws into wins has hampered them severely this season and Rodgers knows that he will need to start clocking up the wins if he is to reach his target on an improvement on last season’s 8th place finish.
Wigan meanwhile are and come into the game on the back off a 2-1 loss to high flying West Bromwich Albion although they will head to Anfield confident they can match last season’s 2-1 win, which was the first time they had won at Anfield and also scored more than one goal against the Reds.
Rodgers and his predecessor Kenny Dalglish have endured an annus horribilis at Anfield winning just three Premier League game out of 15 in 2012.
Liverpool will be boosted by the return of Pepe Reina after a five week absence with a hamstring injury. The Spaniard will take over between the posts from Brad Jones who have proved more than an able replacement in four unbeaten league games.
Brazilian midfielder Lucas has returned to training but isn’t fit enough to for Saturday’s clash however Jonjo Shelvey, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel should all be fit following recent injuries and illness.
Jose Enrique will be looking to keep his place after his man of the match performance in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last week. The Spaniard has struggled to hold down a place this season and his appearance at Stamford Bridge was only his 6th of the season so far.
Wigan meanwhile will be without Albert Crusat and Antolin Alcaraz however James McArthur, who has forced an impressive partnership with James McCarthy this season, returns following a dead leg as does on loan Arsenal winger Ryo Miyaichi.
One to Watch:
Liverpool – Luis Suarez: You probably didn’t see that one coming did you but with the striker in such a rich vein of form it is hard to see anyone else lighting up this encounter. The Uruguayan International, linked with a move to Manchester City this week, is currently joint top scorer in the Premier League this season with 8 goals. His tally represents more than half of Liverpool’s 14 league goals so far this season.
Wigan – Arouna Kone: The Ivory Coast striker has settled well into life in English football with 4 leagues goals and two assists already this season. With 17 completed dribbles he is also not afraid to take on his man and Liverpool’s back line will face a difficult task in trying to keep the 29 year old former Levante man quiet.
Prediction: Despite their recent run of form against Wigan expect Liverpool to keep their unbeaten run going only this time with a win.
Probable line up’s:
Liverpool – Reina; Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique; Allen, Gerrard, Sahin; Suso, Sterling, Suarez
Wigan – Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Maloney; Kone, Di Santo.