Wigan away, Saturday 2nd March, KO 1730 GMT

LOCAL NEWS
Before the Wigan game, Muscat Reds are receiving their certification as an official international supporters club from the CEO of Standard Chartered Oman.
Qatar Reds will be meeting in the Radisson as usual.
Bahrain Reds will hopefully be getting a venue to see the games together…watch this space.

PREVIEW
Liverpool go to the DW Stadium to face Roberto Martinez’s Wigan Athletic. The Reds secured a comfortable 3-0 win in the reverse fixture at Anfield earlier in the season thanks to a brace from Luis Suarez and Jose Enrique’s first goal for the club. The corresponding fixture between the two teams last season ended in a 0-0 draw, meaning the Reds are without a win at Wigan since a 1-0 victory in 2007 – a winless sequence of four matches. Wigan currently sit just outside the relegation zone courtesy of a superior goal difference over Aston Villa who occupy 18th, with a lot of this down to local hero and Omani goalkeeper, Ali Al Habsi, while Liverpool are in 8th,
ten points behind 4th placed Chelsea.

The match day official for this fixture is: Referee: Martin Atkinson.

TEAM
Goalkeepers: Reina
Defenders: Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c), Allen, Henderson
Strikers: Suarez, Sturridge, Downing

The defence is likely to exclude Skrtel, with Rodgers current favoured line up of Agger and Carra in the center, with Johnson and Enrique providing attacking width. Up front will be Sturridge leading the line, if he passes a late fitness test. Without Daniel as a foil, LFC are looking extremely one dimensional, and the stop gap measure of Shelvey leading the line has done neither the player, nor the club any favours. With Suarez leading the line, he has either been prolific, or isolated, so fingers crossed, Sturridge is back. With DS leading the line, Suarez will be floating, with another winger/attacking midfielder in support. I think everyone would like to see
more of Coutinho, but whether he starts is another question, and probably unlikely. I would personally like to see Assaidi get more chances, and not just because he has a similar surname to me. Which probably means the rehabilitated Downing to start. Suso, Sterling, and Shelvey have all been working with the U21 team so are probably not in contention for this game. In midfield, Gerrard and Lucas are generally automatic starters, which leaves one slot open for Allen or Henderson. I prefer Henderson, as he is more attacking and is showing good form. However, Rodgers may feel this is an easier game, and therefore a good opportunity to try and get Allen back to his previous levels of performance.

STATISTICS
Liverpool’s overall league record against Wigan Athletic:

Total – P: 15 W: 8 D: 5 L: 2 F: 24 A: 10 GD: +14
Away – P: 7 W: 3 D: 3 L: 1 F: 8 A: 3 GD: +5

Biggest away win (overall): 4-0 (2/12/2006)
Biggest away defeat (overall): 0-1 (8/3/2010)

TRIVIA
Pepe Reina and Jamie Carragher have made the most appearances in this fixture for Liverpool with 14, while Steven Gerrard – with 13 appearances – is next on the list from our current squad. As for goal scorers, Dirk Kuyt has scored the most goals with five from 12 appearances but it’s Steve Staunton who has the most prolific return against the Latics – three goals in two appearances – following his hat-trick in the League Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg tie during the 1989/90 campaign.

Liverpool have yet to sign a player directly from Wigan Athletic, but six Reds have made the short trip north to join the Latics. Chris Kirkland is the most recent and most expensive, after he signed a permanent deal with Wigan in October 2007 for £3.5m following a successful period on loan.

This will be our 800th fixture in the Premier League, a milestone only six other clubs can reach this weekend.

ODDS
Home win 30%
Draw 30%
Away win 40%

Thanks to http://tomkinstimes.com

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