After being outplayed by Chelsea in the first half of their match last weekend, Liverpool rallied in the second 45 to secure what was a deserved point in the end. Once again Luis Suarez was on target for Brendan Rodgers side but looking at the picture, it’s now six draws for the season and that was the problem under Kenny Dalglish during the last campaign. Rodgers will be well aware for the need to turn some of those draws into victories, especially at Anfield but he will have been pleased with his side’s response on Sunday. With just one victory at home all season – against winless Reading – Saturday’s match takes on greater importance and as Wigan are the visitors, the supporters will be expecting both a positive performance and result from the home players.
Wigan recorded a shock win over Spurs at White Hart Lane the last time they played away from home but they failed to follow that up with a win last time out. A defeat against high flying West Brom means they have won only once at home but they have secured one more success away from home. The style of play under Roberto Martinez is one which suits playing on the counter attack and when up against teams who like to play with high defensive lines, it allows the Wigan attack plenty of space to exploit. Tottenham found out firsthand how stubborn an opponent they can be and it’s likely they will set up very similarly on Saturday. Their other away win was against Southampton in the first month of the season – Saints are another side who press high up the park and it’s definitely a tactic of Wigan and their manager to take advantage of that with their pace going forward.
If you take Suarez out of the Liverpool side then the rest of the squad have accumulated just four goals between them. If ever evidence was needed as to how important the Uruguayan then that surely removes any doubt. Liverpool not only have to keep him fit, they must find some support for him in the winter transfer window because despite his excellent record thus far, he’s not a prolific scorer. The manager knows only too well of Suarez’ worth to the side and he’s defending him at every opportunity when he’s been guilty of showing a lack of class at times this season.
In this corresponding fixture last season Wigan defeated Liverpool 2-1. It was one of many impressive performances against the bigger sides. They defeated Manchester United, Newcastle and Arsenal whilst they were undone by a last minute Chelsea goal at Stamford Bridge. They will make the short journey to Merseyside full of confidence knowing that they are capable of creating chances and causing Liverpool problems. Martinez and his players know that a win would see them overtake Liverpool in the Premier League.
I certainly wouldn’t advise backing Liverpool at the prohibitive odds but don’t feel confident enough to suggest Wigan as the selection. Instead, both teams to score looks solid enough as Wigan have failed to score in just one of their last 10 matches against Liverpool and have notched at least once in five games whilst Liverpool have scored at least one in seven of their last eight league games.
Both teams to score 5/6 @ Ladbrokes