Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday March 7 2010
Roberto Martinez welcomes his compatriot Rafa Benitez to the DW Stadium for this Monday night Premier League clash hoping to get back to winning ways with no victory in the last 9 league and cup games.
The Latics have struggled to cope with the bad weather and heavy pitches, their passing style of football being more suited to good playing surfaces rather than the cabbage patches that they have encountered these past few weeks.
To this end the DW Stadium has had a brand new pitch laid and this should give Martinez` team just the right conditions to get about Liverpool.
With just 11 games left the Latics will be looking to get another 15 points to reach the magical 40 mark though in reality 36 points could be enough this season to keep you a float in the choppy waters of the Premier League so a draw against Liverpool would be considered a good result I`m sure.
Rafa Benitez is chasing points for entirely different reasons, Liverpool are 6th and 4 points behind fourth placed Manchester City and has been said so many times this season it would be a disaster it the Reds failed to make the mark for Champions League qualification come May.
Even though the Latics have been on a terrible slump of late and Liverpool have found a bit of form there is a renewed optimism around the DW Stadium, whether it`s the new pitch or just the midweek international break there is something in the air that suggests that Senor Martinez just might be about to get one over Senor Benitez
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'We want to focus on ourselves and not worry about the teams that play before us.
'We are in the middle of a period were it is hard to get a result but we need to make sure we get a reward for our play.
'We are a good group of players and we need just a little bit of luck to get that change'
'We are going into the last 11 games determined to make that change. It`s going to be a really exciting end to the season.
'We all know about Liverpool, their quality players, their concepts and how strong they are as a team.
'We will need to be at our best but we are playing at home and we have done it before, we need to be confident about ourselves'
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez:
'Wigan are a mix of styles, they have some physically strong players and some players that like to play with the ball on the floor.
'Roberto Martinez likes to play football but some times when you are in trouble you need the physical, trying to find the balance is the key.
'He is doing well, they had the manager change and they always compete at the bottom without big money he must have a clear idea about what he wants to do and this will make it easier for him.
'Every game in the Premier League is difficult, if you analyse the position of Wigan in the table you say this should be easier, but we have experienced this before that it isnt.
'You have to be ready for this game and really focused.'
Steve Gohouri is still out but Paul Schaner and Charles N'Zogbia should both have recovered from their injury problems.
Kirkland; Melchiot, Caldwell, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Thomas, Moses, Diame, McCarthy, N'Zogbia, Moreno, Sinclair, Rodallega, Stojkovic, Scotland, Gomez, Boyce.
The young midfield manhas been a ray of light since making his full debut, long may it continue
Fabio Aurelio is definitely out, Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson will both have fitness tests.
Reina, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Rodriguez, Benayoun, Babel, Gerrard, Mascherano, Lucas, Torres, Ngog, Kuyt, Aquilani, Cavalieri, Kelly, Ayala, Johnson.
World class striker, lets hope he has a heavy tea
Latics and Liverpool have met 11 times
Latics 0 wins, Liverpool 9, draws 2.
Last Five Meetings
16/12/09 - Premier League - Liverpool 2 Latics 1
20/01/09 - Premier League - Latics 1 Liverpool 1
18/10/08 - Premier League - Liverpool 3 Latics 2
02/01/08 - Premier League - Liverpool 1 Latics 1
29/09/07 - Premier League - Latics 0 Liverpool 1
Andre Mariner (Birmingham)
Check out Andre in our Meet The Ref article
Heart says 2-1 Latics win
Head says 1-1
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Date:Sunday March 7 2010
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