Reading the title to this brief match preview one would be justified to point out that a win against Wigan is the obvious expectation set out by Liverpool fans. There are more reasons to expect such a win, although rest assured that this won’t come easy and I can already imagine a nail-biting finish to the game. Having said this, football games are deceptive so what looks as a fair assumption is not always what’s really in store and many times match previews should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Wigan are third from bottom with ten points having played a total of eleven games, six of which at home. The positive aspect is that Martinez’s team has leaked in a whopping fourteen goals at home and scored only four. They’ve also lost three games at the DW versus the two away. The goal difference stands at minus twelve which must be a tormenting stat. for Martinez – this figure is even more distressing when compared to Wolve’s goal difference which currently stands at minus seven. Wolves are a point behind Wigan in nineteenth place.
Everything points to Wigan playing horrendously infront of the home crowd. The defense is highly suspect and going forward Wigan do not offer particularly enjoyable football. However, don’t be fooled into taking such statistics lightly. Six or nearly half of the goals conceded at home came from a rampant Chelsea, Benayoun scoring a second half injury time goal. Another four goals were let in against Blackpool. Both games were played in August and since then Wigan’s home form has improved drastically bar a blip against a high-flying Man. City side. Apart from the win against Wolves, Wigan have been victorious against Swansea in the Carling Cup. What is worrying is that Wigan have provided a stubborn test against the likes of Bolton, Newcastle and Sunderland holding all teams to a draw.
Whereas during early season Wigan were letting in goals easily, the reverse is now true. Home form has improved and defensively the latics are much more compact and will provide a stern test to a Liverpool side that simply needs the three points to stay in touch with the top four. The conditions are right for Liverpool to move up the table. Tottenham are going through a bad phase and could only manage a draw against Sunderland. The Manchester titans clash today which could easily end up in a draw and Arsenal play Wolves away which is a tricky tie for the Londoners who have not been cutting edge material as of late. The message is simple – Liverpool should not be shy to attack but should do this with purpose and with devastating effect. The players must be focused to score a couple of goals so the usual providers, notably Kuyt, Maxi, Gerrard and now Miereles must be up for it tonight. Torres can’t do it all on his own. He needs the service.
This is a game which will probably see us concede so a top class attacking performance is required. Wigan will not capitulate easily at home and will want to ease out of the bottom three as quickly as is reasonably possible. Liverpool are not the finished article yet and Martinez knows that putting Liverpool under pressure with crosses pouring in from the wings is a sure way of getting something out of the game. Good luck Roy and Liverpool.