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Wigan V Liverpool at The DW Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 21 Dec 2011 19:08:18
Wigan cannot afford to approach Wednesday`s clash with Liverpool looking for anything other than a victory, according to manager Roberto Martinez.
Athletic's form has improved over recent weeks, with a 2-1 win at West Brom followed up by an impressive 1-1 home draw with Chelsea on Saturday.
Martinez`s side remain in the drop zone, though, with a poor start to the season proving difficult to recover from. And with that in mind, the Spaniard has dismissed suggestions he and his players would be happy to take a draw from their meeting with Kenny Dalglish`s in-form Liverpool at the DW Stadium.
"We don`t have a choice," Martinez, whose side have not lost to the Reds at home in four years, told his club`s official website, www.wiganlatics.co.uk. "In any other season, as a mid-table team, you have that choice.
"But where we are, we have a very desperate need of points. At the start of the season we were punished for dropping points when we shouldn`t and now every game is an opportunity to get those points back."
Striker Hugo Rodallega is Wigan's only fitness concern. The Colombian striker suffered a knock during Saturday`s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, which was his 100th appearance for the club. He will be assessed over the next 24 hours.
Defender Emmerson Boyce (hamstring) is back in training, but is unlikely to play any part.
Liverpool vice-captain Jamie Carragher may currently be unable to win back his place in the first team, but manager Kenny Dalglish believes the experienced defender's influence is still being felt on the pitch.
The Bootle-born former academy graduate, who turns 34 next month, was injured in the Carling Cup tie at Stoke in late October and, despite returning to fitness, has had to settle for a place on the bench.
That is a result of the form of centre-backs Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel who, in the seven matches Carragher has missed, have helped keep four clean sheets with the team conceding just three times.
"I don't think they (Agger and Skrtel) have ever looked a bad pair but the both of them are playing very well," said the Scot.
"They know how to play. Jamie being beside them when they came in at first has been a fantastic help to them, as he has been for a lot of people here. "You can't under-play what Jamie has done for the two of them but they are more than capable of standing on their own two feet.
"Competition is always helpful but it is not as though the two boys are novices, they are seasoned international players and Daniel is going to Euro 2012 (with Denmark)."
Liverpool manager Dalglish has no new injury worries. Midfielder Jay Spearing serves the final game of his three-match suspension while captain Steven Gerrard (ankle) is still not ready to return from a two-month lay-off. Forward Craig Bellamy may be rested having played 89 minutes of Sunday's win at Aston Villa.
Wigan V Liverpool - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.