Football

Wigan Athletic v Liverpool, Mon 8 Mar 2010

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Wigan boss Roberto Martinez expects to have an almost fully-fit squad to choose from for the visit of Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League.

Charles N'Zogbia will undergo a late fitness test but should have overcome his knee injury in time.

The same applies to Paul Scharner (groin), who came through an international with Austria this week.

Steven Gohouri is the only major doubt as he continues his recovery from a back problem.

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson is set for a comeback at the DW Stadium.

The England full-back has been sidelined with a knee problem since the end of December but is on the verge of a recall.

Daniel Agger's knee injury sustained against Blackburn last weekend is unlikely to keep him out while fellow centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos returns after a three-match suspension.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will warn his players against complacency by pointing to December's defeat at Portsmouth.

Having beaten the Latics three days previously, the Reds travelled to Fratton Park to face the Barclays Premier League's bottom side only to be beaten 2-0.

Liverpool have lost just once since then - at Arsenal - to haul themselves back into the race for Champions League qualification.

A win would lift them back into fourth as FA Cup action means none of their major rivals have league fixtures this weekend.

At the other end of the table Wigan are embroiled in a relegation battle after just one win in 13 matches, but Benitez is wary of reading too much into that statistic.

"In the Premier League you don't have too many easy games. Wigan are a club fighting for relegation so it will be very difficult for us," said the Spaniard. "Because Wigan are at the bottom of the table people will say `You have to win this game', but we know it is not just this one. It will be Portsmouth, United or someone else so we have to be ready for every game."

Martinez believes fourth place is Liverpool's to throw away.

"They have got great experience in trying to achieve the aim they are looking for and, whoever is going to have that composure and calmness in the next 10 or 11 games, which they have got, it's going to make a big difference," Martinez said.

"Looking at the Liverpool squad and the other squads around them, that position is theirs to lose.

"Looking at the quality of their individuals, you are talking about world-class players, and the experience and know-how of those players, playing together for a long time, and the knowledge of their manager - I think it is for Liverpool to lose, the fourth spot."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Wigan Athletic
Liverpool
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