29 September 2007

Wigan v Liverpool preview

By Peter Fraser

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez must decide if star striker Fernando Torres will start against Wigan on Saturday.
The Reds travel to the JJB Stadium swamped by footballing debate surrounding the rotation of Torres, who has begun the last two Premier League games on the bench, after he fired a hat-trick in Liverpool's 4-2 midweek Carling Cup win over Reading.
Wigan, though, will be keen to steal the spotlight as they bid to record their first victory over one of the Premier League's top four teams of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
The Latics have lost all 16 of their top flight meetings with the 'big four' in the two seasons since their promotion from the Championship.
Wigan boss Chris Hutchings has decisions to make regarding the fitness of Kevin Kilbane (ankle), Paul Scharner (Achillies), Ryan Taylor (calf) and Andreas Granqvist (foot).
The trio all collected knocks in the 2-1 league defeat to Reading last weekend, but hopes are high they will be available.
Meanwhile, long-term injury absentee Luis Antonio Valencia is said to be well on the way to recovery following knee surgery and he has resumed training, but Saturday's game is thought to be slightly too soon.
Emile Heskey will miss the visit of his former employers as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken metatarsal.
Second guessing a Benitez starting XI is not the easiest of tasks, but captain Steven Gerrard should return to the starting line-up after being named amongst the substitutes against Reading.
Daniel Agger and Xabi Alonso both remain on the sidelines with foot injuries, which implies Javier Mascherano and Sami Hyypia will return having been rested for the trip to the Madejski Stadium.
Andrei Voronin should start up top, but whether he is partnered by the in form Torres remains to be seen.

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