Wigan Athletic travel to Anfield today with relegation staring them in the face. Liverpool did Wigan no favours in midweek by losing at QPR. Despite their loss they remain in 7th place, whereas Wigan are in 19th place thanks to Wolves’ inferior goal difference. Liverpool have lost only one game at home in the Premier League this season, whereas Wigan have won only 3 of their 14 away games. However, Latics’ record against Liverpool over the past couple of seasons has not been bad, winning one and drawing 3 of the last 4 games with them. Liverpool have lost 4 of their last 5 Premier League matches, while Wigan have won one out of the last 14.
It has been a season of profligacy in front of goal for each of these two teams. Had they been more potent in front of goal each would surely have been higher up the league table. The conversion ratios for the two teams reflect their lack of finishing. Latics have a conversion ratio for goals/shots on target of 21% (25 goals, 116 shots on target). Liverpool are also at 21% (35 goals, 163 shots on target). Their ratios for goals/total shots on goal are remarkably similar – Wigan at 8% (from 297 shots), Liverpool at 9% (from 386 shots). As a basis for comparison the ratios for Manchester United are 39% (goals/shots on target) and 21% (goals/shots on goal). At Liverpool they talk about the ineffectiveness of Andy Carroll and the lack of finishing of Luis Suarez. At Wigan we look at three centre forwards – Rodallega, Di Santo and Sammon – and see they have scored only 6 goals between them all season.
So when will the profligacy in front of goal stop for these two teams? Will it be this afternoon? Let’s hope it is Wigan’s profligacy that ends, not Liverpool’s! Earlier in the season the main cause for Latics not scoring goals was because they did not commit enough players forward. Put simply you don’t score if you don’t put players into goal scoring positions. The lone centre forward was indeed a very lonely man. However, things have improved in this respect and last weekend Latics created chance after chance, mainly through the beautiful left foot crossing from Jean Beausejour. But what a waste to come out of the West Bromwich match with only a point!
Team news is that Hugo Rodallega might not make it through injury. David Jones and Mike Pollitt remain out too. Liverpool away is never an easy match. Nobody expects Wigan to win this match or any of the others coming up against Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal. However, they need to pick up some points against the big boys if they are to stand a chance of staying up. So let’s hope that Liverpool will once again be wasteful in front of goal and Latics the opposite. With a bit of luck and fair refereeing (what chance a Wigan player getting sent off today?) Wigan could win this match. Without those two factors in their favour they could get a hiding.