Why Wigan Athletic Can Upset Liverpool This Weekend
The Latics have happy memories of Anfield after their encounter in March last season, and while a change in manager has given the Reds a new feel since then, Roberto Martinez's side continue to grow in confidence and ability.
Here's why Wigan stand a genuine chance of grabbing six points from Anfield in 2012.
Form Good, Results Not
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One way to look at it is that Liverpool are unbeaten in six league games—that's a positive, right?
But the other, more realistic way of looking at it is that despite playing great football, the Reds have been unable to kill the opposition off. Add in a disappointing loss to Swansea in the League Cup and you can start to understand why some fans are disgruntled.
For the large majority of the game Liverpool were the better side at Stamford Bridge last week, yet they still relied on an opportunistic header from Luis Suarez to grab a point.
Anfield witnessed a battering when the Reds played Newcastle, but a defensive lapse again left them ruing two points dropped.
Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel all struck the bar as Stoke escaped Liverpool turf with a goalless draw.
Liverpool simply cannot put their opponents away.
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Anfield used to be a fortress, but now it's seen as a profitable day out for any visiting club.
Liverpool have secured just a single win at home this season—a 1-0 victory over winless Reading—drawn three games they should have won and lost two disappointing affairs.
In all of 2012, just three wins have been acquired on home turf and this remains one of the more depressing, long-lasting hangovers from Kenny Dalglish's reign.
With performances—but not results—improving, Reds fans on the whole still worry about upcoming home fixtures, no matter who the opposition is.
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Liverpool 1-2 Wigan Athletic, March 24, 2012.
Roberto Martinez hailed his players as titans on this day and praised the "historic win" for the club (via BBC Sport).
Conversely, Kenny Dalglish blamed "tiredness" and an "inability to pass and move" for an abject performance, and the Scot's physical demeanor told the whole story—spirits were low at the camp.
Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell did the damage that day, and who's to say they can't step up to the plate again in a match that no one expects the Latics to win?
Martinez Is onto Something Special
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Roberto Martinez thinks his team are very, very close to putting together a strong run of form that could see them exempt from a relegation scrap this season (via Football.co.uk).
He's doing things the right way, and that's paramount to attracting key signings. Arouna Kone admitted it was the footballing philosophy in place in Lancashire that helped him make his decision to move (via The Mirror).
The Spaniard will bring his principles to Anfield again and ask his team to go toe-to-toe with Brendan Rodgers' men.
He's beaten the Reds on this ground already in 2012, and that's not the only scalp he's achieved. Victories over Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal and Newcastle are the reason Liverpool tried to poach Martinez for themselves this summer.