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Liverpool’s second pre-season test will be against the newly relegated Wigan Athletic, who now play in League one. The reds also faced Wigan last year, which was also after the Tranmere fixture, which the reds this year won 4-0. The same result is to be expected this time around. A Liverpool win of course, going into the game the youngsters should be more confident as well as the first team players also feeling fitter and more match sharp. Looking to last years team, it is a relatively strong side however there is also a good amount of youth being played, such as Ejaria, Brannagan and Randall. Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners, both goalscorer’s coming from the bench in the form of Ings and Woodburn. It was a dominant display from the reds. Since then Wigan have only declined in quality, whereas the reds are looking much stronger and so this should be a comfortable game for us. Looking to the current team, bodies will probably still be sore from the Tranmere game, however apart from Karius, nobody played more than 45 minutes and so should be ready for the game. Connor Randall played no part in the Tranmere game, the only player of the 23 that didn’t, although it doesn’t look likely he will see any game time. Salah has now got his work permit, however he still may not be completely fit yet. The same goes for Lallana and Coutinho who have only recently returned to training. Similarly for Mané and Ings they are no where near ready to play a game. Questions should be raised for Harry Wilson, who was in great form for the U23’s last season and it was confusing to not see him feature against Tranmere, and so fans can only hope he’ll play against Wigan, as there’s not much more he can do to earn some game time for the first team. Looking at Wigan, firstly at signings and departures, apart from Stephen Warnock who appeared in 45 games last season, leaving to Burton Albion, there are no significant changes to the team. They do have some talent in their squad, Max Power is a young playmaker, Will Grigg, who was very much not on fire last season. And their top scorer in the league last season, Nick Powell, who managed 6 goals in the league last season, however 3 of them came in the same game??? In my opinion, this is going to be a game that Liverpool dominate, similar to the Tranmere one. Plenty of possession. A similar style of attack could be seen if a similar team is fielded in the second half of the game, with the fullbacks pushing on and lots of quick passing to break through Wigan. Wigan are also a club in transition, being on their fourth manager since the start of last season, and also now being in League one. They will be hoping for a scalp however there isn’t much chance of that, as we saw Liverpool showing they can score goals from anywhere against Tranmere. I’m not Chris Pajak so I won’t do a starting 11 prediction, however I will highlight some players I hope to see that I think will make an impact. Firstly Joe Gomez. After his Tranmere performance in the second half we saw a calm and assured performance from Gomez, and hopefully this game will be another chance for him to regain some match fitness. Also Trent, he’s looking like an exciting player and hopefully he can again impress in this game, he needs to start to go past players though, and this could also be a chance to see his defensive mettle as he was not tested in that department at all against Tranmere. Marko Grujic. The man has something special, scoring goals and always looking to go forward, he needs to string some performances together and hopefully Jurgen will be able to then put some faith and trust in him going into the competitive fixtures this season. Looking to the attacking talent there is a plethora of choices for Liverpool, Sheyi Ojo looked sharp against Tranmere, however I’d like to see him get a goal or an assist, he’s currently playing for his place in the Liverpool squad, as Sadio Mané won’t be able to play every game this season and so backup for him will be needed. Also Ryan Kent, he looks to have put some bulk on, he’s pacey and has got skills. For Kent he’s not had as much game time for the reds and so is looking to get some minutes under his belt, he needs to persuade Jurgen he can be a Liverpool player going into the season. Finally there’s Dom Solanke, he impressed against Tranmere, with his ability to run in behind, use his target man stature to take balls out of the air, to dribble past opponents and press the defence and pick up on loose balls. Liverpool need a finisher however and his shooting wasn’t too impressive however. However hopefully against Wigan he’ll again put in an impressive performance and also a first goal. Although this is still early days in pre-season, and coming off the back of a game two days earlier, however that’s no excuse for the players not to go out and score plenty of goals. I will predict a 3-0 win. More than the scoreline though I want to see the youngsters play well, as I feel that this is a step up from Tranmere and so despite the downward trajectory Wigan are currently on, they will still be up against a better team. Onwards and upwards the reds.
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