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Premier League preview: Wigan v Liverpool

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is expected to stay on the bench when the Reds head to Wigan in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is expected to stay on the bench when the Reds head to Wigan in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Sterling took England by storm at the start of the season but has not started a Premier League clash since Liverpool’s trip to Manchester United on January 13 with fatigue having started to take its toll on the 18-year-old winger.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has preferred the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Stewart Downing ahead of Sterling over the past six weeks and does not believe the former academy player is ready to start yet.

“This is a kid we’re talking about so we have to take a wee step back,” Rodgers said in the lead-up to his team’s trip to Wigan.

“What he’s done since he stepped onto the pitch against Leverkusen in a friendly to Manchester City, as a 17-year-old, I dare you to look around Europe and tell me a 17-year-old who has made an impact in one of the big leagues.

“There aren’t many.

“It is so mentally and physically draining this league.

“It hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy and played football and earned a contract off that.”

Liverpool head into Saturday’s game on the back of successive victories and should be confident of knocking off Wigan, who sit in 17th position in the Premier League, just above the relegation zone.

In their last Premier League fixture, Liverpool destroyed Swansea 5-0 before winning 3-1 over Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday in the Europa League, although it was not enough to advance to the round of 16.

Wigan will host eighth-placed Liverpool also on the back of two victories, although Roberto Martinez’s men have only one win from their past seven Premier League matches.

Martinez’s side snapped a six-match winless streak over the weekend when they won 3-0 away to fellow strugglers Reading, which came six days after a 4-1 FA Cup triumph over Huddersfield.

Arouna Kone scored two goals in each of those wins and the Ivory Coast striker, who is Wigan’s leading goal-scorer this season, will be one to watch for Liverpool’s back four.

Thu 28 February, 2013
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