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Premier League

Roberto Martinez targeting Wigan victory over Liverpool


Wigan cannot afford to approach tomorrow's clash with Liverpool looking for anything other than a victory, according to manager Roberto Martinez.

Athletic's form has improved over recent weeks, with a 2-1 win at West Brom followed up by an impressive 1-1 home draw with Chelsea on Saturday.

Martinez's side remain in the drop zone, though, with a poor start to the season proving difficult to recover from.

And with that in mind, the Spaniard has dismissed suggestions he and his players would be happy to take a draw from their meeting with Kenny Dalglish's in-form Liverpool at the DW Stadium.

"We don't have a choice," Martinez, whose side have not lost to the Reds at home in four years, told his club's official website, www.wiganlatics.co.uk.

"In any other season, as a mid-table team, you have that choice. But where we are, we have a very desperate need of points. At the start of the season we were punished for dropping points when we shouldn't and now every game is an opportunity to get those points back.

"We approach the Liverpool game, it makes it harder as they have a real quality on the counter-attack and we can't leave ourselves exposed, but the truth is, we are playing at home, we are galvanised by the environment the fans created on Saturday and, on our day, we can beat anyone and that's the mentality we take to Liverpool."

Jordi Gomez scored Wigan's equaliser against Chelsea, stabbing in after an error from Petr Cech.

It was the 26-year-old's fourth goal of the season, and Martinez has likened Gomez, who he also coached at Swansea, to the likes of star Premier League playmakers Juan Mata and David Silva.

"Jordi has been working hard in training and has had to endure adversity more than any other player," Martinez said.

"Technically he is very gifted, in the mould of Juan Mata or David Silva, and it took our fans a bit of time to understand his game, but now I think you can see that understanding.

"The crowd made him feel well, and when you feel loved you can allow your football to talk and that's what he is doing. It makes a big difference as a foreign player when you come in and you have that bond with the crowd, and that's what Jordi has."

Liverpool will arrive in Lancashire on the back of a polished performance in their 2-0 win at Aston Villa.

Dalglish's men are handily placed in sixth, and Martinez believes they will be the strongest Liverpool side Wigan have faced over recent years.

"(They are) very impressive," he said.

"I got the opportunity to see them live against Aston Villa and it gives you the impression they have a lot of very good players, they know what it means to play for Liverpool and have been there a long time.

"Others are having a honeymoon period, they have very good pace with (Craig) Bellamy and (Stewart) Downing, and (Luis) Suarez who is in the moment of his career.

"They have quality all over and this is probably the strongest Liverpool we'll have faced in the last three or four years."