First start for Fowler

Striker Robbie Fowler was handed his first start for Liverpool since returning to the club on a short-term contract last month.

With Peter Crouch out with a heel injury, manager Rafael Benitez paired Fowler in attack with Fernando Morientes, dropping Djibril Cisse to the bench.

Skipper Steven Gerrard returned after missing the 2-0 midweek loss at Charlton with a knee injury, while John Arne Riise and Dietmar Hamann were also restored to the starting line-up.

With Henri Camara not returning from African Nations Cup duty in time, Jason Roberts suspended, David Connolly and Lee McCulloch injured, and on-loan Neil Mellor ineligible to face Liverpool, Wigan boss Paul Jewell had few forward options.

Paul Scharner playing in behind Andreas Johansson seemed the choice, with Matt Jackson taking over from Pascal Chimbonda at right-back with the Frenchman serving a one-match suspension.

Wigan: Pollitt, Jackson, Henchoz, De Zeeuw, Ziegler, Teale, Bullard, Kavanagh, Thompson, Scharner, Johansson. Subs: Filan, Mahon, Francis, Baines, Joyce.

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Gerrard, Alonso, Hamann, Kewell, Morientes, Fowler. Subs: Kromkamp, Cisse, Carson, Traore, Sissoko.

Referee: R Styles (Hampshire)

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