Just as the season gets going properly, a good old international break arrivesd to upset any momentum a team may have built up since the last one.
Now the break is out of the way, Rafa Benitez faces up against a man who he has never taken three points off since arriving at Anfield in 2004 – Steve Bruce. Neither while Bruce was manager of Birmingham or Wigan has Benitez managed success over his opposite number.
Liverpool are without star striker Fernando Torres (thigh) after he suffered an injury on international duty for Spain. Also missing is Ryan Babel (ankle), Martin Skrtel (knee) and Phillip Degen (ribs). Javier Mascherano and Lucas Leiva are highly unlikely to be involved due to the 7,000 mile flight from South America and arriving back on Merseyside on Friday.
Up front, Emile Heskey has revived his career under Steve Bruce, including a recall to the England squad. While goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is finally enjoying first team football after an injury plagued time on Merseyside.
Egyptian Amir Zaki is forming a strong partnership with Heskey since his summer move to the JJB and is the top scorer in the league with 5 goals.
Last Season: Liverpool 1-1 Wigan
A Titus Bramble equaliser added to the woes of Liverpool fans on a freezing night at Anfield for the first game of the new year. Benitez was criticised for playing 5 midfielders. Fernando Torres had put the Reds ahead in the match.
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