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Mane expected to start as Liverpool tackles Athletic

Liverpool FC continue to step up their preparations for the 2016/17 season, as they travel to the DW Stadium to take on a resurgent Wigan…

Liverpool FC continue to step up their preparations for the 2016/17 season, as they travel to the DW Stadium to take on a resurgent Wigan Athletic on today with new signing Sadio Mane expected to be in action.
This will be their third friendly before the start of Jurgen Klopp’s first full campaign in charge, having already enjoyed 1-0 and 5-0 victories over Tranmere Rovers and Fleetwood Town respectively.
 The Reds endured somewhat of a transitional period last season after the arrival of Klopp following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers but, despite reaching the final of the Capital One Cup and UEFA Europa League, they will have been very disappointed with an eighth-place finish in the Premier League.
 Klopp should be aiming to challenge for the top four at the very least this season and, without the distraction of European football, his squad should be fairly fresh throughout their quest.
 He has already set his intentions by splashing £34 million to bring in the exciting attacking talent of Mane from Southampton, and will be keen to sign more players in the pursuit of improving the Reds’ league position and possibly capturing a trophy during the forthcoming campaign.
 Liverpool have only lost once at the DW Stadium, but Wigan will be hoping to change that as they prepare for their return to the Championship.
 In his first full season in the dugout, Gary Caldwell guided the Latics back to the second tier at the first time of asking – notably masterminding a 20-match unbeaten streak along the way, while his side have tasted defeat just twice in 2016.
 The Scot is ensuring that Wigan are fully prepared and ready for the challenge, as they will also face off against Manchester United on Saturday before taking on Liverpool the following day.
 New signing Stephen Warnock could play against his old club on Sunday while former Red Devil Nick Powell, who spent the 2013/14 season on loan here, has just completed a permanent move to the Latics.
 So far, Wigan’s preparations have produced goalless stalemates against Sporting Braga and Chester FC, but simply avoiding defeating against the Reds would give their confidence a huge boost ahead of the quest for stabilisation in the second tier before pushing towards a possible return to the Premier League.

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