Are you catholic? I would think that you would be certain of a place at Upton ,if so ,as places are offered to Catholics that pass first. Putting the school second should not prejudice this.Hopefully your dd will get wirral as this is her preferred place.
I have a friend who has also put wirral as first choice but I think upton was third.
We liked wirral but my ds would not have got a place in the boys school the last few years because of distance. He really liked Calday and they did take all the passes last year although they were full and like you have said more children have taken the exam this year which I guess will mean more passes.
My ds third choice is catholic high in chester. He did not do the st anselms exam as the school is to difficult to get to.
My ds wants me to appeal if neither of the grammars take him, but am keeping all my fingers crossed it will not come to that