Wigan vs Liverpool: Match Report
These were two teams that are trying to play football like the beautiful game and not just hoofing the ball. Wigan were the team that needed the points more than Liverpool. They had gone on a crazy run of 7 wins in 8 games last season to secure another season in the Premier League, which included beating Man United and Liverpool. This, however, was a completely different game. Wigan were thoroughly outplayed, losing 4-0 at home.
A bright start
The first clear cut chance came 30 seconds into the game. Kone made contact with a cross played into the Liverpool half but the Wigan forward could just tamely kick the ball into Reina’s hand. Moments change games, as a minute later, Coutinho, making his 2nd start for Liverpool, got the ball on the left after a long pass from Reina, ran past a Wigan defender, crossed the ball home for a header to be scored by (not Suarez) Downing. Yes, Stewart Downing, the English winger. You know, the one who was always, erm, good.
Coutinho surely was out to impress. Without Sturridge in the team, Suarez was playing as the striker, with the Brazilian out on the left. A slick passing move from the Liverpool half and a nice one two with Gerrard saw Coutinho play a pass into Suarez, who calmly dummied Al Habsi to slot in his 19th goal of the season. 17 minutes gone, 2-0 to Liverpool. But more was to follow from the Uruguayan.
Things were getting hot, apart from the “Feeling hot hot hot!” chorus being sung out for Coutinho. The Wigan players were having a go at each other. McArthur was flicked, well hit on the head by Boyce for losing the ball and he was not all pleased by the tap on the head. The other Wigan players had to intervene to break up the fracas. Thankfully, no one was sent off.
On 33 minutes, Gary Caldwell clattered into Suarez, who got up, took the free kick from outside the box and Wigan’s hopes of getting in the game were as serious as the comic nature of the third goal. Suarez tries to shoot, slips, the ball hits a Wigan player who broke away from the wall, the ball lands in front of Al Habsi, who tries to palm it away, only succeeding to push it onto the bottom of the post and the ball rolls in. 3-0 to Liverpool.
He is back, Pepe is back
Pepe Reina has not had a very good time of late. He has been criticized for quite a few of his performances, but he was in God mode yesterday, making 3 great saves, all from very close range. It’s not like Wigan did not have chances to score. Apart from the first chance in the first minute, Di Santo had an effort saved brilliant by Reina in the 36th minute.
Suarez completed his hat trick after halftime, with a great run from Glen Johnson down the right, taking on and beating 4 Wigan players, slotting a through ball for Suarez, who beat the offside trap and slotted the ball between Al Habsi’s legs for his 21st Premier League goal of the season, and the first Liverpool player to do it since Fernando (who?) Torres.
Liverpool took the foot off the gas after this. Allen did have a good chance to add a 5th but the damage was already done to Wigan, who would be hoping to have better days than this. It seemed they only needed a finishing touch as they had more shots and attacks on goal than Liverpool.
This will be a tough run in for Wigan if they are to survive again. For Liverpool, this was another good performance against a low positioned club. Certainly, there are some really good signs coming up from the link up play between Coutinho and the rest of the team. When Sturridge comes back into the team, the forward line up of Suarez, Sturridge and Coutinho looks mouthwatering to say the least. There are 10 games to go for both clubs – one is looking to try and get a European place while the other looks precariously downwards to stay in the top flight.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Boyce, Figueroa, McCarthy, Maloney, McArthur, Beausejour, Scharner, Kone, Di Santo
Liverpool: Reina, Enrique, Carragher, Agger, Johnson, Allen, Lucas, Gerrard, Coutinho, Downing, Suarez
Wigan: Caldwell, Mcarthur
Liverpool: Allen, Lucas
Man of the match
It’s got to be Suarez. With his 2nd hat-trick of the season, the striker could well be on his way to win the Golden Boot for scoring the most league goals in a season. Coutinho and Reina ran a close second. Coutinho continues to impress, even the Anfield faithful came up with a song in his honor. He had 2 great assists, ran throughout the game and gave it his all. That is what all Liverpool fans would expect from all their players and this Brazilian seems like a perfect fit into Brendan’s system.