By AmericanKopite, 02-03-2013, 20:25:23
The Traveling Kop was in full voice for this fixture just east of Anfield. Ninth place Liverpool were looking to claw their way back up the table against 17th place Wigan. History would suggest that Roberto Martinez’ side has the advantage, but the motivation Liverpool gained after last week’s defeat would certainly be fuel to their red fire. Martin Atkinson was the official in charge as the match got underway at the DW Stadium.
|Within three minutes the match was underway with goals when a clever cross by Phillipe Couthino on the left edge of the box found the forehead of the opposite winger, Stewart Downing, and was easily nudged in for the 1-nil advantage.
Close call in the 13th minute when clever passing in front of goal saw captain Steven Gerrard with a clear shot at goal, but better defending by Wigan saw that attack thwarted.
Wigan Athletic have the worst home record in the premier league and that record looked like it would suffer more in the 13th minute with Liverpool’s second goal. It was Couthino once more on the left edge of the box with a lovely weighted through ball to Luis Suarez who played it cooly and didn’t miss from six yards out. That was Suarez’ fourth goal in five appearances against The Latics, and the traveling Kop at the other end made that stat clear.
Redemption for Wigan when a volley from Emmerson Boyce was aimed perfectly into the top left corner, but a reflex save by Reina saw the ball cleared away. The Latics were still showing life despite the scoreline.
Wigan were beginning to fall apart internally and Liverpool were not helping matters. After being obstructed a few yards outside the box, Luis Suarez was given a free kick just left of the goal. Suarez had his free kick lined up beautifully and it dropped right under the hands of Wigan keeper, Ali Al-Habsi. Al-Habsi couldn’t control the ball as it took a bounce off the underside of his hands, the inside of the right post, and into the net for the three-nil lead. “A complete collapse,” one might say, after that 33rd minute goal.
It was all Liverpool at both ends of the pitch when Franco Di Santo took another powerful shot at Pepe Reina, but the even more powerful hands of Reina were there to smack the ball over the bar.
Wigan were finally given something to cheer about about when Joe Allen earned the second yellow card of the match in the 44th minute after a tough challenge. The first was given to Gary Caldwell.
Another yellow card, this one to Liverpool. Lucas Leiva got tangled with Shaun Maloney just outside the area and the free kick was given. The reputation of referee Martin Atkinson as a man who loves his cards certainly preceeded him as that was his third card he gave out in the first 45 minutes.
The resulting free kick was comfortably tipped over the bar by Reina once again and that was the last kick of the first half.
Liverpool were facing commentator’s left and the second half kicked off with no personnel changes from either side and no changes in the match either. Just seconds in Luis Suarez was off to the races running down the far side of the pitch with no one around him and no one in front of goal except Al-Habsi. Suarez once again kept calm and scored a goal. It was his 21st goal of the year and and yet another hat trick in the Premier League. Suarez’ second goal also made him the first player in the league to reach 20 goals, and the league’s leading goal scorer.
All three of Wigan’s substitutions were made within 10 minutes starting in the 52nd when Roger Espinoza was switched for Franco Di Santo and Antolin Alcaraz came on for an injured Gary Caldwell. 10 minutes after that it was Callum McManaman for Jean Beausejour.
Wigan really started pouring forward in the 65th minute giving Liverpool something to work with, but the capable defence continued to clear out shot after shot.
Liverpool then made their first switch when Jordan Henderson was on for Phillipe Couthino in the 70th minute.
The match finally settled into a back and forth rhythm after the substitution, but Liverpool still pressed for more in the 88th minute when a corner met by Jordan Henderson was all but certain to cross the line but for the good defensive stance of James McCarthy.
You’ll Never Walk Alone rang around the stadium so loud one would think the vacant Wigan seats were full of Liverpool fans. And shortly thereafter, it was all over. Liverpool had come away with the big win and Luis Suarez goes home with 49 Liverpool goals in his pocket along with the match ball beside him after an impressive hat trick.
Full time at the DW stadium; Wigan nil, Liverpool four.
Liverpool now find themselves 7th place in the league just nine points off fourth place, Tottenham Hotspur. And to hot things up even more it’ll be Tottenham Hotspur who visit Anfield on the 10th of March for an afternoon fixture that could shake up a multitude of European places with 10 games remaining in the 2013 campaign.