LIVERPOOL 3 WIGAN ATHLETIC 0 – WHAT A DIFFERENCE A GOAL MAKES

Once again a defensive lapse led to an opening goal, from which Latics were never going to recover. Wigan had managed to stifle Liverpool during a poor quality first half and the home team had not looked like scoring. Neither had Wigan. Latics had a body blow after 32 minutes as Ben Watson suffered a broken leg following a tackle by Raheem Sterling.

However, just after half time, loose build-up play put Maynor Figueroa into a 50-50 situation with Sterling. More often than not  Figueroa would win such a tackle, but having already picked up a yellow card in the first half, he backed off. Sterling ran through and passed to Luis Suarez who scored. Only one goal but effectively it was “Game Over” as Liverpool’s tails were raised and Latics played like a team that had no faith that they could get back into the match. By the end of the game Latics had made Liverpool look a good team, which they are not.

Liverpool had dispensed with the Martinez-like back three that they employed at Chelsea the previous week. Their lineup was unbalanced with the right footed Glen Johnson on the left of the back four and the natural left back, Jose Enrique, in midfield. Rodgers seemed to have lost his rag completely when he made a tactical substitution after only 35 minutes, replacing the inconspicuous Suso with the workmanlike Henderson. However, once that first goal had gone in it looked like Rodgers’ tactical lineup was right after all. Predictably the in-form Suarez was Liverpool’s outstanding player and the main difference between the two teams. Enrique too had a fine second half, enjoying the lack of composure of Wigan’s defence and midfield.

The Good

In the first half Latics had played well defensively, although it was worrying to see how little ambition they showed in trying to put the ball into Liverpool’s net.

The Bad

It was sad to see Ben Watson leave the field with a major injury, just when he was getting back on top of his game. Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery.

When Latics fall behind they just cannot raise the tempo of their play sufficiently to cause concern for the opponent’s defence. Wigan created very little going forward, bar a couple of poor finishes from Jones and Gomez in the second half, when in good positions.

All in all – a match best forgotten.

Player Ratings

Ali Al Habsi: 6 – played well, apart from only being able to parry Sterling’s shot leading to Enrique’s goal.

Emmerson Boyce: 5 – not his best day.

Ivan Ramis: 5.5 – the best in defence, tried to stem the flow of opposition attacks on the defence.

Gary Caldwell: 5 – played well in the first half, but faded. Substituted after 69 minutes when Martinez reverted to a flat back four.

Maynor Figueroa: 5 – not his best day.

Jean Beausejour: 5 – not his best day. His poor backpass led to the first goal.

James McCarthy: 5 – looked lost in the second half without McArthur or Watson alongside him.

Ben Watson: 6 – played pretty well until his inopportune injury.

Shaun Maloney: 5 – ineffective.

Franco Di Santo: 4.5 – could not get into the game. Should have been taken off earlier than the 69th minute when he was substituted.

Arouna Kone: 5 – an afternoon of hard toil for the big centre forward, with poor service being supplied to him.

Substitutes

David Jones: 3 – anonymous after coming on for Watson on the  32 minute mark.

Jordi Gomez: 3– ineffective and lightweight,  coming on after 69 minutes.

Ryo Miyaichi: 5 – tightly marked and did not receive one pass for him to utilize his pace. Came on after 69 minutes.

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