A throwback to the bad old days. A first goal after two minutes and both Wigan’s tactical plan and their self confidence fell apart.
Roberto Martinez had decided to stick with his tactical switch of reverting to a back four, with Jean Beausejour pushed forward on the left wing. It had been successful at Reading, but Liverpool reveled in the space it gave them to attack.The result was an exposed defence.
Liverpool went into half time 3-0 up. Countinho had too easily beaten Boyce to put in a centre for Downing’s second minute goal. The Wigan defence was out of its depth when the same player put the electric Suarez through for Liverpool’s second. A lucky deflection gave Suarez his second from a free kick.
Early in the second half Glen Johnson was able to waltz past Wigan tackers to put Suarez through to finish with a shot through Al Habsi’s legs.
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina made three excellent saves in the first half, and one early in the second, when Wigan were unlucky not to score.
Luis Suarez was given the freedom of the park. Wigan just did not seem to have a plan to deal with him. One thing Wigan have had this season has been a viable tactical plan, even if results have not often gone their way. The tactics in this match were woefully lacking. The team looked disorganized and demoralized.
The first half spat between Emmerson Boyce and James McArthur led to them both being spoken to by the referee, a really sad thing for Wigan supporters to see.
Ali Al-Habsi: 4- There was talk some months ago about him going to Liverpool to replace Pepe Reina. One doubts that the Reds would be interested after his run of indifferent form since then.
Emmerson Boyce: 3 – Poor.
Paul Scharner: 4 – Once again showed good technique, but too often went forward, leaving the defence exposed.
Gary Caldwell: 4 – Poor. Substituted after 52 minutes.
Maynor Figueroa: 4 – Looked isolated and cut off.
Jean Beausejour: 3 – More effective in the more withdrawn role of wing back. Substituted after 61 minutes.
James McCarthy: 3 – Poor.
James McArthur: 3 – Poor.
Shaun Maloney: 4 – Systematically fouled by Lucas, particularly in the first half.
Arouna Kone: 4 – What would have happened if he could have converted the chance he had in the first minute of the match?
Franco Di Santo: 4 – At last he has produced a header of note, with a fine effort early in the second half saved by Reina. Substituted after 52 minutes.
Roger Espinoza: 5 – Added more energy to midfield after coming onafter 52 minutes.
Antolin Alcaraz: 4 -Came after 52 minutes when the defence looked really exposed.
Callum McManaman: 5 – Looked useful when he had the ball. Came in for Beausejour with around 30 minutes to go.