Kuyt 37, Riera 80, Kuyt 85.
Zaki 29, 45
Hell this is turning into some season. What do you make of it so far? Here we lie, joint top, unbeaten, our best start for over ten years but, can you honestly say that we are playing to our full potential?
Surely we can’t go on giving the opposition leads like this? Surely some day we will start to play well, and with consistency? In the meantime we keep getting knocked down only to, commendably, get up again and win the day. How long can we keep doing it? How long can my nerves stand it? Great! Isn’t it?
Wigan were unlucky and with the absence of Torres and a subdued Gerrard, it was left to likes of Dirk Kuyt to stand up and be counted The relief at the win, and the excitement of the come back, clouds judgment. I simply don’t know where this leaves us but whatever happens this game, and last one against Manchester City, will be looked back on at the end of the season. Whether they will prove to be significant remains to be seen?
Wigan began confidently no getting all their men behind to ball and holding out in the hope of “nicking something”. They were bright, denied us space and worked really hard. The first opportunity fell to Kapo whose shot and then follow up was well saved by Reina. We had our moments Robbie Keane showed good movement to latch onto a through ball and waft one wide from an acute angle. However, it was going to be an afternoon where patience would be the watchword particularly so after Wigan’s first goal.
Agger (reluctantly?) collected from Reina on the edge of his area as if by magic Zaki appeared and dispossessed him to slide it home. It was one of those horrible moments where you couldn’t believe want you’ve seen. Perhaps there was a foul, or an infringement, and Agger had stopped allowing Zaki to slot it home because he knew it wouldn’t count? However, the horror dawns on you via dull cheer from the Wigan end and the lack of a whistle. Our mistake but a deserved goal.
Agger however, is made of sterner stuff. A few minutes later he embarked on a long run from defence, exchanged a pass with Dossena and then coolly cut the ball back for Kuyt to equalise. Redemption for the Dane but Dirk, where was the air guitar celebration?
One would have expected us to take the game to Wigan after the exorcising the aberration. Kuyt hit the cross bar via Kirkland’s fingertips Riera should have made more of Pennants cross however Wigan didn’t the do the expected thing. Just as their first goal was avoidable the second was simply something that happens from time to time that you have to accept? Valencia did well to avoid the attentions of Dossena and Agger and fire in want seemed to be a fairly innocuous cross to Zaki. The Egyptian with his back to goal met the ball on the volley smashed it past Reina. Goal of the season so far? Amazing!
Once again we had the ”luxury” of an entire half to get ourselves back into the game. We hummed and arghed and then thought about it some more and then slowly decided to do something about it. Corners were forced and play slowly shifted into Wigan’s half. Kuyt produced a point blank save from Kirkland, Riera flashed a header wide. Gerrard put contentious free kick just past the post with Kirkland stranded. Our comeback for the second time in two games was helped by the opposition going down to ten men. This time Valencia, already on yellow, for a stupid two footer on Alonso. Time for the cavalry to make its entrance.
Riera, running down the left, found El Zhar who fed in the return. Gerrard produced a cute step over allowing the ball to return to Riera, who made no mistake with a low shot through a crowd of deep lying Wigan defenders from the edge of the area. It was then left for Kuyt to apply the killer punch from Pennant’s cross with a scuffed scissor kick that found home via the ground the bar and then the post! Not as good as Zakis but the volume that greeted it suggested it was better!
And for those with a red heart it certainly was.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa (Benayoun 79), Carragher, Agger, Dossena (El Zhar 78), Pennant, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera, Keane (Hyypia 90), Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Leiva Lucas, Insua, Ngog.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios (Koumas 90), Kapo (Brown 82), De Ridder (Kilbane 79), Zaki.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Taylor, Boyce, Camara.