A decent game for the neutrals with plenty of end to end stuff however, Liverpool and their fans will feel hard done by.
It was a familiar story some really nice football, plenty of possession and another clean sheet. There were plenty of chances, including a missed penalty, however, a less than proportionate amount of goals, well none in fact! After the game Kenny said
“We’re not out there to miss them … you feel for the players not taking opportunities, because we work really hard for them.”
I agree. You can’t fault the side, the effort, desire and determination is clearly there. We are not doing much wrong however, the deserved rewards for all this are still absent – no I’m not going to make some trite remark at Christmas and Santa bringing us a present!
Kenny made two changes from Sunday. Kuyt and Maxi were restored in favour of Shelvey and Bellamy. Before the game the players warmed up in white t shirts with Luis Suarez’s picture, on the front, name and number on the back. A sign of unity and support in the light of Tuesday’s news, the stance was echoed by the club website yesterday.
Although yesterday’s papers had headlines such as “guilty” the signs from L4 suggest this is far from over? Oh and by the way, does it really need saying, Kenny picked Suarez for this game and if there were any doubts about the Liverpool fan’s reaction they were soon dispelled at kick off as they chanted the “Just can’t get enough” song non stop for a full five minutes or so.
For the first thirty minutes it was all Liverpool. Henderson was first to have a go after a good work from Maxi, Downing and Suarez but his shot was beaten away by Al-Habsi in the Wigan goal. Next Skrtel cut inside and fired weakly. Kuyt’s effort, around six yards out from a Downing cut back, was more sweetly struck however it was straight at the keeper, shortly after Agger volleyed over. Next Johnson had the easiest opportunity of the game after good one two with Maxi but Al-Habsi got his right boot in the way… are you counting these chances? Adam had the last of the half with along shot that forced to keeper to work hard and dive to his left.
Wigan, despite putting many men behind the ball, nearly made us pay for this on the break in the final fifteen minutes when they came back into the game with good chances from Diame and Moses.
The second half started well with a Suarez free kick but Al-Habsi was able to help over the bar, however things soon went downhill! Henderson knocked it on to Suarez whose attempted overhead kick struck Caldwell on his right arm. No contest, a penalty. Adam’s effort was too much “down the middle” and Al-Habsi knocked it away. What do we have to do? Shoot more accurately I guess! Meanwhile Wigan kept threatening to make us pay this time Gomez, from distance, forcing a low save from Reina.
And on it went Skrtel a header from a corner, Kuyt a tantalising cross that was knocked away, Henderson a low shot that dribbled past the post however a mixture of tenacious defending and, let’s be honest, bad finishing peppered with a small degree of bad luck meant it wasn’t to be. At the end Wigan nearly nicked it through good chances from Rodallega (twice) and there was a goal scramble which I didn’t see as I was hiding behind my hands!
So lost ground when really we should have be expecting to make it up, a win would have put us equal forth however, in a season of clichés I guess we can take solace that it’s a marathon and not a sprint and that, if we play as well as this, there will be other opportunities. As Kenny concluded
“We’ll keep getting in there and see what happens.”
Wigan: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Stam, Figueroa, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez (Rodallega 74), Jones (Watson 74), Diame, Sammon (Di Santo 61), Substitutes: Pollitt, Lopez, Crusat, Watson, McArthur, Di Santo, Rodallega
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Agger, Skrtel, Maxi (Bellamy 72), Henderson, Downing, Adam, Suarez (Carroll 87), Kuyt (Shelvey 72), Substitutes: Doni, Coates, Carragher, Kelly, Shelvey, Carroll, Bellamy