Wigan Athletic 1-1 Liverpool – Premiership Live Blog – 28 January 2009
Liverpool will be looking to gain three points away at Wigan tonight as they try to equal Manchester United’s 50 points at the top of the table. Wigan will be trying to improve on their 31 points to keep a stranglehold on seventh place. You can follow all the action here at Daily Soccer Blog at kick off, but in the meantime please feel free to leave any comments or predictions below.
Wigan will have a new face in the lineup tonight as Mido has been signed on loan from Midllesbrough, while Hugo Rodallega could make it to the bench if he has all of his paperwork in place after transfering from Mexican side Necaxa. However, Ben Watson, who came over from Crystal Palace has a calf injury and won’t play. Winger Antonio Valencia and keeper Chris Kirkland are also doubtful.
For Liverpool, all eyes of course will be focused on Robbie Keane and if he will play or even dress. Liverpool fans didn’t have to travel far as JJB Stadium in Wigan is only 21 miles away from Liverpool.
Wigan have won three of their last five league games, and they have been the last three in a row. Liverpool is unbeaten in the last five with three draws and two wins.
Phil Dowd will be the referee tonight.
Wigan: Pollitt, Melchiot, Boyce, Scharner, Figueroa, De Ridder, Brown, Cattermole, Taylor, Zaki, Mido
Subs: Kingson, Edman, Watson, Koumas, Rodallega, Kapo, Camara
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Lucas, Mascherano, Babel, Gerrard, Torres
Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Agger, Keane, Riera, Kuyt, Alonso
Wigan: Mido (pen 83′)
Liverpool: Benayoun (41′)
90+3′ It’s Wigan’s turn now for a free kick from about 30 yards out, but Jason Koumas can only find the head of a Liverpool player who heads it out of danger. The whistle blows and you can put this one in the books. Full time and it’s Wigan 1-1 Liverpool.
90+2′ A free kick for Liverpool now about 35 yards out and Aurelio wastes it by driving it into a defender.
89′ There’s three minutes of extra time coming and Wigan now have a free kick about 10 yeards outside of the box in the middle. Rodallega sends a screamer in and it smashes against Reina’s crossbar and bounces away.
88′ Kuyt drives a close range shot right at Pollitt, however the Liverpool player handled the ball while taking it down.
86′ Liverpool still have time to blow this game and at the moment it looks like a possibility as Wigan have found new life after their equalizer.
84′ Substitution for Liverpool. Yes, this time it’s Robbie Keane coming on the pitch, but for some strange reason Benitez is taking off the team’s skipper and sparkplug Steven Gerrard.
83′ GOAL Wigan 1-1 Liverpool Lucas pulls down Jason Koumas in the box for a penalty kick and Mido tucks it away for a goal on his debut.
81′ Kuyt plays a great through ball in the air for Gerrard, but he can’t quite pull it down with Boyce defending well.
79′ Another substitution for Wigan as Ryan Taylor is off and Henri Camara is making his way on the pitch. A positive move by manager Steve Bruce, but why wait so long to make it?
77′ Substitution for Wigan. Amr Zaki comes off and newcomer, Colombian striker Hugo Rodallega comes on.
76′ A long ball is played towards the Liverpool goal and keeper Reina comes out of the box to meet it and dribbles upfield 15 yards with it.
75′ Another substitution for Liverpool as Yossi Benayoun makes way for Dirk Kuyt.
73′ Gerrard finds himself alone in the box, but hammers a right footed shot wide of the far post.
72′ Substitution for Liverpool and it’s not Robbie Keane. Fernando Torres is coming off and Albert Riera is now on. Another odd move for Benitez as a Wigan goal is still possible.
70′ A corner for Wigan, their second, is whipped in by Taylor, but headed out by Zaki for a goal kick.
68′ The game is being played in the middle third of the park at the moment and the fans have quietened down.
65′ Benayoun dribbles brilliantly past two players in the box, but his shot is blocked by Pollitt.
63′ Substitution for Wimbledon. Jason Koumas comes on for Daniel De Ridder.
62′ Melchiot crosses from the right wing only to have Carragher head it out of danger.
60′ Mascherano crosses from the right corner and Pollitt is forced to tip it over the bar for Liverpool’s second corner, which is easily cleared.
58′ The next goal here if there is one, is going to be huge. There’s about 30 minutes left and I wonder if we’re going to see any subs come on soon for either side.
57′ Wigan look a little more energetic, however they still aren’t able to get control in the box.
56′ Benayoun makes a great run and feeds to Torres, who passes back to Benayoun, but he wasn’t expecting it.
56′ Brown puts in a cross for Wigan from the left wing and it sails out of play.
54′ Figueroa makes a nice run down the left flank but loses control.
51′ Figueroa is shown a yellow card for taking down Benayoun. The free kick is about 10 yards out of the box, excellent spot for Gerrard. However, Aurelio takes the shot and it’s right into the arms of Pollitt.
49′ Liverpool are caught offside again, for the sixth time. This time Torres.
48′ Torres breaks into the box on the left side, but is tackled by Boyce.
46′ Liverpool kick off and the second half is underway. Wigan haven’t come from behind in the second half to win a game in five years now and if they don’t pick up the pace that streak is going to continue tonight.
Half Time. A message for Gina. The match is being broadcast live in America, however I don’t think it’s on the telly in the UK.
It’s not vintage Liverpool, but they’re doing enough to be ahead at halftime. I guess fans are getting used to this type of performance this season though. While they definitely aren’t playing like world beaters, they seem to get a result when the final whistle blows. Well, that’s if you call a draw a result. To me, it means you’ve dropped two points. Wigan can’t move up from seventh place even with a win today and they look pretty complacent out there. They’ve only had 33% of the ball and that’s not enough if you don’t do anything with it. Defensively, they’re not too bad and have caught Liverpool offside five times in the first half. No cards so far and that’s a good thing as cards mean more writing.
45+1′ One minute of time is added on and Lucas is brought down by Figueroa. Gerrard hammers the free kick from at least 30 yards out and just misses the top corner by inches. The whistle blows and it’s still Wigan 0-1 Liverpool.
45′ A free kick from the edge of the box is hammered along the ground by Mido, but the ball hits his own man and ricochets out.
41′ GOAL – Wigan o-Liverpool 1. Mascherano finds Benayoun alone on the right side. He skips around Pollitt and slides it into the net with his right foot from a very tight angle for his second goal of the season.
40′ A free kick from Taylor on the left wing is whipped into the box and cleared among calls for handball by the fans.
39′ A strong right-footed shot by Babel from the left wing just outside of the box is punched away by keeper Pollitt. I think it’s the first save he’s had to make, which is one more than Reina I believe.
37′ Taylor’s free kick is sent into the box and Gerrard flattens Scharner and calls for a penalty are ignored. anywhere else on the pitch though and it would have been a foul.
36′ Torres is in the box and heads a cross from the left flank and it’s well wide.
33′ Mido works it for a corner kick while Babel is down injured after a tackle from Scarner. The corner finds De Ridder outside of the box and his half volley is sent into the box for three team mates, but it’s called offside.
32′ Lucas tries a right footed grasscutter from just inside the box and he’s still looking for his first goal in a red uniform, in this his 32nd match.
31′ De Ridder and Mido finally get some control in the Liverpool end, but Skrtel breaks it up.
28′ Benayoun puts in a fine cross from the right wing, but Gerrard can’t handle the pass, while Torres was also in perfect position.
27′ Zaki is found alone outside of the box, but he’s called offside immediately.
27′ Zaki handles the ball in Liverpool’s corner, but it’s not called.
26′ Skrtel takes Mido down in midfield and the free kick is lobbed into the box, but Reina takes control of the ball.
24′ A long throw from Melchiot to Zaki in the box is cleared by Gerrard.
21′ Torres sends Gerrard down the right wing the cross is blocked and goes out for a corner, which comes to nothing.
19′ Gerrard and Babel work it down the field, but Gerrard is brought down by Michael Brown. The free kick from about 30 yards out is flicked away by Cattermole and cleared.
17′ Carragher puts a fine ball in the box for Torres who turns and takes it down, but his half volley goes wide.
16′-De Ridder puts a through ball in for Zaki in the box, but keeper Reina is out quick enough to gather the ball.
16′ Zaki and Mido make it as far as the box, but Lucas puts an end to that.
13′ Gerrard whips a cross in from the left wing and Torres meets it perfectly with his head, but the ball bounces back off of the post instead of going in the net.
10′ Some nice passing as usual by Liverpool, but they don’t penetrate anywhere.
8′ Wigan has won five in a row at home and won’t make it six if they don’t try to attack tonight.
7′ Babel puts a ball through, but Benayoun is offside.
6′ De Ridder crosses from the left corner, but it sails over the net for a goal kick
4′ Mascherano and Zaki collide while going for a 50-50 ball, but both players are eventually up and ready to go.
3′ Arbeloa is lucky not to be booked after leading with his arm while going for a high ball.
1′ We’re underway and it’s a free kick for Liverpool outside the left side of the box. Gerrard whips it in but Skrtel loses possession for a throw in.
0′ Well Robbie Keane makes it to the bench tonight and Rodallega has made it from Mexico to sit on Wigan’s bench.
Well, another draw for Liverpool. What a surprise. I wonder if anybody bet on that. The Merseysider’s title hopes seem to be slowly but surely fading into the sunset with another two points going down the drain. This is a game that could have been put to bed with a second goal, but Liverpool just don’t seem to have the killer instinct, especially with Benitez managing them. If you’re looking to take a 2-0 lead I don’t understand taking off Torres and Gerrard. And even Benayoun for that matter, who scored the goal and was having himself quite a match. Nothing personal, but I think this guy’s actually the worst manager in the league, considering the talent in the squad. He just seems to have no clue how to put it to use. As for Wigan, give them credit for their second half play. They never gave up and could sense the tide turning. In fact they might have snatched all three points if Rodallega’s late free kick was just a few inches lower.
Man of the Match
This is always hard for me, especially when reporting on the match. I think Boyce, Zaki and Mido were the best players for Wigan, while Gerrard and Benayoun were the top two players for Liverpool. Even though he only played 75 minutes, I’m going to go with Yossi Benayoun. He showed a lot of skill when scoring and could have easily had a second after turning a couple of Wigan defenders inside out in the box only to have his shot blocked by Pollitt. I think Benayoun is actually an underrated and under used player and he stood out for me today.