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Liverpool 1-2 Wigan Athletic (Wigan fan's perspective)

Sunday 25th March 2012
Liverpool 1-2 Wigan Athletic. Sorry, say that again? Liverpool 1-2 Wigan Athletic! It's no mistake, it was no fluke either. Wigan pulled off the result off their relatively short lives with a quite stunning display at the home of the five-time European Champions.

Without influential injured duo Momo Diame and Hugo Rodallega, you'd be forgiven for fearing the worst as a Wigan fan. In the end, it was a result that was rarely in doubt once Wigan had gone in front from the penalty spot.

Victor Moses was needlessly kicked in the face by Martin Skrtel, an incident which left the Nigerian needing hospital treatment. It was some surprise to see referee Mason point to the spot, you don't often get penalties as the away side at such a prestigious venue, but on reflection there was little doubt that the decision was indeed correct.

With no Ben Watson or Jordi Gomez in the starting eleven it was left to Shaun Maloney to step up to the plate and convert Wigan's seventh spot kick of the season. Only Manchester United have been awarded more in the Premier League this term.

When Wigan went in at the break in front the half time team talk must have been to simply carry on doing what we were doing. The defence was rarely troubled, the midfield was closing down quickly and causing the home side problems, as was lone striker Franco Di Santo.

However, immediately after the break things turned a little sour for the visitors. Steven Gerrard played in Luis Suarez, who side-footed home an equalliser that was really harsh on the latics, but it was a well-worked goal that you have to give Liverpool credit for.

And just as the thoughts of Wigan fans turned to hanging on for a vital point, Liverpool went in front...or did they? For several seconds Liverpool celebrated going 2-1 up after a Suarez header on the line, only for referee Lee Mason to eventually rule out the goal. He took his time, but it was the right decision. Suarez pushed Gary Caldwell on the line as he attempted to head the ball clear.

Upon closer inspection it was also clear that Suarez had punched the ball in with his fist. It wasn't clear which offence the goal had been disallowed for, but either way it was the right outcome. It was a rare moment of luck for Wigan, and that lifeline seemed to spur them on.

Flanagan fouled Beausejour and from the resulting free kick Wigan went in front again. Maloney's set piece was dummied by Franco Di Santo but was then cleared. It ended up being volleyed goalwards by James McCarthy, whose effort hit the hand of Jamie Carragher in the box. You could argue it should have been a penalty, but what followed was quite breathtaking.

The handling of McCarthy's effort served only to cushion the ball perfectly into the path of Gary Caldwell, who had stayed forward for the set piece. And with Pepe Reina rushing towards him and Andy Carroll sliding in front to block his effort, the skipper showed great composure to wait for Carroll to pass him before bringing the ball onto his right foot and sliding the ball into the net to send the visiting fans into delirium!

With just less than half an hour still to play it was down to Wigan to simply hang on to their lead. The back line was rarely troubled and, if anything, it was Wigan that looked the most likely to score again. Substitute Conor Sammon saw his shot blocked by Skrtel. The loose ball fell at the feet of fellow sub Ben Watson, but his goalbound shot was well blocked.

It was a fourth win away from home for Wigan, each and every one of them 2-1 successes. There's little doubt that the points picked up on the road this season are what's keeping survival hopes alive, but no one in their right mind would have predicted this result. It takes a small amount of pressure off the forthcoming trips to Chelsea and Arsenal, although if the performance in those games is as good as it was at Anfield then who knows!!

What can you say about this football club? It just never knows when it's beaten. People continually write us off and we continually pull ourselves back from the brink time and time again. The sheer togetherness the team is showing at the minute is mighty impressive, in particular the galvanising influence of skipper Gary Caldwell, who has been simply outstanding in recent weeks. He's had his critics since he's been at the club but he's really showing what he's made of right now, and his leadership skills on the pitch make a massive difference.

Only once under Roberto Martinez have Wigan won two games on the spin. If they can do that again by beating Stoke (who were the last team Wigan beat in a two-match winning spell) next weekend it would give the club a real chance of escaping the drop yet again. Despite missing key players, those that are fit and available are really looking up for the fight and all the club's problems are good problems rather than bad. It was at this stage last season where results turned round and we got ourselves out of trouble. If a result like winning at Anfield can't spur you on to do the same again, nothing will!

Liverpool:  Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique, Gerrard, Spearing, Henderson (Carroll 45), Downing (Shelvey 73), Suarez, Kuyt (Sterling 84)

Unused subs:  Doni, Coates, Aurelio, Eccleston

Goals: Suarez 47

Wigan Athletic:  Al Habsi, Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Beausejour (Watson 62), McArthur, McCarthy, Maloney, Moses (Crusat 42), Di Santo (Sammon 81)

Unused subs:  Kirkland,   Stam, Thomas, Gomez

Goals:  Maloney pen 30, Caldwell 63

Starman: Gary Caldwell

Attendance: 44,431
Stuart Alker

Total articles: 31

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