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21 December 2011
• The DW Stadium, Wigan
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 19230
So 0-0 it is and the only goalless encounter in the Premier League this evening. But it was an entertaining 0-0 nonetheless - I certainly enjoyed it. On balance, Liverpool will feel they had the chances to win the game, particularly from the penalty spot but Al-Habsi was their nemesis. Wigan played far better than equates to their league position, it must also be added. Roberto Martinez must take credit for that.
90' + 4'
Bellamy's free kick hits the wall though, why not Charlie Adam? The final chance of the game falls to Shelvey but his left footed effort is tame and straight at Al-Habsi. How fitting that the man who saved the point for Wigan should end up with the ball. He was imperious between the sticks.
90' + 3'
Wigan are truly under the cosh here now. Liverpool free kick 25 yards out...
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Craig Bellamy
4 minutes added on and maybe we won't be seeing a goal in Wigan tonight
Suarez departs. He put in a good, well-behaved performance tonight.
And from that corner the flick at the near post fell to Moses eight yards out who saw his effort trickle wide. You could see he didn't expect the flick to land at his feet.
Big chance for Wigan! Just as Liverpool started to look like they were dominating, Moses breaks down the right. He got a little fortuitous with the break of the ball but knocked a nice cross to the back post for Rodallega. His header deflected off Glen Johnson for a corner though.
There are definitely a few tired legs out there in what has been a game full of energy but somehow Moses is still scurrying up and down the right flank. He's been excellent tonight. The same can be said for McCarthy who is still hassling the Liverpool midfield into surrendering possession. There must be a goal in this game!
Yellow Card Glen Johnson
Suarez is beginning to cut a dejected figure up front for Liverpool as his midfield are struggling to find the right pass. At the back Glen Johnson has just been booked for a rather foolish foul on the touchline
Surely this won't be the only game tonight that remains goalless? Surely. A flurry of substitutions are made with goals on the agenda. Bellamy and Rodallega carry a threat for each side
Ooh as I say that, Adam clips the free kick over the Wigan defence and Kuyt ghosted in behind to volley home. Except he sliced it up and off for a goal kick. To picture the move, think of David Platt's volley for England against Belgium. That was the technique required Mr Kuyt
Yellow Card Gary Caldwell
The game has dropped it's pace slightly and the only moment of notice was Gary Caldwell going into the referees notepad for the first booking of the game. It was one foul too many on Suarez
Franco Di Santo
Sammon is off and Di Santo is coming on in place of him. Sammon is one of those players you just can't fault for effort. He has worked his socks off tonight, reflected by the fans applause for him
Another long range strike from Wigan. Gomez finds space again between the midfield and defence of Liverpool and shifts the ball onto his left before hammering it at goal. The strike is low, hard, but comfortably held by Reina. At this point, it is worth telling you that Wigan have scored just six goals since that win in August I mentioned earlier...
Quick recap on that. The penalty was given for a handball by Gary Caldwell who star-jumped to block a Suarez overhead kick. There can be no complaints, no matter how close Suarez was to Caldwell, his arms were outsretched
Penalty save Ali Al Habsi
Missed Penalty Charlie Adam
SAVED!!! Ali Al-Habsi has been phenomenal tonight and that is a top-class penalty save from Charlie Adam. It's a bit central but the keeper gets a very strong right hand on it to put it behind for a corner.
Penalty to Liverpool!
Suarez's curling effort is tipped over by Al-Habsi
Opening for Liverpool with a free kick on the edge of the box thanks to a clumsy Alcaraz challenge on Adam. It's left of centre but still a danger
Ok Wigan kick off and we're back underway at the DW Stadium
Well Marc Albrighton has become the unlikely scorer of the 20,000th Premier League goal over at Villa Park against Arsenal! It's 1-1 there now.
I'd say a draw at this point is about right. Wigan weathered the early storm with a tad of fortune but they certainly showed they have goalscoring intent tonight with some of their play too. Jordi Gomez has found plenty of space in between the lines and supported by Moses and Diame has caused the Liverpool defence problems. Having said that, Kuyt and Glen Johnson had the best chances of the half and Dalglish will be disappointed to have not taken at least one of them.
Michael Oliver brings a very entertaining half to a close. It's still deadlocked at the DW Stadium.
45' + 2'
James McCarthy looked to be going off injured but he's actually OK. He's back on following an innocuous looking challenge to the knee and the half peters out.
We're 1 goal away from the 20,000th Premier League goal by the way. Suarez? It's your time
That's a big chance for Sammon but he really didn't look convincing. Reina's pass out of the back to Maxi was pounced on after a loose first touch and the ball into Sammon was perfect. He opted to let it run across his body though and Agger recovered to make the block
Absolutely brilliant. Victor Moses is quite a talent. He has won a tackle against two men in his own half before surging through the heart of the Liverpool midfield. Glen Johnson was in hot pursuit but as Moses neared the edge of the box, he slipped past the right-back's lunge and the flummoxed Agger and fired on goal. Reina opted to punch the ball away from danger - shame, as it would have been the goal of the season had it gone in.
This has been a frantic half of football. Are both sides taking a pre-half time breather? Very thoughtful of them.
Straight down the other end and Diame found himself played in on goal at an angle from the left. His first time left footed shot lacked power but still forced Reina to tip away for a corner. Charlie Adam had the next opportunity a minute later as Liverpool broke. His shot was hit well but Al-Habsi showed good handling to not spill it.
Phew! Chances keep on coming, this time Glen Johnson arrives from right back, plays a nice one-two with Maxi and found himself in on goal. He could have slid it at the near post for a probably Liverpool goal but again, the finish is too central and saved by Al-Habsi
Great save from Al-Habsi. Downing was played in down the left flank and getting to the byline, pulled the ball back to Dirk Kuyt who struck firmly at goal. "Too central" would be my criticism and it gave Wigan's keeper the chance to parry away.
OOOF and there's the best strike of the lot from Diame! He had to be about 30 yards out and his fierce drive was arcing back toward Reina's goal but ultimately nestled in the side netting. Unlucky.
Some half chances for you at both ends. Maxi Rodriguez volleyed from the edge but it flew wide. For Wigan, Moses and Figueroa have both struck low drives towards Reina. The latter the only shot on target.
Touch of controversy in the Liverpool box as Moses took on Skrtel. He's a tricky customer but in turning the Slovak defender, saw an opportunity to con the ref by falling over theatrically. It didn't work, but he also didn't get booked. He has one more free attempt...
The tide has briefly turned on a poor Skrtel back pass that went out for a corner. Wigan could bring the team forward and play their football in the Liverpool half and it nearly led to a goal. A ball into Sammon rebounded between him and two defenders but as it fell, Jordi Gomez's two strikes are eventually deemed a foul. Fair play to Reina, who made a good save off the second Gomez prod.
Pressure keeps coming and this time it's Martin Skrtel who weaves in from the right and onto his left foot. His shot, though on target, is gathered with ease by Al-Habsi
...but Charlie Adam'sdrive is into the wall and safe. Though not for long as Suarez worked the ball to Maxi who rode one challenge, played it wide to Downing who cut back for Henderson. His first time effort is beaten away by Al-Habsi. All Liverpool so far.
Wigan are running the risk of turning over possession too easily and a sloppy pass from defence is picked up by the Liverpool midfield. They work it well and Maxi is chopped down on the edge of the box. Dangerous...
Patient start from both sides. Liverpool have shown plenty of movement already when in possession as well as pressing Wigan high. But to the Latics credit they've looked to play it around defence well so far.
Suarez takes a blow to the head from Gary Caldwell...it begins
We are underway! For those that like to picture proceedings, Wigan are kicking from right to left. Luis Suarez chants ring out from the away fans. Won't be the last we hear of those I'm sure!
5 minutes til kick off. Incidentally Liverpool haven't beaten Wigan in their last three attempts...that made you think twice about hitting that 'place bet' button didn't it? I'm Jay Jaffa by the way, feel free to blame me for anything that goes wrong tonight
In terms of lineups, the home team stick with the starting 11 that snatched a draw from Villas-Boas' Chelsea. Kenny Dalglish picks Suarez despite the furore surrounding his situation, and opts for just one other change, bringing Dirk Kuyt in for Craig Bellamy, who drops to the bench.
Some quick titbits for you: Despite an impressive draw with Chelsea last week and a couple of away wins against West Brom and Sunderland to ignite a poor start to their season, Wigan haven't actually won a game at home since August when they beat QPR 2-0. Liverpool on the other hand have already won as many games on their travels this season as they did all of the last campaign. Easy to predict isn't it?
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Adam, Downing, Kuyt, Maxi, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Carroll, Coates, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly, Bellamy.
Wigan line-up: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Jones, Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez, Sammon. Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Rodallega, Lopez.
Unless you've had your head buried in the sand this past few days, you'll know that Liverpool's Uruguayan striker was suspended for eight games and handed a £40,000 fine for comments made to Patrice Evra earlier this season. His suspension is pending an appeal which can be made within 14 days of the verdict. Until then, he's free to play, as he is tonight.
Hello everybody and welcome to another Goal.com live commentary! There's very little to talk about if I'm being honest so we'll just get right to it...hold on a second...how unusual, Liverpool's players are warming up in Luis Suarez t-shirts. What on earth?
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