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Premier League

  • March 24, 2012
  • • 11:00 AM
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 44431

Liverpool 1-2 Wigan: Maloney and Caldwell cancel out Suarez strike to consign Dalglish's men to fifth league defeat in six

A first-half penalty from the Irishman and a superb finish from the central defender give the Latics hope in their attempts to stave off relegation from the Premier League

Wigan Athletic earned its first ever victory at Anfield thanks to a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Liverpool after goals from Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell.

The first half was initially a quite cagey affair, and possession was largely dominated by the home side. However, they found themselves frustrated by a sturdy Wigan defense, and it was the away side who took the lead after they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Martin Skrtel on Victor Moses. Shaun Maloney stepped up for the Latics, and put it away to give them a 1-0 lead, which they held on to until halftime.

By contrast, the second half begun with an instant equalizer for Liverpool thanks to a good finish by Luis Suarez from a Steven Gerrard cross. However, the Uruguayan then had a goal disallowed after punching the ball over the line. But, after a superb finish by central defender Gary Caldwell, the away side took the lead again, and held on for a famous victory.

The home side made two enforced changes to its starting side from the 3-2 loss to QPR in its last game. Martin Kelly and Charlie Adam were both forced to withdraw, and were replaced by 19-year-old John Flanagan and Jordan Henderson respectively. Meanwhile, Wigan was unchanged from its 1-1 draw against West Brom last Saturday, with Franco di Santo retaining his place as the lone striker.

It was a positive start by Wigan, which looked enterprising and was keeping the home side pinned in its own half in the opening few minutes, as the Reds struggled to keep hold of possession. Any breaks forward by Liverpool was well-contained by the Latics, with Jean Beausejour in particular impressing in the opening ten minutes for Wigan.

As the half wore on, the home side were beginning to dominate the possession far more, with their captain Steven Gerrard beginning to grow into the game in the centre of midfield and the Liverpool attacking play. However, Wigan was defending stoutly and keeping the ball well to frustrate the Reds and silence their vociferous home support.

Within seconds, Wigan had a free kick, and after some confusion in the home side’s penalty area, the dangerous Moses received a boot in the face from Martin Skrtel, and the referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty to the Latics. After some confusion due to the absence of regular penalty taker Hugo Rodallega and the injury received by Moses in that passage of play, Maloney stepped up and placed the ball into the net superbly, giving the away side a 1-0 lead.

The frustration was growing among the Liverpool fans at its inability to hold onto the ball and get any decisions in its favor from the referee, and despite some speculative long distance efforts, was unable to create any clear openings and ended the first half a goal down.

The second half began with Andy Carroll being brought on for Liverpool in place of Jordan Henderson, and the home side immediately found an equalizer. Gerrard played a superb ball into the box, and it was tucked away by Suarez to bring the scores level at 1-1. It was a great finish from the Uruguayan, and gave Ali Al-Habsi no chance in the Latics’ goal.

Suarez was then back in the action a few minutes later, as after a great deal of congestion in the Wigan penalty area, he managed to bundle the ball home from close range. However, to the fury of the Liverpool bench, the goal was disallowed and Suarez was deservedly booked after punching the ball over the line with his hand.

After few chances in the following minutes, Wigan made a break forward in the 63rd minute, and after selling Andy Carroll a superb dummy, central defender Caldwell found himself in acres of space in the penalty area and finished coolly past Liverpool’s Jose Reina to give the Latics a 2-1 lead. This gave the away side a much needed lift, and breathed new confidence into its play as it held on to get a big victory.

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