Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson admitted his side didn’t deserve to win against Wigan Athletic, and could even count themselves lucky to leave the DW Stadium with a 1-1 draw.
Fernando Torres gave Liverpool the lead with a goal in the first ten minutes, but a Hugo Rodallega equaliser for Wigan in the second half ensured the game finished all square.
Hodgson cited fatigue for his side's lacklustre performance, and believes that Roberto Martinez may be feeling aggrieved that his team didn’t pick up more points from the match.
“We didn’t deserve to win the game," he said. "I thought we looked tired today, and I don’t think our passing was anywhere near as good as we would expect it to be.
“We had a bright start and bright finish but for a long period in between we weren’t anywhere near where I would expect us to be. I think we can be more than happy that we got a point from the game."
Steven Gerrard and Torres once again proved how integral they are to Liverpool, as the pair combined for their side’s goal. Hodgson was quick to praise the duo but was unhappy that his team didn’t push on after taking the lead.
“It was a wonderful piece of play from two outstanding players,” he said.
“It was a marvellous pass and a wonderful finish that put us on the front foot, but we didn’t capitalise on that. I thought the longer the game went on, even though we had a spell of play, they [Wigan] were pretty much in control.
“From the start of the second half we pretty much invited them onto us all the time, invited them to attack, we gave the ball away and as a result they took advantage of it and scored an equalising goal.”
Liverpool had a great chance to re-take the lead with just over ten minutes left when Gerrard’s shot crashed back off the underside of the crossbar. However, Hodgson felt that even if his side had claimed a victory, it would have been unwarranted.
He added: “We did better towards the end and perhaps were a little bit unlucky with Steven’s shot which hit the underside of the crossbar but it would have been harsh on Wigan had we won it. They can probably feel the 1-1 result flatters us more than them.”
The Reds manager blamed his side’s tired performance on the fact they have played five games in the last 17 days, whilst coping with a number of injuries. As a result of those injuries, Liverpool ended the match with three players aged 20 or under.
“I put our fatigue down to the fact we have had to play recent games against Napoli, Blackburn, Bolton and Chelsea with a small squad of players," he said.
“We’ve got five injuries at the moment and we ended the game with [youngsters] Martin Kelly, Jonjo Shelvey and Nathan Eccleston. That’s where we are at the moment, that’s what we’re using.”
However, Hodgson hopes there will soon be some good news with regards to injuries as Liverpool prepare for their next game against Stoke City on Saturday.
“Hopefully we’ll get some players back soon, and that will help us," he said. "We’ve got to work very hard in the next couple of days to get people back in the right physical and mental frame of mind to take on yet another tough test [Stoke].”
Midfielder Raul Meireles was taken off at half-time in what seemed a surprise substitution for Shelvey. However, Hodgson revealed that the reason the Portugal international was taken off was due to illness.
“He was sick, we don’t know how long it will take him to recover but he was complaining about feeling sick just before the game,” he said.
“He felt in the warm-up but he wanted to play and he took some tablets to help the sickness which got him through the first half. However, at half time he was very sick again so there was no option but to bring him off.”
With regards to the match against Stoke, Hodgson is keeping his fingers crossed that some players will be available for selection again after injury.
He continued: “We hope that [Glen] Johnson will be back and that [Joe] Cole will possibly be back.
“[Fabio] Aurelio will be available and [Daniel] Agger is making progress. Hopefully Meireles will have recovered from his sickness as well so there’s a chance I will have a bigger squad to choose from.”
However, the Liverpool manager is aware that Tony Pulis’ side will present another tough test.
“It’ll be a tough one, away matches in this league are always tough and we’ll have to work very hard to get something out of that game," he said. "I hope the two days we’ve got to prepare will help us recover.
“They [Stoke] will be buoyed by their victory last night but we need to make sure we get ourselves back on track and start producing the performances we did against Blackburn, Napoli and Chelsea and less of the performance we showed tonight.”
Three Premier League wins in a row prior to the game against Wigan had raised the hopes of Liverpool fans after their side’s disastrous start to the season.
However, Hodgson feels his team should not be too disappointed with the draw against Martinez’s side, but he has given up trying to temper the expectations of his club’s supporters.
He concluded: “We always knew this would be a tough test, Wigan are not a bad team at all, but are not having a good start to the season like a lot of teams. They’re not a bad football team and they showed that on many occasions this evening.
“I’ve given up trying to deal with expectations. We take every game as it comes and go out to try and win it. Sometimes we’re good enough and sometimes we’re not good enough. Tonight we weren’t good enough to win it.