LUIS SUAREZ WATCH: Wigan vs Liverpool – as it happened
Wigan were well worth the draw in a goalless but entertaining encounter at the DW Stadium.
FULL-TIME: Wigan 0-0 Liverpool. And that’s that, Al-Habsi’s penalty save gives Wigan a deserved point. By no means a dull game, it had an ebb and flow to it that could’ve easily seen both teams come away with a win, but shoddy finishing let Wigan down, and a lack of genuine creativity did for Liverpool. Diame, Adam, Gomez, and Al-Habsi were the stars of the show, while Suarez was anonymous and Stam was an utter liability. A fair result in a decent game. Cheerio!
90+3 min: Bellamy thwacks it into the wall. Just seconds remaining…
90+3 min: A free-kick for Liverpool. This would be harsh…
90+2 min: It’s Liverpool who are doing the attacking, at odds with how the half’s gone. Shelvey collects a quick throw-in, darting into the area, but Watson charges back to snuff out the danger. But Liverpool are pressing…
90 min: Four minutes of added time. Craig Bellamy cuts in from the left, but his shot is terrible, trickling well wide.
88 min: Wigan nearly do it again! This is ridiculous. After a tussle gives Liverpool a free-kick, Wigan intercept and attack with lightning speed, finding Rodallega, who intelligently spots the early ball for Franco Di Santo. Reina comes haring 20 yards out of his area to deal with it, and has to use his body to hold off Di Santo as he deals with it. He was very, very close to being muscled over there.
Al-Habsi gets Man of the Match from Matt Le Tissier. Not the worst shout, but I’d have given it to Diame. It’s been a titanic performance from him.
86 min: Carroll comes on for the anonymous Suarez, who departs the field to a chorus of boos.
85 min: Ooh! Moses dribbles down the right and puts in an excellent cross for Rodallega at the back post – he meets it with a header which bounces off Glen Johnson for a corner. When that’s whipped in, it falls to a surprised Moses, who can only stick a leg out in hope, which proves insufficient to divert it goalwards. But goodness me, that was a near thing.
81 min: Rodallega storms at the Liverpool defence, before playing a ball back to Figueroa, who meets it with a powerful drive. Again though, what it has in power it lacks in accuracy, and it’s straight at Reina, who is able to hold it.
78 min: Appalling stuff from Glen Johnson. Di Santo lets a high ball run out for a throw-in, and making no attempt to play the ball, Johnson two-foots him from behind. Not with studs showing, but that was an assault – nowhere near the ball and he knew it. He’s booked.
77 min: Yet another excellent pass from Diame, threading Moses into a dangerous position with both Wigan strikers racing in for support. Skrtel gets across well though, and cuts his cross out.
75 min: Rodallega shows what he can offer Wigan with a burst of speed to create a shooting opportunity, but he badly scuffs it. You sense there’s going to be one more goal in this game.
73 min: Watson and Rodallega on for Jones and Gomez. Hmm.
71 min: Maxi Rodriguez off, Craig Bellamy on. Dirk Kuyt off, Jonjo Shelvey on. Both of those players being turned to before Carroll.
69 min: During a lull, Kuyt is described as ‘a hard-working, loyal servant.’ Hard-working players are always baselessly describes as loyal. He undoubtedly plays an important role in their squad, but has anyone ever been interested him?
66 min: Ha ha ha. Charlie Adam has a free-kick, 25 yards out. He runs up as if to welly it and then some, but produces a clever dink over the wall to find Dirk Kuyt. He’s just 8 yards out, plenty of time, plenty of space. He meets it with a swing of his right foot, a wonderful volley… and balloons it impotently miles over. Genuine laughter reverberates around the DW.
64 min: It’s all gone really dull, which will probably delight Wigan. Craig Bellamy is warming up on the touchline.
61 min: But first, Sammon’s taken off and replaced by the bubbly Franco Di Santo.
60 min: A good opportunity comes Wigan’s way after Jose Enrique gives away a free-kick…
56 min: Wigan really are very different to other rubbish teams. They have some very good players who could play for far bigger teams, they’re just let down by dross like Caldwell. It also proves that, for everyone except Sir Alex Ferguson, a solid defence and a reliable goalscorer are the hardest players to buy.
55 min: SUAREZWATCH: He tries to get on the end of a cross but kicks at fresh air, to rapturous applause.
54 min: Wigan enjoy a good spell of possession, and Gomez tries to slip Sammon through, but he’s too slow to make it. His reactions are unbelievably ponderous – time for Rodallega or Di Santo, I think.
50 min: Saved! Charlie Adam, disappointingly, is the man to step forwards, and it’s too close to Al-Habsi, who makes an excellent save to keep the scores level.
49 min: Penalty to Liverpool! Jose Enrique collects a fine Adam pass, but his cross is poor. Henderson fires in a deflected shot, before chipping it into Suarez – his overhead kick is blocked by Caldwell’s outstretched arm.
47 min: SUAREZWATCH: Liverpool get a free-kick outside the area and it’s the Uruguayan smiler who takes it, stepping up to curl one towards the centre of the goal. Al-Habsi makes a somewhat dramatic save.
46 min: And here we go again. No chances for either side as Liverpool kick off.
HALF-TIME: Wigan 0-0 Liverpool. Wigan put Liverpool under the cosh with a couple of other attacks before the referee blows his whistle. They were really getting their game on there, Wigan – Gomez was brilliant in patches, Diame was excellent throughout, but Sammon has been ponderous and wasteful. Liverpool, overall, were probably second-best after Wigan got going, but they’ll still fancy themselves. Don’t go anywhere!
44 min: Wigan almost score AGAIN! Sammon heads a long ball back down to Gomez, who produces a sublime bit of skill, playing keepy-up before dinking it over the advancing Liverpool defence to Sammon, who’s left alone and clean through in their wake. His control lets him down though, and the chance goes. That was a bit of genius from Gomez, but Wigan can’t afford to throw away these opportunities.
42 min: SUAREZWATCH: The Uruguayan joker goes down over a bad Alacaraz tackle to win a free-kick for Liverpool. The delivery is poor, and Al-Habsi claims.
40 min: More danger for Liverpool! A terrible pass out of defence is intercepted by McCarthy with the Liverpool backline having abandoned their positions. His pass to Sammon, in a vast lagoon of space, isn’t quite right, though – and neither is Sammon’s run. As a result, they allow the Liverpool defenders to regain their positions, and his shot is blocked. That was a waste from Wigan.
39 min: Kuyt gives the ball away, and Wigan attack through Diame, earning a corner. Diame has been the best player on the pitch so far – strong in the tackle, powerful, a driving presence but very calm on the ball.
36 min: And they do exactly that here – Liverpool’s defence is being severely tested. First Victor Moses goes on a mesmerising run through the middle, darting away from Liverpool players before lashing one at Pepe Reina’s goal, which the baldy Spaniard deals with. Seconds later, it’s back in to Connor Sammon, and Reina has to come flying out to gather it. Immediately after that, David Jones, of all people, tries a wee solo run of himself, going down in the area under a challenge before Liverpool finally clear their lines.
35 min: It’s been quite an even game, all things considered. Liverpool have enjoyed the majority of the possession, but Wigan have made quite a lot with the time they’ve had on the ball, always looking relatively threatening, despite Connor Sammon being their main no.9.
31 min: After a brief lull, Wigan go on the attack again, spreading the play around Liverpool’s box like dangerous jam, Sammon, Jones, and Moses all having efforts before a mini-scramble ends with the referee’s whistle being blown for a high boot.
28 min: It’s end-to-end! Now Adam has a drive from 20 yards. It takes a wee nick off a Wigan defender, but Al-Habsi is alert and does well to hold onto it.
27 min: And now Wigan almost score! They execute a sublime counter-attack, and Moses looks to have been slipped clean through by Diame. But Skrtel manages to get back to close the angle, and his left-footed drive is saved by Reina. It goes out for a corner, which Liverpool clear.
25 min: Glen Johnson misses an easy chance! His run from deep was totally untracked, and having been played through, he fluffed the finish badly, merely toe-poking it straight at Al-Habsi. That was a big opportunity.
25 min: Dirk Kuyt goes close! He made a powerful connection to Downing’s cross from close-range, and Al-Habsi, heading in the other direction, managed to stick a leg out to deflect it away. A fine save from the man from Oman.
23 min: Seconds later, Jordi Gomez is allowed to do the exact same thing. That’s three times Liverpool have been caught out by a player running into the area in front of their defence from deep. As yet, it hasn’t resulted in a great opportunity, but they’ll need to do something about that.
22 min: Diame, who has looked excellent so far, does a nice bit of keepy-up to maintain possession, but gets chopped down. After dusting himself off, he collects the free-kick and launches a thunderbolt at Reina’s goal from 30 yards. He goes very close, brushing the side-netting, but it looked like Reina just about had it covered.
20 min: Liverpool pass the ball out of play, which allows Wigan to build an attack. Gomez maintains possession well, but wastes momentum as he goes on a mazy run towards his own goal. In the end, it’s played into the path of the advancing Figueroa, who strikes a firm shot at goal. Pepe Reina saves without too much trouble.
18 min: Poor Wigan passing leads to Liverpool winning the ball just outside their area – it’s chipped in to the onrushing Maxi Rodriguez, who meets it with a volley. His connection is true, but his aim is not.
17 min: David Jones brings Glen Johnson down as he goes on a mazy run, earning a good free-kick opportunity. Adam swings it right into the danger zone, before Alcaraz heads over. The corner doesn’t result in a goal, but does allow Liverpool to put Wigan under siege again.
15 min: Mohamed Diame does brilliantly to hold off the challenge before releasing Sammon with a great pass. It soon comes to Moses, who tries to trick his way past Skrtel, before going down very suspiciously. At first I thought he just fell over, but then he glanced towards the referee. No penalty, and it looked like a clear dive, though replays show there was (very slight) contact.
13 min: Sustained Liverpool pressure builds anew. Wigan have set themselves out very compactly, and as a result, they just can’t get the ball up the pitch or obtain any meaningful possession.
10 min: Wigan get forward for once, and earn a corner courtesy of a silly backpass from Skrtel. Head-tennis ensues, and Liverpool put it out for a throw-in. Gomez then swings it back in with a dangerous cross, which Liverpool just about get clear… before the ball falls to Sammon right outside the goal! A scramble follows, with Sammon unable to get a clean strike at it, before Reina makes a save from close-range, and the referee blows his whistle for a foul. That was very close.
8 min: Fine play from Suarez and Rodriguez in the Liverpool area. They eventually find Henderson in space, who sweeps in a powerful effort at goal. It’s too close to Al-Habsi, however, who palms it away. Wigan can’t get out of their own half at the moment.
7 min: Adam thwacks it waist-high into the middle of the wall. That was rubbish.
6 min: Figueroa gives away a free-kick, dead-centre, 20 yards out. This could be dangerous…
5 min: Liverpool are beginning to put Wigan, who can’t seem to pass the ball out of defence, under some severe pressure. Suarez and Downing attempt to one-two their way through the Wigan defence, but only manage to earn a corner, which comes to nothing.
4 min: It’s been a bit of a slow start. Wigan look reasonably solid, and are enjoying the majority of possession, but there’s been no action as of yet.
1 min: SUAREZ WATCH: Suarez clutches his head for little apparent reason whilst tussling for an aerial ball with Gary Caldwell.
And we’re off!
And yes, the Liverpool players did indeed warm up wearing t-shirts with pictures of Luis Suarez on them. This is insanity, and a ridiculous assessment of when popular mass movements go completely mad.
Suarez starts for Liverpool.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Jones, Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez, Sammon. Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Rodallega, Lopez.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Adam, Downing, Kuyt, Maxi, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Carroll, Coates, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly, Bellamy.
Preamble. So, racism, eh? It’s not good, but of course that’s not what Luis Suarez has been punished for. It was for doing a racist thing. So it’s not as bad. Not. As. Bad. Fact.
Of course, lots of people who haven’t seen the evidence probably disagree with the above statement strongly, and probably in a lot of different ways. I don’t care.
Tonight we’ll be covering Wigan versus Liverpool, with reports of all the action on the pitch, but we’ll be paying special attention to victim/hero/Mandela/Definitely Not Mandela For A Very Obvious Reason, Luis Suarez.
We’ll start the mbm a few minutes before the game, with team news as soon as it’s in.