Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Live Thoughts: Wigan vs Liverpool (Premier League)

I covered this match live. Here are my unedited thoughts on the match between Wigan and Liverpool.

Hey there, thanks for joining me on another live thoughts feed. Suarez? I'm not going to go into that today. I've written an article about that. You'll see it tomorrow. Let's get straight into the match!

Here are the teams: 

Wigan: Al-Habsi, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Jones, Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez, Sammon. Subs: Pollitt, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Rodallega, Lopez.

It's as good a side as Wigan can put out. We should be winning today, pure and simple. Will Wigan turn up, as they have in recent games against us? We'll see.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Henderson, Adam, Downing, Kuyt, Maxi, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Carroll, Coates, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly, Bellamy.

Kuyt and Maxi come on for Shelvey and Bellamy. Rotation. I like it. All of these players are playing well so it's hard keeping any of them out, so I like the way we're rotating. Unless a player is playing exceptionally well in this winter season we should rotate as often as possible.

3' - Funny chants today. A huge roar from the Anfield crowd for Suarez, singing "I Just Can't Get Enough" all the time. Whenever Suarez has the ball the Wigan crowd are booing him immediately. Strong reactions from both sets.

5' - The Liverpool crowd just won't shut up, it's great! They keep singing! Major statement from the Liverpool faithful.

8' - Henderson! Good save by Al-Habsi. Soem good movement from Suarez and Maxi, and Henderson shoots from just outside the box and it's palmed out for a corner, which is dealt with eventually.

11' - A big tangle in the Liverpool box and Gomez hits it in the net but the whistle blows for a free kick in Liverpool's favour. Reina was down I believe. 

15' - Victor Moses goes down in the box and tries to claim a penalty. An obvious dive, but the referee does nothing. Shame. 

16' - The commentators won't shup up about this 20,000 goal landmark that we're approaching. Does it really matter? I suppose it does. 

17' - Just in case you didn't know, Reina and Enrique are the only players to play every minute in the Premier League for us this season. Decent stat. 

19' - Moses takes a shot from about 40 yards out. Very ambitious.

22' - DIAME! Side netting! Wow, another 40 yard shot for Wigan, but that one was hit smoothly! If it was a few inches to the right it would have been the top left corner! 

23' - We were in control of the match for the first 10 or 15 minutes but Wigan are starting to find their feet at the moment. This crowd is very good, both sets of supporters full of voice today. 

24' - Kuyt from close range and Al-Habsi saves, and Wigan clear for a corner. The attack from the corner ends with Agger with his right foot and it's just over the crossbar. 

25' - JOHNSON! Another good safve from Al-Habsi! Maxi and Glen Johnson combine and Johnson shoots straight at the Wigan keeper, he could have done better than that I feel. 

26' - Diame again! Good save by Reina! A low shot from the left of the penalty box and Reina saves nicely to his left and we clear. It's a good game this! 

28' - Charlie Adam shoots from just outside the box and it's saved by Al-Habsi. It was a clear crisp shot but the Omanian keeper had it. Had he fumbled Suarez was there to take advantage but credit where it's due, Al-Habsi has dealt with everything Liverpool has given him so far. 

31' - Both teams are playing to a high tempo which is good. Credit to Roberto Martinez, he likes to play good attacking football so in the end it's making a very entertaining match. Both sides are really going for it, with Liverpool showing the quality naturally more so than Wigan. 

34' - The "I Just Can't Get Enough" chant is starting again. Liverpool fans were singing it non-stop for a good 10 minutes when the match started. 

36' - Victor Moses goes for a great run and about three or four red shirts can't stop him! Johnson tries to tackle him but fails and he takes a shot straight at Reina, who's fists hit the ball towards the corner flag. 

39' - If you're wanting an assessment on how Suarez has been today he's looked okay, he's quietly doing his job. He can explode into action at any minute but you can tell he's not trying to draw attention to himself, which is good. 

42' - Suarez is brought down from a tackle by Antolin Alcaraz. It was a free kick all around, but the Wigan crowd are chanting "CHEAT" at him. Disgraceful.

43' - Gomez and Sammon combine well and if it wasn't for Johnson, Conor Sammon would have scored the 20,000th goal. Yes, we're at 19,999 now. Exciting huh? I hope you can sense my sarcasm.

45' - Two minutes of added time. James McCarthy looks like he's going to go off the pitch.

45+3' - An extra minute was added due to McCarthy, who looks like he'll be okay. Half time.

It was a decent first half of football. As an unbiased fan it was very entertaining. As a Liverpool fan we started well, but slowly put our foot off the gas as the match went on. We need to regroup and get that dominance back on, and hopefully score. I really hope Suarez scores today, it'll be great. The 20,000th goalscorer is Mark Albrighton. Woohoo. Congrats oh lord and master of landmark goalscoring prowess. 

46' - A free kick from Suarez and a lovely save from Al-Habsi! That was going in otherwise, a great freekick from the right hand side of the pitch, 15 yards out. 

47' - A good attack from Wigan, orchestrated by Moses and he takes a low shot and Reina saves low. 

49' - The ball is all over the Wigan box, Suarez ends up doing a bicycle kick and it hits the arm of Gary Caldwell and a PENALTY! 

50' - SAVED! Charlie Adam struck it well to his right and Al-Habsi saves brilliantly! Why cant' we score penalties this season?! 

52' - This match does have "Liverpool dominate and miracle saves from opposition goalkeeper" written all over it by the way. Why do keepers like turning up to matches against us?

55' - A replay of the penalty and Adam's shot was more central than it first looked, but it would have beaten a lot of keepers. I don't blame Adam. It's not like Carroll's penalty a few weeks back, that was atrocious. 

56' - Gomez takes a decent shot that swerves slightly but Reina saves very well. I need to give Reina credit here, he's been very good today and he's been tested a few times, more so than usual. 

59' - Kuyt had a decent shot from long range on the volley and Al-Habsi saves comfortably. It wasn't the strongest of shots, if Gerrard was on it I reckon he would have scored. 

60' - Wigan Substitution: Conor Sammon comes off for Franco Di Santo.

63' - Quick corner from Downing to Enrique, who whips in a cross and Skrtel heads it high. He could have done better than that, he was the tallest to reach it with considerable ease.

65' - Yellow card for Gary Caldwell for a tackle on Suarez. 

66' - The following free kick sees Kuyt run on his own, Adam takes the free kick and he shoots over the bar. Great idea, it wasn't crafted out as planned. 

67' - From the Liverpool box Downing storms down the left wing and is eventually caught up with, but he manges to win a corner. He takes it quick and Kuyt gets on the end of it at the left post and cuts it back but there's too many Wigan defenders in the way for Suarez to get to the goal. Kudos to Downing for that excellent run though.

69' - Bellamy and Shelvey are getting ready to come on. Good timing, I think we're running out of steam and need fresh impetus. 

71' - Double Liverpool Substitution: Jonjo Shelvey and Craig Bellamy come on for Maxi Rodriguez and Dirk Kuyt. Maxi barely did anything in that second half, he was good in the first. Kuyt was as hard working as ever, and showed frustration in coming off by kicking some sports drinks. Not a good reaction from Kuyt there.

72' - Double Wigan Substitution: David Jones and Jordi Gomez come off and Ben Watson and Hugo Rodallega. Wigan have used all their subs now.

75' - Hugo Rodallega scored in both matches at this stadium against us last season and the season before. I hope it's not three in three for the Colombian, it'd probably be a winner if it is. 

77' - A strong run from Victor Moses down the right wing, he cuts into the Liverpool box and Skrtel gets to it, kicking it for a throw in. 

78' - Franco Di Santo shields the ball for a throw-in but Glen Johnson gets irritated and tackles badly from behind. He gets a yellow card. Silly way to concede a card for Johnson, I expect better from him. That was just frustration. 

80' - The commentators just said that FIFA are thinking of getting rid of the loan system. Seriously? How pathetic. The loan system is excellent for football; it gives youngsters a chance to test their trade at high paced, high quality lower league football, instead of being wasted in the reserves where results don't matter. 

83' - We really don't look like scoring. A draw seems inevitable. We haven't' played well enough in this second half. 

84' - RODALLEGA! Corner. A lovely cross from Victor Moses and Rodallega heads it clean at goal, but Johnson deflects the header at close range for a corner. Best chance of the match so far and it goes to Wigan frustratingly. 

86' - Liverpool Substitution: Luis Suarez comes off for Andy Carroll. Boos go around the DW Stadium as Suarez comes off. He's been quiet today, in a good way, he's been effective in a mature way. Kudos to him for playing under such pressure. 

88' - Rodallega is through on goal! But Reina comes out and just about, I mean just about, deals with it, it goes for a throw in. 

89' - Ali Al-Habsi wins the man of the match award. Completely justified. Yet another goalkeeping clinic against Liverpool. Good times. 

90' - Four minutes of added time. 

90+1' - Liverpool are desperately fighting to get a goal, and Ben Watson is all over the place tackling. Good work there by the young Englishman. 

90+2' - Free kick about 15/20 yards out for Liverpool. This is it now I'd say. We score or it's a draw. 

90+3' - Bellamy takes it and it hits the wall and Wigan clear. 

90+3' - Shelvey takes a tame shot and it's saved by Al-Habsi. 

90+4' - Full time.

Well, what can I say? It was like every other goalless draw we have had all season. Lots of Liverpool dominance, no goals, excellent opposition goalkeeping. That's it. The only other even that occurred otherwise was Charlie Adam's penalty which was saved very well. We just attract keepers to play on form for some reason. We were very good in the first half, the second half was poor though. We weren't' good enough, it was one of our weakest 45 minutes of the season I'd say. But, let's hope we have enough in the tank against Newcastle.

Before I finish, I'd like to once again say I have a football article planned already for tomorrow. I've written it. It's dealing with the Luis Suarez situation. I hope you come back to read it tomorrow, it's an interesting piece. Also, no Live Thoughts from me for the next two matches. I'll be back with the Live Thoughts on New Years Eve. If you visit the site purely for Live Thoughts, Merry Christmas. Otherwise please come back tomorrow, the article will definitely interest football fans in general, not just Liverpool fans. I'm signing off here now, have a good night.

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