After The Match 


Wigan-Liverpool 0-4 (0-4)           2.12.06                           PL
Goals: Bellamy (9, 25), Kuyt (40), McCulloch (og 45)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Riise, Hyypia, Agger, Carragher, Gerrard, Garcia, Alonso, Kuyt, Bellamy
Subs: Pennant (Garcia 51), Paletta (Hyypia 61),
Guthrie (Gerrard 79)
Not used: Dudek, Fowler
Yellow: Alonso (23), Bellamy (74)       Hall (13), Heskey (16)
Red: None
Referee: Mike Riley
Attendance: 22,089
Shots on target: 4-5
Shots off target: 8-3
Possession: 48-51
Fouls conceded: 9-15
Corners: 8-2
Offsides: 5-9
Yellow: 2-2


Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard in the middle is very important
to us..."

    Rafael Benitez

0212: Bellamy glad to be playing
0212: Rafa beams at Reds triumph
0212: Jewell fumes at Latics defending
0212: Bellamy inspires four-star Reds


Bellamy glad to be playing

By Mark Buckingham - Sky Sports

Craig Bellamy admits his return to the Liverpool team could not have gone better as he scored twice in a 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic.

The striker was only a late substitute against Manchester City last week and sat out the midweek draw with Portsmouth due to his appearance in court.

He was cleared of assault earlier in the week and was restored to the Liverpool team by Rafa Benitez for Saturday's trip to The JJB Stadium.

Bellamy rewarded his manager with a virtuoso performance, as he netted twice and set up Dirk Kuyt for the third goal.

The win was also Liverpool's first away from home in the Premiership this season and it was a positive day all round for Bellamy.

"It was good to get out there," Bellamy told Sky Sports News.

"We haven't done as well as we'd have liked away from home this season.

"Today was the chance to put that right and we knew it would be tough here at Wigan.

"It went as well as it could have done really."

Rafa beams at Reds triumph

By Graeme Bailey - Sky Sports

Rafa Benitez was understandably pleased with his Liverpool side after they cruised to a 4-0 win at Wigan.

Craig Bellamy inspired the display with two goals to help The Reds to their first away win in the league this season.

"It could have been 2-6, it might have been better for everyone - but not the keepers," the Spaniard told Sky Sports.

"We gave them some chances but we had many chances on the counter but it was a very good game especially for our fans.

"It was clear that we have been creating chances and we needed to score early and it was clear when we scored first we would then have more opportunities."

Benitez opted for a 3-5-2 formation and was pleased with how the system worked.

"To have Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard in the middle is very important to us, with Bellamy and Kuyt's work was unbelievable - the team was working hard and the quality made a big difference.

"We knew we had to keep the ball and be well organised. At the end of the day we have the result and will be really pleased."

Jewell fumes at Latics defending

By Graeme Bailey - Sky Sports

Wigan boss Paul Jewell felt his side's defending was woeful against Liverpool.

The Latics were 4-0 down at the break to The Reds who out-played Wigan in the opening 45 minutes.

Although Wigan kept Liverpool at bay in the second period, that was of little comfort to Jewell.

"Liverpool could have done that to any team they faced if the team they faced defended the way in which we did first half," he told Sky Sports.

"I was worried this was coming from Liverpool, but we have given some horrendous goals away today and when you do that you are not going to recover.

"Bellamy is a top player with great pace, but most teams in this league have got forwards with pace - we have got one, but when we defend like we did, as poorly as we did, even I could have got in.

"We have got to defend better than that and all around the pitch we have to do better.

"I think you have to learn from every game, good, bad or indifferent and we can't dwell on it, we have got another game on Wednesday - but what I want us to learn is from the lessons of Liverpool today, they made the game look simple.

"If you do the easy things well you have always got a half a chance, and we couldn't do the simple things well and we couldn't get up a head of steam, we didn't play with any tempo like we normally do.

"The world of losers and football is full of people who are unlucky. We have got to do better."

Bellamy inspires four-star Reds

By Graeme Bailey - Sky Sports

A tremendous first half display from Liverpool saw them steamroller Wigan as they claimed a memorable 4-0 win at The JJB Stadium to register their first away win in the Premiership this season.

Craig Bellamy put the stresses of his recent court case well and truly behind him as he doubled his tally for the season with two goals in the opening half hour as he produced his best performance to date since joining the Merseyside giants.

The Reds added two more just before the interval to seal the win as Dirk Kuyt pounced and Lee McCulloch put through his own net.

The game in truth was over by half-time although it could be argued that the match as a contest was done just before the half hour mark after Bellamy registered his second.

The Reds started well as they quickly came to terms with their new-look 3-5-2 formation and the lead was theirs with the first meaningful attack of the game.

John Arne Riise picked up the ball and picked out the run of Bellamy, who easily shrugged off the attentions of the hapless Matt Jackson before striding into the box and coolly side-footing home past Chris Kirkland.

Bellamy then headed wide from Steve Finnan's cross as Liverpool continued to monopolise possession as they utilised their wing backs to maximum effect.

Steven Gerrard should have done better when put clean through, but as he tried to find a free Bellamy in the box, he miscued his effort and Wigan cleared.

The home side did not have a sight of goal until just after the 20 minute mark as Henri Camara flashed a shot wide after good work from Paul Scharner down the left.

That proved to be a brief moment of hope for Wigan as Liverpool soon doubled their lead. Josip Skoko carelessly gave the ball away in midfield and the ball eventually fell for Gerrard, who played the ball into the box to send Bellamy clear and he obliged with another cultured finish past Kirkland.

Unlike with the first, the second goal sparked Wigan into some action and they should have pulled one back through McCulloch but the Scottish international blazed over from just six yards after Jose Reina could only parry a Scharner header.

An equally good opportunity followed for Camara. Emile Heskey's first sight of goal against his former club saw him go clear but Reina was out quickly to block with his chest - but Camara could not convert the rebound and fired wide.

Wigan were left to rue their missed chances as Liverpool added two more goals in a five-minute spell just before half-time.

The third was a wonderfully crafted goal. Luis Garcia picked up the ball in his own half and picked out Gerrard's run with pin-point perfection - the Reds skipper took the ball in his stride before playing Bellamy clear and the Welshman unselfishly squared the ball across the box for Kuyt to fire home.

Salt was rubbed into the wounds with the fourth as this time McCulloch did find the back of the net, but unfortunately for him it was his own. Gerrard exchanged passes with Finnan down the right before crossing into the six-yard box but under pressure from Kuyt, McCulloch could not help the ball hitting his leg and it left Kirkland with little chance.

Paul Jewell changed things at the interval as David Cotterill and David Wright were introduced.

It was though once again Liverpool who were quicker into their stride and Kuyt tested Kirkland with an audacious attempt from out wide as he curled the ball with the outside of his foot - but the England man was equal to it on this occasion.

Wigan then had the ball in the net with their first chance after the restart as Scharner headed home from close range - but he was adjudged offside.

Soon after Liverpool were forced into a change as Jermaine Pennant was brought on for Garcia and before long Gabriel Palletta was introduced for Sami Hyypia.

Bellamy threatened to blot his copy book late on as he clashed off the ball with Leighton Baines as he kicked out at the England Under 21 man - and he may consider himself fortunate only to have been handed a yellow by Mike Riley.

With game already well won, Rafa Benitez took off Gerrard and gave Danny Guthrie a run-out in midfield.

Heskey could then have added some silver lining to an otherwise completely forgettable afternoon as he latched onto a loose ball in the box and was unlucky as he crashed his shot against the post and to compound Athletic's day, Cotterill could not react as the ball bounced off him and wide from just a yard.

Wright should have added a consolation in the last minute as some rare sloppy defensive work from Liverpool saw the full-back work his way free in the box but he fired over, as the visitors claimed a well deserved clean sheet.

Liverpool now find themselves in fifth, but Benitez will be left beaming with the performance of his side who adapted brilliantly to playing three central defenders and it really gives him a whole new option, given how both Bellamy and Gerrard particularly flourished in the new system.

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Thor Zakariassen