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
"It was good to get out there," Bellamy told Sky Sports
"We haven't done as well as we'd have liked away from home
"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."
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
"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
Jewell fumes at
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
The Reds added two more just before the interval to seal the
win as Dirk Kuyt pounced and Lee McCulloch put through his
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
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
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
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
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
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.