After The Match 


Wigan-Liverpool 1-1 (1-0)            10.11.10                          PL
Goals: Torres (7)        Rodallega (52)
Team: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky, Meireles, Gerrard, Lucas, Rodriguez, Kuyt, Torres
Subs: Shelvey (Meireles 46), Poulsen (Kuyt 73)
Not used: Hansen, Jovanovic, Ngog, Spearing,  Eccleston
Yellow: Lucas (14), Carragher (58)
Red: None
Referee: Peter Walton
Attendance: 16,754

Shots on target: 6-2
Shots off target: 2-6
Blocked shots: 5-2
Fouls conceded: 10-11
Corners: 5-4
Offsides: 2-1
Possession: 53.8-46.2
Yellow: 0-2
HEADLINES "...of course we understand why people
will be slightly disappointed."
Steven Gerrard
1111: Poulsen finding his feet
1111: Gerrard takes blame for Liverpool FC’s draw with Wigan
1011: Martinez lauds Wigan spirit
1011: Hodgson's Wigan verdict
1011: Reds' winning run ends with disappointing draw 


Poulsen finding his feet

Sky Sports

Christian Poulsen says he is adapting to life in the Premier League as Liverpool look to climb the table.

The Danish midfielder, who arrived at Anfield from Juventus in the summer, appeared as a late substitute during the Reds' 1-1 league draw at Wigan on Wednesday evening.

Poulsen was pleased to get a run-out against the Latics, and has vowed to improve as he begins to get to grips with the pace of the English top flight.

"It was good for me to play the last 20-25 minutes and I wanted to show my best for the team," Poulsen told Liverpool's official website.

"There have been many changes at Liverpool and I have come in this season as a new player.

"We have a new manager and new owners. I am trying to learn as quickly as possible to adapt to the league.

"I know I've got a lot of work to do and I will work hard every day in training at Melwood so I can help this team.

"Liverpool is a great club and I feel really proud to be here. I feel I can improve and give a lot more."

The Dane, who has made 12 appearances for the Reds since arriving in August, including five league starts, says he is grateful for the confidence invested in him by manager Roy Hodgson, adding: "The manager has shown a lot of faith in me."

Poulsen admits the result at the DW Stadium, in which Hugo Rodallega cancelled out Fernando Torres' early goal, was not what Hodgson's men were hoping for following their encouraging 2-0 triumph over leaders Chelsea at the weekend.

However, the midfielder insists Liverpool, now ninth in the table, are beginning to put their nightmare start to the season behind them, and remains optimistic they can still challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot in the coming months.

Tough start
"It's been a tough start for us but we are improving and want to get in the top four as quickly as possible," he said.

"I thought we started the game well and it looked like we were going to win it. But Wigan were strong in the second half and the early goal helped them.

"After a brilliant win over Chelsea it was frustrating for us but it's a tough Premier League this season with teams taking points off one another.

"Every team can beat each other - there is no easy game and Wigan showed that against us."

Gerrard takes blame for
Liverpool FC’s draw with Wigan

By Dominic King - Liverpool Echo

Steven Gerrard today held his hands up for the role he played in costing Liverpool victory at Wigan last night – then vowed to put the record straight at Stoke.

Liverpool’s captain was one of his side’s better performers in the 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium but he cut a frustrated figure as he headed for home.

Aside from seeing a shot cannon back off the crossbar when sent clean through by Maxi Rodriguez, Gerrard also felt culpable for Wigan’s goal, which was scored by Hugo Rodallega.

Gerrard tried to play a one-two with Paul Konchesky but his pass was cut out, which allowed Wigan to counterattack and pilfer an equaliser.

That prevented Liverpool, who had taken the lead through Fernando Torres, from leaping into fifth place but Gerrard was quick to point out that it was not all doom and gloom.

Roy Hodgson’s men have extended their unbeaten run to six games and the inspirational midfielder has promised to do all he can to make that tally seven at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

“I tried to play a one-two that, if it had come off, could have been a good move,” Gerrard explained. “You don’t expect it to lead to a goal but, when it does, you have to take responsibility.

“Then when I went through on goal, I maybe struck my shot too well but I should have scored – I expected to. As we haven’t taken maximum points, maybe people should point a finger at me.

“Maybe our performance suffered after the energy and intensity we put into beating Chelsea. You can often find that happening after you play a game 72 hours after a big fixture.

“Besides those things, I’m happy with my form. After a fantastic win over Chelsea and having gone 1-0 up, of course we understand why people will be slightly disappointed.

“But we have kept our unbeaten run going, Fernando has got another goal and there are other positives.

“It’s going to be tough at Stoke but we will have to stand up and fight, stick together and if we get a win, that would be a superb result. We will be ready for it.”

Full-back Martin Kelly has joined his captain in promising a swift response and has admitted Liverpool need to be more savvy than they were during the second period last night.

“We came out in the second half but they put a lot more pressure on us and, at times, it was hard to cope but we have got another game coming up quickly at Stoke,” said Kelly.

“We have got to put this behind us. It was disappointing and we know that we are better than that. You have got to be able to grind it out but Stoke will be a different game to this.

“We have just got to go out with the same game plan, aim to start well and make sure that we get a better result than we did here. We have got to make sure we put this right. Stoke have got big, strong men up front and we will have to stay solid.”

Martinez lauds Wigan spirit

By Elliot Ball - Sky Sports

Roberto Martinez hailed the character of his Wigan Athletic players as they held Liverpool on Wednesday.

The Reds thought they were on their way to a fifth successive win when Fernando Torres opened the scoring early on but Hugo Rodallega put paid to the visitors' three-point hopes with a 52nd minute equaliser.

Although Steven Gerrard came the closest to scoring late on as his rattled the crossbar, it was Martinez's Latics who bossed the majority of the match and were unfortunate not to run out victors at the DW Stadium.

The draw means Wigan fail to move out of the bottom three but Martinez is confident they will claw their way out of trouble if they continue to play as well as they did in midweek.

"You look at the performance and you feel we dropped two points," Martinez told Sky Sports HD.

"Sometimes you need that luck and at the moment we are not getting any of that.

"But after a performance like tonight it's just a matter of time before things come together."

Wigan went into the game on a two-match losing run and a third successive defeat looked on the cards when Torres gave Liverpool the lead in the seventh minute.

But the Reds were playing second fiddle to the Latics for the remainder of the game and Martinez heaped praise on his charges for showing such a spirited response to going a goal down.

"It would have been easy to fold or capitulate or let Liverpool control the game but we stopped that," said the Spaniard, whose side host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

"We had to use extra energy and that reaction in the last 20 minutes of the first half and the whole second half I felt we were the better side.

"And to say that against a Liverpool side full of confidence is a huge compliment and the amount of chances we created is extremely pleasing and I'm very proud of the players."

Hodgson's Wigan verdict

By Paul Hassall at the DW Stadium - LFC Official Website

Roy Hodgson felt his side paid the price for their recent exertions as they produced what he described as a 'tired' performance in the 1-1 draw at Wigan.

The Reds had looked set to extend their winning run to five matches when Fernando Torres fired home a brilliant opener on six minutes.

However, the home side recovered to level through Hugo Rodallega, leaving the boss frustrated by his team's second-half showing.

"We didn't deserve to win the game," he told his post-match press conference.

"We looked tired today and I don't think our passing was anywhere near as good as we expected it to be. We had a bright start and a 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 with the point we got from the game."

He added: "It was a wonderful piece of play from two outstanding players for our goal. It was a marvellous pass and wonderful finish that put us on the front foot. But we didn't capitalise on that. Even though we had a spell when we were pretty much in control, there were also long periods, especially from the start of the second half, where we just invited Wigan on to us.

"We consistently gave the ball away and as a result they took advantage and equalised. We did better towards the end and were perhaps a little bit unlucky with Steven's (Gerrard) shot that hit the underside of the crossbar, but it would have been harsh on Wigan had we won it."

Asked why he felt his side had failed to produce a similar display to the one that saw off Chelsea, Hodgson added: "I'd put that down to Napoli, Blackburn, Bolton and Chelsea - all with a small squad of players.

"We have five injuries at the moment. We finished the game with Martin Kelly, Jonjo Shelvey and Nathan Eccleston. That's what we have at the moment. Hopefully we will get some players back soon.

"Johnson's not fit. I overestimated his short training session and underestimated what would happen after it the following day, so he wasn't fit.

"Now we have to work hard to get players back in the right physical and mental frame of mind for another tough test at Stoke.

"We knew this game would be difficult because Wigan are not a bad side at all. They haven't had a good start themselves but showed they are a good football team on many occasions this evening."

The boss was also quizzed by journalist about his decision to substitute Raul Meireles at half-time.

Hodgson explained: "He was sick. I don't know how long it will take for him to recover. He felt ill just before the game in the warm up. He wanted to play and got through the first half but at half-time he was sick again, so there was no option."

Reds' winning run ends
with disappointing draw

Liverpool Echo

Liverpool’s four-match winning run was halted by a lively Wigan at the DW Stadium as Roy Hodgson’s side faded badly after taking an early lead.

Despite being given an early advantage by Fernando Torres’ third goal in four days, the visitors lost their grip on the game midway through the first half and never regained it.

Wigan equalised through Hugo Rodallega in the 52nd minute and finished the better side as the Merseysiders appeared to feel the exertions of beating Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday.

That will be a concern to manager Hodgson, who has complained about the depth of quality in his squad, with a trip to Stoke next up on Saturday.

The draw meant Liverpool missed the chance to move into the top five - a scenario which seemed a distant prospect just a few weeks ago with the Reds mired in the relegation zone until they put together three league wins to add to a victory in Europe.

It must also have annoyed Hodgson because, as they did against Chelsea, his side began strongly with Sunday’s man of the match Lucas Leiva unleashing a 25-yard strike which Ali Al Habsi just managed to tip over.

The next time the visitors attacked the goalkeeper was given no chance by a clinical Torres.

An unusual statistic for this season is that all Liverpool’s league goals, apart from their opening match against Arsenal, have either been scored or provided by Steven Gerrard and Torres.

The Reds’ star duo demonstrated why their partnership is so successful in the seventh minute when Gerrard was given far too much time to carry the ball through midfield.

His perfectly-weighted 30-yard pass allowed Torres to outpace Gary Caldwell and fire across Al Habsi into the far corner of the goal.

It was the 26-year-old’s first away goal since March 21 and, considering his prolific record, only the 17th in 41 matches outside Anfield.

The simplicity of that strike was contrasted by their next move, which saw Gerrard, Torres and Dirk Kuyt combine before the captain volleyed over from the Dutchman’s header.

Torres was looking at his dangerous best and when Antolin Alcaraz stumbled he was clean through only for referee Peter Walton to pull play back for a non-existent foul.

Charles N’Zogbia looked Wigan’s best outlet and he thought he had equalised in the 33rd minute when he seized on Lucas’ weak pass and played a one-two with Rodallega to tap home but his team-mate had already been flagged offside.

A Ronnie Stam pass intended for Rodallega at the near post rolled agonisingly wide of the far upright as Wigan finished the half on the up.

Raul Meireles was replaced by Jonjo Shelvey for the start of the second half and the teenager’s first contribution was to give the ball away to Rodallega but his forward pass to N’Zogbia was too strong.

The Colombian was not so wasteful moments later when Jose Reina could only palm Stam’s low cross into his path and he gratefully fired home left-footed.

Wigan sensed their chance as Liverpool’s play became increasingly ragged and Martinez sent on young forward Victor Moses for Jordi Gomez.

Kuyt’s strike from Shelvey’s deflected shot was half-saved by Al Habsi before it crossed the line but the Holland international had come back from an offside position and it was ruled out.

It was a brief rally as Stam again found room down the right to cross and Martin Kelly had to hack away at the far post under pressure from Tom Cleverley.

Gerrard’s shot 10 minutes from time crashed down off the crossbar but not over the line with Al Habsi beaten as the game became end-to-end.

But it was Liverpool who were grateful for the final whistle as Mohamed Diame and N’Zogbia both forced low saves out of Reina.

The result may prove to only be a blip in Liverpool’s recovery but Hodgson cannot allow his side to lose any momentum having built up so much confidence over the last three weeks.

Wigan may ultimately have been disappointed with a point, having won the corresponding fixture last season and finished so strongly, but it at least avoided a third successive league defeat.

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