After The Match 


Wigan-Liverpool 1-0 (1-0)               11.02.06                     PL
Goals: Hyypia (30)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Kewell, Alonso, Hamann, Gerrard, Fowler, Morientes
Subs: Kromkamp (Fowler 66), Cisse (Morientes 71)
Not used: Carson, Sissoko, Traore
Yellow: Thompson (25), Henchoz (28)
Red: None
Referee: Rob Styles
Attendance: 25,013 
Shots on target: 1-6
Shots off target: 4-1
Possession: 48-52
Fouls conceded: 8-3
Corners: 4-3
Offsides: 1-6
Yellow: 2-0


a difficult
game against a good team..."
    Rafael Benitez

1302: Hyypia: Goal was 'a bonus'
1202: Fowler feeling good
1102: Camara absence has Jewell fuming
1102: Rafa pleased with "important" win
1102: Hyypia ends Reds' away woes


Hyypia: Goal was 'a bonus'

By Ian Parkes - Daily Post Correspondent

Liverpool's match-winner at Wigan on Saturday, Sami Hyypia, described his goal as "a bonus" as Liverpool ended their away-day misery after two Barclays Premiership defeats on the road in the past week, to Chelsea and Charlton.

Hyypia's volley on the half-hour mark was enough to give Liverpool victort at the JJB Stadium on Saturday.

And Hyypia admitted it had been far from the complete performance by Liverpool, saying: "We can obviously do better."

But he was delighted to get the win and on a personal note to hit the only goal of the game.

"I go up to setpieces and I've waited to score a goal," he said.

"Of course my job is to keep clean sheets rather than score goals, but goals are a bonus. And today it was with my left foot as well."

Asked whether the goal should have stood, given Paul Scharner fell under his challenge, Hyypia replied: "I think somebody pushed me in the back and I may have pushed him a little bit and he fell."

Hyypia's defensive team-mate Jamie Carragher claimed the poor pitch made it hard for Liverpool to play constructive football.

"It's the same for them," he said.

"It's a battle. You've just got to hit the channels and get the second ball.

"We had to get back on track and to get a win against Wigan is a great result."

Fowler feeling good

By Peter ORourke - Sky Sports

Robbie Fowler is happy with his progress after making his first start for Liverpool since his return to the club.

The former Leeds and Manchester City man impressed during his side's 1-0 win at Wigan on Saturday.

Fowler was delighted to get his first start at The JJB Stadium and he is hoping to be the answer to Liverpool's goalscoring problems in attack.

"It's been a long time since I started, but I felt I didn't play too badly," said Fowler.

"Although I did tire, I was happy with what I put into the game.

"I've done my fair share of training, probably no more than the rest of the lads in terms of quantity, but I have been putting that extra in in terms of quality.

"I've felt sharp, although with me virtually not playing since May, it was fairly obvious I was going to tire.

"But it was just great to be back, although I'm desperate to get that first goal, and I'm confident in what I can do.

"If I'm not scoring and the team is winning, I'm very happy with that, but as a forward you always want to score goals, and I'm no different.

"The important thing was the win and the clean sheet because we have been on a bit of a bad run.

"There had been a bit of a blip, and that's not down to anyone in particular.

"Maybe the lads are tired with the run they've had, but the three points are a boost.

"Thankfully that blip is behind us, and we have to look forward."

Camara absence has Jewell fuming

BBC Sport Online

Wigan boss Paul Jewell was left fuming by Henri Camara's no-show that meant his side did not have a recognised striker as they lost 1-0 to Liverpool.

Camara was scheduled to return to Wigan from Egypt on Friday following African Cup of Nations duty with Senegal.

Jewell has no idea where Camara has been since Senegal's third place play-off loss to Nigeria on Thursday.

The Latics boss said: "He was booked on a flight yesterday, but I don't know what the situation is."

Jewell went on: "I am here to talk about people who gave their all for Wigan Athletic and that's what those lads in the dressing room did.

"We are not going to feel sorry for ourselves.

"We only had 15 players, and if Henri had turned up we would had have 16, which led to us placing a kid from the youth team on the bench.

"I am very disappointed with Henri, but again I only want to talk about the people who are here and nobody else. You can take from that what you want."

Rafa pleased with "important" win

By Mark Platt - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez spoke of his pleasure at seeing Liverpool register their first Premiership win since mid-January but admitted the performance against Wigan could have been better.

Sami Hyypia's first goal of the season on the half hour mark was enough to secure all three points for the Reds in a scrappy game at the JJB Stadium and end their mini-slump.

Benitez said: "Yes, this was an important win for us because recent results have not been good. It's also important in terms of our confidence and I think the players have today got their just desserts because they have worked very hard for it.

"It was a difficult game against a good team who played high tempo football. The pitch did not help and some of our players tired towards the end because of this. Sometimes it was a problem keeping the ball and passing it but it was the same for both sides.

"We were trying to play well and I think we were organised throughout. At the start of the second half Wigan pressed but we controlled most of the match. We showed character, our movement was good but at times our final pass let us down."

Asked if he was surprised to see Hyypia's name on the scoresheet, the Liverpool boss added: "No, it was not a surprise because Sami has been known to score goals before. I think the type of goal he scored was more of a surprise because he normally scores with his head.

"It is good to see defenders getting forward. It gives us more possibilities in attack. If the strikers can't score then it's important that we can rely on other areas of the team to provide goals."

Robbie Fowler started his first game in Liverpool colours following his recent return to the club and Benitez concluded his post-match press conference by revealing he was impressed with Fowler's contribution.

"He (Fowler) did well and his understanding with Morientes was good."

Hyypia ends Reds' away woes

By Tom Adams - Sky Sports

Liverpool ended their away-day woes with a 1-0 win over Wigan, as Sami Hyypia brought a halt to a run of three consecutive league defeats on the road.

However, it was a far from dominant display from the European champions as their frontline failed again on what was Robbie Fowler's first start for the club since his shock return.

It was left to Finnish defender Hyypia to seal the three points with a first half finish, but Rafa Benitez's men had to survive a determined second half display from The Latics as they held on for the win that takes them to within three points of Manchester United.

With the relative striking crises of the two sides it was almost inevitable that the first half at The JJB Stadium would be a largely joyless affair, a situation not helped by the shocking state of the pitch, and it took a defender's intervention to assist Liverpool's misfiring stars even on the occasion of Fowler's full debut.

The Latics were also forced into employing a makeshift strikeforce of Andreas Johansson and Paul Scharner with Henri Camara and Jason Roberts unavailable, and their play in the final third lacked cohesion as they frequently lost possession in the early stages.

With Peter Crouch absent, Fowler took centre stage for The Reds, and captain Steven Gerrard, passed fit for the tie, frequently looked to find his Scouse colleague as he first appealed for a handball when Stephane Henchoz blocked a cross before getting too much on another pass for the striker.

Harry Kewell also fed Fowler for a low header that Mike Pollitt grasped at his near post, and the mission to get the returning hero on the scoresheet looked to have got to Gerrard as the normally potent Reds skipper opted to flick a return ball to the striker rather than chance his own luck on 22 minutes, and after creating the opening Fowler could not complete it as Pollitt gathered gratefully.

Fittingly, given their recent goal-shy nature, it was a defensive link-up that provided Liverpool with the opener on the half hour mark, as Wigan failed to clear from a Gerrard set-piece after former Liverpool man Henchoz saw yellow for a dangerous challenge on Fernando Morientes.

As the ball rebounded outside the Wigan box Jamie Carragher hooked a speculative pass over his head, and Hyypia found himself perfectly situated to finish first time with an angled shot that Pollitt got a slight hand to.

The Wigan shot-stopper could perhaps have done better, but he continued to add to his growing reputation with seconds ticking away in the first half when he showed impressive reactions to palm away a close range effort from Morientes after the Spaniard met a well-placed cross from the ubiquitous Fowler.

The home side's best effort came when Reto Ziegler tried his luck from range with a wayward effort, as The Latics struggled to live up to their billing of surprise European contenders against the European champions.

However, it was a markedly different matter after the break as Wigan started the opening few minutes with more attacking energy and verve than they showed in the previous 45.

Scharner had a header tipped over acrobatically by Jerzy Dudek before the referee's assistant raised his flag, but the Pole again had to look lively when turning over Johansson's legitimate effort after an incisive cross from Matt Jackson.

The former Everton man, enjoying a rare run-out, nearly turned provider in unlikely fashion as his cross was turned towards his own net by Hyypia - although Dudek was down smartly to save at his near post.

However, the visitors, rocked by Wigan's renewed aggression, threatened again when a surging run from Gerrard saw the Reds captain jump over two passes from Fowler and Morientes - however when he did pick the ball up with a sight of goal his drive was too close to Pollitt.

The right flank continued to prove productive for The Latics as two Ziegler corners resulted in Arjan De Zeeuw heading at goal - and the stopper should have scored with his second after arriving unmarked in the box.

Yet more pressure from the home side forced Benitez's hand, and Fowler's day was cut short when he and Morientes made way for Jan Kromkamp and Djibril Cisse.

As The Reds continued to struggle in the final third they again turned to Hyypia for inspiration as the towering Finnish stopper rose to meet a corner on 79 minutes, although his effort lacked power and Xabi Alonso was also unable to stretch a leg to turn it past Pollitt.

Cisse also tested the Latics keeper in the closing stages as The Reds managed to stifle the Wigan resistance and record a much-needed away win.

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Thor Zakariassen