Kuyt celebrates another winning goal. (PA Photos)
Gerrard: Reds need to dictate
Steven Gerrard insists Liverpool must
start 'dictating' games, rather than relying on late
comebacks, if they are to have a successful season.
The Reds are riding high in the Premier League, but they
have had to come from behind on four different occasions to
win and retain their unbeaten status.
Their latest comeback came against Wigan at the weekend,
when they twice went behind to Amr Zaki goals, but they
fought back to seal a 3-2 triumph.
Although Gerrard is pleased with the battling qualities
shown by the side, he admits they need to start dominating
teams from the start.
"In the past few weeks, we have proved that you can never
count us out in any situation, and the battling qualities we
have shown are very important," he said in the Daily Mirror.
"But we know that we cannot keep conceding the lead in games
like we have done in the last two matches.
"Sooner or later, it is going to catch up with us, and we'll
pay the price.
"We have shown the grit, determination and belief that there
is in this squad this season, but we have to start dictating
"However we are full of confidence after what we have
achieved, and we believe that there is a lot more to come
from this side than we have seen so far.
"We are ready to take it on to another level and the
confidence we now have will help us."
Good, the bad
and the ugly for Agger
By Tom Kell - Setanta Sports
Daniel Agger was relieved to come through
his first Premier League start of the season unscathed, but
even more thankful that Liverpool put aside his first-half
blunder to beat Wigan 3-2.
Injury has meant that Agger has cut a peripheral figure over
the past 12 months but his return to fitness, coupled with
Martin Skrtel’s injury, means the Denmark international is
likely to be back on the scene on a far more regular basis.
Unsurprising ring-rustiness was evident against Wigan when
Agger’s lackadaisical pass allowed Amr Zaki to put the
visitors in front.
However, he more than made amends eight minutes later with a
rampaging run forward that set up Dirk Kuyt for The Reds’
"I was pleased to start the game against Wigan, it was what
I have been waiting for," Agger told the club’s official
"It was a stupid mistake to make for their first goal, but
that’s football and you can’t afford to dwell on things like
that - you have to carry on.
"Luckily enough we managed to go on and win the game 3-2 and
obviously I am very happy about that.
"It was a misunderstanding and I didn’t hear anything but it
was my mistake and I can’t say anything more about it.
"It was tough for me. It was really, really hard. Of course,
it is a long time since I last played so I have to get used
to it again and then I will improve.”
For the second week in succession Liverpool won 3-2 after
going behind, and Agger admits they have been doing things
the hard way.
“It would be nice to get an early goal sometimes because
maybe then we wouldn't have to work quite so hard,” he
added. "With Wigan going ahead twice it meant we all had to
work even harder, everyone was running.
"That meant everyone was tired after the game so it would be
nice if we could make life a bit easier.
"But if you can win games like this and some of the other
games we have won when you are not playing really well, when
you have one of those days but still get three points, it is
a big thing."
Carragher: Character is key
Jamie Carragher believes he and his
Liverpool team-mates are demonstrating the character needed
to win the Premier League.
The centre-back was a part of the side which came from
behind to defeat Wigan at Anfield on Saturday to maintain an
unbeaten record this season.
Carragher was also involved as the Reds recorded turn-around
wins against Middlesbrough, Manchester United and Manchester
City this campaign, and the 30-year-old believes the
successes are positive signs.
The games could be viewed as contests Liverpool - who have
not lifted a league title in 18 years - would not have won
in seasons past, and Carragher believes the improvement is
down to the mental strength of his colleagues.
"We were always confident about turning things around
against Wigan because we've done it a few times this season
now," he told Liverpool's official website.
"There's a really good team spirit at the moment and that
makes a big difference. You're going to need a lot of
character to challenge for the league title over the next
"We know we're a good side but only time will tell if we're
good enough to go on and win the title. At this stage we're
just happy that we're up there and challenging.
"The most important thing is to get the points on the board
as soon as possible and that's what we're trying to do at
Carragher, though, is wary that Liverpool cannot afford to
keep giving opponents a head start.
"It's not something you want to be doing in every game of
the season because eventually you're going to come unstuck,"
impression with his goals
Comment by Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post
Good job Dirk Kuyt is prepared to do a
passable impersonation of Fernando Torres. Not even the
impressionist who’s been making his mark on YouTube this
week has been able to take on that task.
He’s nailed Rafael Benitez, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen,
Peter Crouch and (almost) Jamie Carragher.
But on the evidence of that video clip, emulating the
Spanish striker is just too big an ask.
So Kuyt should take a bow for delivering the best
performance of the week – becoming a dead ringer for the
Spaniard to inspire yet another pulsating fightback.
No wonder he thrived so much in the absence of Torres – he
was probably glad to see the back of him. Well, maybe not.
But that record signing did, on an individual level, lead to
Kuyt’s star fading somewhat.
The ‘Dutch Master’ banner at the side of the Kop was soon
plastered over by the ‘El Nino’ icon when Torres and his
army of goals descended on Anfield last season as the
supporters realised they had previously been a bit hasty in
Which wasn’t Kuyt’s fault – his flag was flown far too early
and he shouldn’t have been built up that much in the first
place. There was a ridiculous over-reaction to his cameo
debut and there was even some hysterical nonsense being
bandied about that he was looking like a new Dalglish.
In short, the hype was completely out of proportion and his
debut season ultimately proved that as while it yielded a
perfectly respectable 12 league goals, most came against
abject opposition that caved in as soon as they spotted the
menacing ‘This Is Anfield’ sign lurking over their heads.
Yes, he had a decent first season but the reality is Torres
has since showed up his limitations as a striker. That
deadly burst of pace, ability to finish from all angles, to
relentlessly terrorise defences with skill and speed. Not
really Kuyt’s game.
But then is his game being shifted out to the right,
tracking attacking full-backs, putting in the tackles and
being prepared to play out of position to accommodate the
more dangerous attacking threats? Not what the £12million
was paid for really.
Yet that is exactly what he was asked to do in the second
half of last season as Rafael Benitez hit on his winning
formula and – Champions League excluded – the penalty area
prowess of Kuyt was sacrificed as a result.
He just got on with it, of course, because his attitude is
like that. If you asked him to play in goal his immediate
reaction would be: “Where are the gloves?”
But back in a central role on Saturday, he gave Benitez yet
another indication that he has the strength in depth and
quality of reinforcements to cope without the likes of
Torres, even if he will be less encouraged by his players’
phobia of going in front any time before the final 10
But then if you are going to take the lead, better to leave
it late than peak too early. And the interventions of Kuyt
in each of the last two games have secured a precious six
points in terms of staying neck and neck with next Sunday’s
The Dutchman has now scored more goals in his last two
league games than he managed in open play in the entirety of
He is stepping out of Torres’s shadow back into the
spotlight and revelling in the fact that he is now finally
being seen for what he is – a reliable, hard-working and
effective centre-forward. Simple as that.
And while the Torres impression might need some work (not
sure the Spaniard has ever scuffed in a volley via shin,
goalkeeper’s fingertips and crossbar) the stage might be set
for them to form a double act of equally crowd-pleasing
The fact is, both are on form and scoring goals. When Torres
does return from injury, the temptation to pair him with
Kuyt might be too much for Benitez to resist if he keeps up
the kind of form he is in at the moment.
But one thing is for certain, he needs to resume his role at
the heart of the attacking formation at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have had far too easy a ride from opposition
forwards in their ominous march to the top of the Premier
The challenge now for Kuyt is to give them as uncomfortable
an afternoon as possible and keep it up for the full 90
Because this is one game in which another last-gasp victory
won’t concern anybody.
Benitez feeling the strain
but Reds keep winning
Rafael Benitez has paid tribute to the
character of his Liverpool players after another second-half
fightback kept them hot on the heels of Chelsea at the top
of the Premier League.
But the Spaniard, who takes his unbeaten side to Stamford
Bridge next Sunday, admits he would prefer not to have to
watch them mount the kind of late recovery that produced a
3-2 win over ten-man Wigan at Anfield.
"The whole side showed great character to come back like
that again. We did something similar at Manchester City a
fortnight ago, and maybe I would like a calmer time on the
bench," Benitez said.
"You will have to ask my doctor how much of this I can take.
It would be nice to have three or four goals at the break
for a change.
"But I felt we won it because we have belief in ourselves,
and believe that we can win these games. It is a positive
situation for us that we have this level of confidence."
In the absence of the injured Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt
joined Robbie Keane in attack and the Dutchman scored twice,
including a late winner, to triple his league tally for the
Liverpool had trailed 2-1 at half-time but they turned
things around after Wigan were reduced to 10 men by the
sending off of Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia.
Albert Riera's first goal since arriving at Anfield from
Espanyol made it 2-2 before Kuyt smashed the winner in the
final five minutes.
"We were talking about Kuyt not scoring enough goals in the
Premier League, but he has shown character and proved that
he can score," Benitez added.
Kuyt is set to join Keane in attack again when Liverpool
travel to Atletico Madrid for a Champions League match on
Wednesday. Torres will miss that match and the trip to
Chelsea on Sunday but the Wigan match has left Benitez with
no further injury worries.
fury at Valencia verdict
Wigan manager Steve Bruce claimed two
decisions from referee Alan Wiley cost his team the game as
they lost 3-2 at Liverpool on Saturday.
Bruce pointed to a yellow card for Antonio Valencia for
encroaching at a free-kick, and then another booking for the
same player for a foul on Xabi Alonso, that he claimed
"changed the game".
Valencia was sent off playing for Ecuador last weekend, and
with 16 minutes to go at Anfield saw red again, this time
with Wigan 2-1 ahead.
But the 10-man Latics could not hold out and Albert Riera
grabbed an equaliser before Dirk Kuyt struck a late winner.
Earlier Egyptian striker Amr Zaki had taken his tally for
the season to eight with a double which put Wigan ahead at
the break, Kuyt's first separating the two goals from the
But Bruce said: "In my opinion we were robbed. It is a joke
that we have not come away from this match with something.
"The referee got the first booking for Valencia wrong. The
Liverpool player took the kick, and Valencia did not
encroach towards it until the ball had been kicked. So he
got that one wrong.
"Then there is the tackle on Alonso, in which I felt the lad
touched the ball. I felt that was harsh.
"Those decisions changed the whole course of the game. With
11 against 11 we would not have lost. But there were a lot
of tired bodies out there and we could not hold out.
"When you are at Anfield you need some things to go for you.
I keep hearing the word 'respect' but I did not think we got
that from the referee's performance today."
Bruce added: "We were ahead at the break and deserved it. It
was not a fluke, we had taken them on and Zaki was
"He is scary to play against and he will not understand how
he can be on the losing side after a performance like that."
We always believed
By Joe Curran - LFC Official Website
Dirk Kuyt today heaped praise on the
character his Liverpool teammates showed after snatching
three points from the jaws of defeat in the last 10 minutes
against Wigan Athletic.
The flying Dutchman scored a brace as the Reds came from 2-1
down for the second Premier League game in a row to record a
3-2 victory at Anfield.
Kuyt revealed the Liverpool players always thought they
could turn the game around.
"It was unbelievable," Kuyt told Liverpoolfc.tv.
"I think we showed a lot of character today and it helped us
come back from behind to win the game."
"We knew that if we kept trying and showed some of that
character then we would be able to score goals, and that
proved to be the case today. We always believed we could
"We didn't play very well at the start of the match, but at
the end of the day the three points are the most important
thing for us."
The Latics were reduced to 10 men when Antonio Valencia was
sent off for a second bookable offence in the 74th minute,
but Kuyt insists the incident was not the main turning point
of the match.
"We were always going to get a few more chances playing
against 10 men, but I think it was our hard work that made
the difference in the end," he added.
"We tried everything we could to beat them, and it's good to
score the goals, but I think the most important thing today
is winning the match - that is what makes me happy."
Wigan in thriller
By Joseph Caron Dawe - Setanta Sports
Liverpool twice came from behind at
Anfield to beat Wigan 3-2 in an engrossing encounter that
delivered excitement, thrills, spills and a brace of goals
from both Amr Zaki for The Latics and Dirk Kuyt for
Zaki’s already considerable stock continued to rise as he
struck the pick of the goals on the stroke of half time to
send Steve Bruce’s side in 2-1 up at the break, but Kuyt hit
his second of the game after Albert Riera had equalised to
deliver victory to Rafa Benitez’s title-hunting outfit.
Wigan’s red-hot striker gave his side the lead just before
the half-hour mark when he pounced on Daniel Agger to steal
possession and was unforgiving in his finish, but the Danish
defender recovered well to set up Liverpool’s equaliser
Agger produced a length-of-the-pitch run to tee up Kuyt from
close range for a leveller, and the Dutchman then had a
long-range effort tipped onto the bar, but Wigan were in
front again on the stroke of half time.
Antonio Valencia’s cross set Zaki up for a simply stunning
volley which the Egypt international zipped into the bottom
right corner from the left side of the Liverpool area,
displaying expert technique in the process.
Olivier Kapo hit the outside of the post for Wigan before
Valencia then saw red for a second yellow card after he
launched into Xabi Alonso with his feet off the ground, and
Riera equalised with a shot from outside the area in what
was by now a thoroughly thrilling encounter.
The climax came five minutes from time when Jermaine Pennant
sent in a cross from the right which Kuyt acrobatically
volleyed into the ground, and the ball bounced in off the
underside of the bar to send Anfield into rapture.
Emile Heskey had been at the centre of all the headlines
during the week with a whirlwind of speculation linking him
with a return to Anfield, but the England international was
quickly forgotten as it was another Wigan striker who stole
the headlines on the stroke of half time.
With Heskey sidelined by a hamstring pull – a timely injury,
one can only suppose – Zaki was left to his own devices up
front, and he operated to full effect.
After settling the quicker and enjoying spells of slick
passing, Wigan looked the more comfortable in possession for
the opening 10 minutes. Liverpool then asserted control as
they put together a good spell which saw Albert Riera
dominate Wigan’s right side, with Kuyt almost the
beneficiary of a cross from the Spaniard that was snuffed
Wilson Palacios played a delightful ball into Olivier Kapo
which he fired straight at Jose Reina, and at the other end
Riera picked a lovely pass down the inside left channel for
Robbie Keane, who curled an effort just wide of Chris
Kirkland’s left post.
This lively jousting lacked real edge however, and it was
unfortunate for Agger – starting in place of the injured
Martin Skrtel – that is was his mistake which allowed the
first goal. Reina played the ball to the Dane on the edge of
Liverpool’s area, and he turned blindly into Zaki. A poor
first touch did not help Agger’s case and before he knew it
Zaki had robbed him and slid the ball under Reina to give
Wigan the lead after 29 minutes.
It took Agger eight minutes to make amends for his mistake.
Bringing the ball out of defence with the confidence someone
who had made such an error could be forgiven for lacking, he
surged forward. A neat exchange of passes with Keane on the
left wing allowed further advancement before a neat cut
inside a sliding challenge saw Agger pull the ball back for
Kuyt who levelled.
There was still time for excitement before half time, and it
flowed plentifully. First, Kuyt fired a shot onto the bar
from 25 yards via Kirkland’s fingertip after a well-worked
Liverpool move laid the foundations for their goalscorer to
turn and try his luck. However, there remained one more
explosive moment in the half and it came in injury time.
Antonio Valencia was fortunate to get through two players on
the right, but there was nothing lucky about what followed.
His cross was inch-perfect for Zaki, who displayed superb
technique to execute a volley back over his left shoulder
with his back to goal to score his seventh league goal of
the season, and one which will no doubt be a contender for
goal of the season.
The Reds rallied after the break and threw everything at
Wigan, but it was the visitors who came closest to scoring
again early in the second half.
After Lee Cattermole had hooked an Agger header off the line
following a Liverpool free-kick, Andrea Dossena blocked Zaki
at close range before a spill from Reina allowed Kapo a
flash shot. Luckily for the Liverpool keeper the ball struck
the outside of the post.
The action then played out at the other end of the pitch for
a lengthy period as Kirkland got down well to thwart Kuyt
and Mario Melchiot timed a tackle well to prevent Riera a
chance. By this stage Liverpool really were piling on the
pressure, and there was still a good 25 minutes of normal
time to play.
Benitez’s side were going all out for an equaliser and their
efforts were admirable, but Wigan soaked up the pressure
well and threatened on the counter attack. Daniel de Ridder
fired into the side netting on one such spurt forward as
Steve Bruce’s side continued to wind up a killer blow.
Liverpool – via Gerrard – almost struck the next telling
punch but his sidefooted free-kick from 20 yards just lacked
the accuracy of his midweek effort for England, and curled a
matter of inches wide of Kirkland’s left post.
It was getting closer, and after Valencia received his
second yellow card and marching orders for flying in on
Alonso, Riera levelled the score.
Nabil El Zhar – on for Dossena only moments earlier –
stepped over the ball a couple of times before passing to
Gerrard, and he stepped over it to leave Riera on for a
shot. His team-mate obliged and sent the ball low and in to
set the game up for the final 10 minutes.
Kuyt delivered the goal that maintains Liverpool’s unbeaten
record this season and keeps his side level on points with –
but one place behind – Chelsea at the top of the Premier