Al Habsi penalty save earns Wigan a deserved point against Liverpool

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A wonderful penalty save secured Wigan a vital point in their battle against relegation which their committed team performance thoroughly deserved.

Unsurprisingly Roberto Martinez opted to retain the same line up which performed so well against Chelseaat the weekend the only change to the 18 being Lopez replacing Gohuri on the bench.

Liverpool started the brighter no doubt enthused by the cacophony of support for Luis Suarez. Of course being pantomime season there has to be a villain and for the Wigan fans he fitted the bill perfectly although the skilful Uruguayan didn’t help his cause with some exaggerated histrionics every time he was tackled.

Wigan seemed determined to pass the ball out of their own penalty area but all too often they tried one pass to many allowing Liverpool to steal possession and heap on the pressure on the Wigan defence. To their credit the Wigan backline stood its ground and with the notable support of Diame they were able to break up the away sides attacks.

Such wasLiverpool’s dominance it was ten minutes into the game before Wigan exerted any influence in theLiverpool  half when a break out of defence resulted in a corner which was cleared by theLiverpoo ldefence.

As the half went on Wigan grew in confidence with Diame once again proving his importance to the team, breaking up Liverpool attacks and creating attacking moves for the home side. He was ably supported by Gomez, Stam and McCarthy who sought to push forward. However for all this drive the best Wigan had to show were long range shots from Moses, Diame and Figueroa.

Conor Sammon has been the first choice forward in recent weeks but looks to be struggling with the current formation. His best chance came when a perfect cross from Stam found him in the penalty area but his first touch was poor and in the scramble Liverpool managed to get the ball away from danger.

For Liverpool the ever industrious Kuyt strove to take them forward and his shot forced Al Habsi into a good save. Skrtel and Johnson also forced Al Habsi into action but the big Omani was up to the task

Play ebbed and flowed and from one brilliant break from his own penalty area, Victor Moses beat three men in a sprint up field and fired a wonderful shot goal bound which Reina did well to palm away.

Half time was met by applause from all for corners of the ground for a half that although it lacked goals didn’t lack entertainment.

The second half started in the same way as the first with Wigan too slow at building up momentum from the back and Liverpool exerting their dominance but failing to find the killer touch. Wigan’s back three superbly marshalled by Gary Caldwell looked assured and the reds were forced into long range shooting which resulted in another fine save from Al Habsi.

Liverpool’s best chance of the game came when Caldwell was perhaps harshly adjudged to have handled a shot which gave him little chance to react. Adam came up to take the kick but his shot was superbly saved by Al Habsi who dove to his left pushing the ball out for a corner.

Both sides had chances after that to seal the game withWigan coming close through Rodallega and Moses and Liverpool through Kuyt.

A draw was a fair result from two teams apparently equally matched however the point gained will be more appreciated in the home dressing room tonight

Player ratings

Al Habsi…..9 Some fantastic saves, man of the match

Alcaraz…..8 Another good performance

Caldwell…. 8 Led by example

Stam………8 Wonderful attacking play

Figueroa….7.5 A solid performance

McCarthy…7 Worked hard but gave the ball away too often

Moses…….7 Some good runs but drifts out of the game too often.

Gomez…..7.5 A good performance again

Jones……7 A steady performance

Diame….8.5Wigan’s best outfielder week in week out

Sammon …6.5 First touch lets him down

Rodallega….7 Looked sharp

Di Santo…..7 worked hard created a couple of half chances.

Watson….6.5 too casual at times on the ball


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