Tue 2nd January 2008 @ 7:45pm
At this rate Liverpool will hope to play every single remaining game away from home. Liverpool drew again, dropping another 2 points compared with the rest of the top three and it now looks like it will be a chase with Man City to finish 4th, and not a chase to win the title.
Wigan, threatened with relegation, equalised thanks to a Titus Bramble wonder-strike in the 80th minute after Liverpool’s one man up-front, Fernando Torres, had scored his 16th goal of the season just after half time.
Quite why Benitez opted to play one striker is known only to him. It’s questionable if any member of the Anfield crowd would have opted to play just one striker against a team who clearly would have set their stall out to defend. But what do we know?
Let’s leave Benitez out of the equation for the moment – there is no question that the media will have him roasted tomorrow in the papers anyway.
Liverpool’s woeful finishing and a couple of decent saves from Chris Kirkland prevented the reds adding to Torres goal and when Bramble equalised, well it just felt like the title dream was just that – a dream. Another season drifting away and here we are in January.
The players that were selected should have pummelled Wigan to within an inch of their life. Playing with one striker was a mistake. Benitez attributed the merits of the rotation system as the players being fresh towards the end of their season. The international sides in Euro 2008 will be pleased. Unfortunately it doesn’t like it will help Liverpool one bit.
Post Match Reaction
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez on his team’s title prospects:
“We need to do almost everything perfect now but if you lose points like this it makes it more difficult.
“When you have chances you need to take them and finish the game.
“Now we need to think about the FA Cup against Luton, you cannot look at the whole season it is too long.”
Wigan boss Steve Bruce:
“It gives everyone a huge lift. We were really disciplined and stuck to the game plan well.
“I have always liked Titus, he just needs a bit of confidence and he will only get better.
“It is always going to be difficult at Liverpool as they have world class players but for the last six weeks we have produced some good performances.”
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Arbeloa, Carragher, Aurelio, Pennant (Kuyt 86), Alonso, Mascherano (Crouch 84), Kewell (Benayoun 74), Gerrard, Torres.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Riise.
Booked: Mascherano, Torres.
Goals: Torres 49.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Kilbane, Valencia, Landzaat, Brown, Taylor (Koumas 79), Heskey (Sibierski 84), Bent.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Boyce, Olembe.
Goals: Bramble 80.
Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).