Wigan Athletic went into this game with most people having already written off their chances of Premier League survival. However a small band of travelling supporters still believed in miracles and against all the odds ‘Little Wigan’ achieved their first ever win at Anfield.
Latics retained the same starting eleven from last Saturday’s draw against West Brom with both Hugo Rodallega and Momo Diame unavailable due to injury.
Wigan showed early promise when Victor Moses outstripped the Liverpool back line and after a typical jinking run had his shot blocked by Martin Skrtel.
Liverpool then produced a couple of efforts on the Wigan goal but Ali Al Habsi dealt with them fairly comfortably.
However, Wigan were showing they had the determination and fighting spirit to compete against one of the highest spenders in the Premier League and in the 30th minute they took the lead.
Gary Caldwell chipped the ball into the Liverpool box and Jamie Carragher’s back header fell between Skrtel and Moses and the Liverpool defender dangerously kicked the Nigerian international in the head. It was a clear penalty and Shaun Maloney competently fired his spot kick past Pepe Reina.
Moses left the field visibly shaken and was subsequently taken to hospital. Wigan played ten minutes hoping he could return but it was not to be and the diminutive Albert Crusat came on as his replacement.
In the final minutes of the first half Liverpool could not make the numerical advantage pay and Latics went into the break just about deserving their lead.
Kenny Dalglish introduced Andy Carroll for Jordan Henderson at half time and adopted a more attacking formation to pressurise the Wigan goal and it was not long before they equalised.
Luis Suarez played a neat one two with Steven Gerrard before finishing low to Al Habsi’s right.
Liverpool were now in the ascendancy and it looked as though Suarez had scored in the 54th minute but referee Mason rightly ruled out the goal for hand ball.
Everyone expected a Liverpool onslaught but fortunately for Wigan it failed to materialise and in the 63rd minute Wigan took the lead.
James McCarthy’s shot was deflected by Carragher and the ball fell to Gary Caldwell who deftly brought the ball under control before slotting past Reina.
The small band of travelling supporters were ecstatic. Could Wigan hold on and record a memorable first ever win at Anfield?
Although there was still half an hour to play and referee Mason added an extra five minutes injury time, it is fair to say that Liverpool rarely looked like scoring.
Wigan were enjoying long spells of possession with some great interchanges between the Latics midfielders, in particular McArthur, McCarthy and Maloney were all outstanding.
As the game progressed Wigan looked more and more comfortable. Ben Watson replaced Jean Beausejour and Conor Sammon came on for the tiring Franco Di Santo, but Wigan’s continuity was not to be disrupted.
Overall it had been a great team performance by a Wigan team fully deserving of the victory. In sporting fashion many Liverpool fans applauded their opponents as they left the field.
Wigan Athletic had made history by winning for the first time at Anfield. It had been a memorable day, not only for the eight hundred Wigan supporters at the game but for Latics fans everywhere.