Liverpool Back to Earth With 1-1 Draw With Wigan

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIFebruary 12, 2011

Luis Suarez looked fantastic in his first starting role.
Luis Suarez looked fantastic in his first starting role.Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nobody said it was going to be easy.

With all the talk of a "top four" finish, Liverpool supporters have seemingly forgotten one simple thing: on any given day, any team in the EPL can beat you.

Liverpool, trying desperately to catch Tottenham or Chelsea for the fourth spot, were anticipating a game with a weak Wigan side, who stood in twenty first place in the Premiership and facing relegation.

Liverpool has won four straight games and came into Saturday's match with a massive amount of momentum. To boot, they were playing at home in front of a resurgent Anfield crowd clamoring over the emergence of their club and the management of Kenny Dalglish.

Just to make things even more interesting, Luis Suarez started for the first time in a Liverpool shirt.

Yes, it looked like promising times at the Kop.

From the start, Liverpool played flat. They lost way, way too many balls at mid-field which allowed Wigan with some easy counters. They moved from the 3-5-1 formation to a diamond formation. In the 22nd minute, Raul Meireles again displayed superb form with his fifth goal in six matches. A beautifully struck ball from about ten meters out that gave the keeper no chance.

At the end of the first half, ball possession stood at 51 percent for Liverpool and 49 percent for Wigan. That statistic alone should tell the story of the evenness of the match.

It didn't start out a lot better for Liverpool in the second half, and Wigan finally scored on a through ball from, what else, a counter.

This after Meireles had to leave the game from the affects of a viral infection.

After Wigan's goal, Liverpool seemed to wake up and dominate that last thirty minutes of the game. Suarez played a superb game and could have easily scored on two chances, hitting the crossbar both times. One was a free kick that had a world-class amount of touch and should have scored.

Suarez did all the things that Fernando Torres used to do. He ran after opportunities both hopeless and possible. He muscled up to defenders and attacked with abandon.

The diamond formation looked fine once Liverpool started playing hard. Meireles really flourished in it and Maxi Rodriguez was more active than I've seen him in some time.

However, at the final whistle, the scored stayed 1-1.

A score that, while not optimal, brought many Liverpool supporters back to earth with regards to the monumental task in the front of the team to reach the top four.

With Tottenham winning 2-1 against a determined Sunderland side, Tottenham went eight points up with one more game to play. Chelsea plays Fulham on Monday.

The simple fact is that Liverpool just can't give away these types of games at home against a weaker opponent. Yes, Steven Gerrard was out, and having Meireles leave didn't help, but that's no excuse. Wigan are a team that Liverpool should have beaten at home.

It simply makes the job in front of them that much harder.

I've stated in a previous column that I think a top four finish is wishful thinking, and Liverpool should focus on finishing fifth. Considering the season they've had, a fifth place finish would be a massive accomplishment.

The one thing that all Liverpool supporters should be excited about is the play of Luis Suarez. It was simply bad luck that he didn't net the game winner. He, quite honestly, looked better than Fernando Torres has all season.


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