Liverpool 3 Wigan 0: Suarez at the double as hosts cruise to victory over Latics
17:28 GMT, 17 November 2012
Striker Luis Suarez proved just how valuable he is to Liverpool with two goals and an assist to help secure only a second home win of the season.
The Uruguay international struck twice in nine second-half minutes and also played a part in the third which saw Jose Enrique score his first goal for the club.
Reports this week that Manchester City were ready to make a 40million bid for the striker in January were dismissed by Roberto Mancini and Brendan Rodgers, with the latter confidently stating his prize asset was not for sale.
At the double: Suarez scored two goals as Liverpool cruised to victory over Wigan
Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Agger (Carragher 82), Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen, Sterling, Suarez (Shelvey 87),
Fernandez Saez (Henderson 36).
Subs Not Used: Jones, Sahin, Cole, Coates.
Goals: Suarez 47, 58, Jose Enrique 65.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell (Gomez 69), Figueroa, Boyce, Watson (Jones 32), McCarthy, Beausejour, Maloney, Di Santo (Miyaichi 69),Kone.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, McManaman, Boselli, Stam.
Booked: Figueroa, Caldwell, Di Santo.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
And in any case, scoring in five
successive matches to take his tally to 10 in as many appearances would
appear to have boosted Suarez's price tag by several million more.
Not that Liverpool would consider –
or could even countenance – selling a player who is so vital to any
chance of success in the short- to medium-term.
Without the 25-year-old's input this
season – from goals and assists – the Reds would be in the bottom three.
It is difficult to put a price on exactly how much that is worth to a
team still growing into Rodgers' way of working but it is safe to say it
would likely take much more to replace what he has brought to the side
Yet Suarez was strangely subdued in a
first half which had very few talking points. With goalkeeper Jose
Reina making his first appearance since October 7, Rodgers reverted to
back four having opted for three centre-backs at Chelsea last weekend.
Kop idol: The Uruguayan celebrates after netting a double
Somewhat surprisingly he selected
Enrique on the left of midfield but before the half was out he had
tinkered with his tactical line-up having seen his side fail to get a
grip on the game.
The hosts began well with Suarez's
cross turned behind by Ben Watson and Daniel Agger's header from the
corner tipped just wide by the outstretched hand of Ali Al Habsi.
After Reina shrugged off some of the
rustiness with a routine save from Arouna Kone's long-range effort both
Agger and Suso headed over.
Kop that: Enrique put the result beyond doubt after scoring his side's third goal
It was virtually the young
Spaniard's last involvement as just past the half-hour he was replaced
by Jordan Henderson with Gerrard moving forward to play in the hole by
Suarez in an attempt to get more support for the Uruguay international.
/11/17/article-2234366-16148C33000005DC-767_634x286.jpg” width=”634″ height=”286″ alt=”Net gains: Suarez wheels away in celebration after scoring his second goal in nine minutes ” class=”blkBorder” />
Net gains: Suarez wheels away in celebration after scoring his second goal in nine minutes
Andre Wisdom's pass into space gave
Sterling, who had also had an uncharacteristically quiet 45 minutes, the
chance to nip in front of Maynor Figueroa and run at the Wigan defence.
When he crossed for Suarez the
Uruguayan's first-time shot, assisted by a slight deflection of Ivan
Ramis, beat Al Habsi. If the goal energised the home side it ignited
Suarez, who was rampant after that.
Enrique drove infield from the left
and poked in a through-ball which still required plenty from Suarez but
in his current form there was only going to be one outcome and he easily
beat the goalkeeper. The third goal had a touch of fortune but only in
Up for the battle: Gerrard was back playing in a Liverpool shirt after featuring in his 100th game for England
A throw-in down Wigan's left should
have gone to the visitors but the officials awarded it to Liverpool and
it was from that they finished off the game.
Suarez again had major part to play,
sliding a pass through the inside-right channel to Sterling whose shot
was parried by Al Habsi into the path of Enrique who could not miss from
a few yards out.
The Spaniard, benefiting from his
advanced position, celebrated only his second goal in five years in
English football, his first coming for Newcastle against Nottingham
Forest in March 2010.
Confidence was now surging through a
Liverpool side who had previously been so timid and reticent in front
of their own fans in 2012 – having previously only won three league
matches at Anfield all year.
That was typified by Glen Johnson's
run, starting on the halfway line close to the left touchline, which saw
the England defender drive just wide with his right foot from the edge
of the area.
Suarez eventually departed to a
well-deserved standing ovation late on as Rodgers protected his
investment on the back of seven-match unbeaten run.