02 December 2006

Liverpool 4-0 Wigan

That was exactly what I was talking about. Bellamy was able to get a goal before 10 minutes were off the clock, an absolutely splendid strike chipping over Kirkland after running onto the ball, and Liverpool was off. As hoped, the first goal set the tone for the rest of the game.

Midway through the first half, Bellamy doubled his tally against the run of play. It’s cliché to claim that the end of the court case is a weight off his shoulders, but it’s as much of an explanation as any other. Reaffirming to see faith rewarded; you knew if Bellamy kept getting opportunities, and kept putting himself in good positions, something would come off. If not for some dubious offside calls, Bellamy could have had even more; he put himself about very well, and led the line tirelessly.

Wigan never gave up, and it was just as reassuring to see Reina at his best. It would have been nice to see the defense firmer, as Wigan really should have pulled at least one goal back, but Pepe kept it at 2-0. Wigan’s finishing could have been better, but Reina came through with some big saves. Soon after, Garcia and Gerrard opened it up on the counter, and instead of going for his hat trick, Craig squared it up for Kuyt, who slotted it away.

Stunningly, Liverpool wasn't finished. Right before the end of the half, Lee McCulloch bundled Gerrard’s cross (following a short corner, no less!) into his own net. 4-0 at the half away at Wigan; the scoreline was more than a bit flattering, but it was also more than welcome.

Paul Jewell must have blistered the paint of the walls at the half, because Wigan looked far better in the second half. They ended up more shots and corners in total, and had a greater time of possession. Solid, yet unspectacular stuff from Liverpool to close out the game, but the clean sheet was kept, and the first away win of the season was easily tallied.

Now Liverpool needs to prove they can go on from here. Both the players and manager have said time and time again that the team just needs to get rolling, to build their confidence, and they’d work into a purple patch like last season. Well, this is a game to build from. Clean sheet, Bellamy with a brace, dynamic play from Gerrard, the return of Alonso, great work from Reina, sub appearances for Paletta and Guthrie, the list of positives can go on and on. Long may it continue.

MOM: Bellamy

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