this rollercoaster of a season has had more downs than ups and this was a severe down. severely damaging in the race for 4th spot with games running out and rivals with games in hand you felt this was a game LIVERPOOL had to win. after enjoying maybe their best run of results of the season and getting key members fit again there could be no excuses.
MY TAKE ON THE TEAM
WIGAN looked up for it from the start whereas you felt LIVERPOOL could just turn up and the win would just happen for them through attendance.
i don't think the playing surface was the best after just being re-laid but its the same for both teams.
i can't honestly blame RAFA for his team selection for this game maybe i would have liked BENAYOUN to play just behind TORRES rather than KUYT but i was happy to see GERRARD playing deeper once again. no problems with the defence either with MASCHERANO proving he can play right back no problem.
so i can't blame RAFA at least for his team selection, the players have to take the blame for this one, too slow disinterested, you can make excuses about players on international duty but this was monday night how much rest do they need.
LIVERPOOL started slowly and never got going, WIGAN were like a team fighting for their lives.
LIVERPOOL had one or two chances TORRES hit the outside of the post with a shot early on. but WIGAN were asking the most of the questions without creating too many clear cut chances. LIVERPOOL had a good chance in the 1st half when BENAYOUN had a great run into the right hand side of the box and cut the ball back to GERRARD but he snatched at it and put it wide of the post, TORRES put a header over the bar late on in the 1st half but i can't remember an attempt on target the whole game, how poor was that against a WIGAN side that has been leaking goals in all season and with no form.
the damage was done on the 35th minute when KUYT tried to pass a ball back to a team mate inside his own half only to play the ball straight to BOYCE who said thank you very much and turned and crossed the ball perfectly for RODALLEGA to slot the ball past a helpless REINA from inside the 6 yard box.
you would have thought this blow would have got a response from LIVERPOOL but there didn't seem any. frustration crept in with 5 LIVERPOOL players being booked on the night. TORRES had an off night in front of goal and still its only his 2nd game back since recovering from injury. but there was too many players not performing for LIVERPOOL tonight and i felt they only started to show a bit pressure in the last 20 minutes without looking like scoring.
at the other end WIGAN were still looking dangerous on the break and with CARRAGHER looking uncharacteristically shaky with a dodgy pass back in the 1st half and in the 2nd half he headed the ball past REINA only to clear the ball off a WIGAN forward only for it to divert towards goal with luckily for LIVERPOOL the alert KYRIAGOS responded by heading the ball from underneath his bar and away to safety.
but in the end the game LIVERPOOL went down with a whimper rather than a grand stand finish which you would have expected. WIGAN hung on comfortably and left LIVERPOOL worrying and wondering where to go from here.
personally i have never witnessed such a lacklustre, no fight performance from a LIVERPOOL team in such an important game for the club as this one, like i said i was ok about RAFA'S team selection, but you can question why he could not motivate them for such a big game, for the whole game he never looked very encouraging he just sat on the bench most of the night with a look of rather being somewhere else which is so not like him as he is usually like a orchestra conductor on the touchline so maybe RAFA'S attitude didn't encourage the players.
personally though i think the players have to take the responsibility for this performance and damaging defeat.
REINA- not a lot to do tried to counter attack with quick releases, no chance for goal
MASCHERANO- solid job at right back tried to get forward sent some decent crosses in
INSUA- very shaky night booked early struggled defensively and not great going forward
KYRIAGOS- big man was steady thought he was best player for us
CARRAGHER- don't think i've ever seen him so shaky
BENAYOUN- booked and not in the game subbed 2nd half one good run of note
MAXI- also had a quiet game
GERRARD- no inspiration, became frustrated, booked poor night from captain
LUCAS- poor night, booked and subbed
KUYT- usual workrate but very poor bad mistake for goal and no linkup with TORRES
TORRES- bad night, missed a few chances, booked out of frustration
BABEL- 8 minutes personally i think i would have told RAFA why bother, tried hard when he came on
JOHNSON- hardly ran, either like the rest of them not interested or not fit hopefully the latter
AQUALANI- proved why RAFA doesn't use him much didn't see him do anything
MAN OF THE MATCH- KYRIAGOS (difficult to find one) but the big greek at least showed passion and commitment
NEXT MATCH LILLE AWAY EUROPA LEAGUE