Yossi Benayoun came off the bench to save Liverpool from what would have been their third consecutive goalless league match.
The Israeli midfielder replaced surprise inclusion Fabio Aurelio and showed good skill and composure to score the only goal of a match which the home side could easily have won.
Liverpool rode their luck; Marcus Bent had a goal disallowed for offside when seemingly onside, Agahowar missed an easy chance late on and earlier Carragher could have been adjudged to have given away a penalty had it not been for the offside flag saving the Reds again.
The Reds had created chances though and Fernando Torres, starting alongside Dirk Kuyt up front, almost scored with an acrobatic chance. Kuyt himself was also denied by some good defending.
Matthew Watson’s Report
Benayon comes of the bench to save Liverpool from 3rd successive league draw.
After a good win in the Carling Cup against Reading on Tuesday, Liverpool were back to League business today and were looking to get back to winning ways after two consecutive goalless League draws, as they took on Chris Hutchings’ Wigan at the JJB stadium.
After his hat-trick in the week Fernando Torres was installed back into the starting line-up in the League.
Liverpool got the game underway, and nearly got off to the best of starts when Steven Gerrard hit a stinging drive from 30 yards which caused Kirkland into action. Liverpool were the dominating force throughout the first half, with Fernando Torres having a couple of quality chances to score for Rafas’ men.
His first chance came on the quarter hour mark when Dirk Kuyt played a lovely through ball that was spot on for Torres to get on the end of for Kirkland to spread himself well to pull of and excellent save. Torres again had a one on one chance on the Half hour mark but Kirkland saved well again. After Torres’ near spectacular goal on Saturday against Birmingham when he narrowly missed with an over head kick he was at it again moments later when unmarked he was found by a Fabio Aurelio cross but his extravagant effort went just wide of the mark. Torres who really had time to control and get the ball under control went for the spectacular. Wigan really lacked offensively in the first half, with only a couple of meaningful chances.
Wigan started the second half much better, and were denied a goal by the linesman’s flag when Markus Bent slotted home past Pepe Reina who had stopped for the offside. On replay it seems as if Aghahowa, who was playing alongside Bent had been wrongly judged offside. Liverpool had a lucky escape there. Pepe Reina had his first real save to make when Jason Koumas who had started to get a real hold on the game for Wigan, caused Reina to make a good save early on in the second half.
Gerrard nearly scored a cracker from 30 yards with just less than 25 minutes left when he charged forwards and hit one with venom which went just wide of Kirklands goal. The moment of glory for Liverpool came from a moment of brilliance from substitute Yossi Benayon. He controlled Pennants cross beautifully to make some space for himself , backheeling it into space, then he dodged Titus Brambles challenge to bang the ball past ex Liverpool keeper Kris Kirkland in the Wigan goal. 1-0 Liverpool. Liverpool thought they were home, but in stoppage time Wigans Aghahawo met Jason Koumas’s cross 3 yards form goal but somehow put it wide. It was a sitter.
A hard-earned victory for Liverpool at the JJB today. A lot of people thought it would be an easy three points, but Wigan made Liverpool really work for it. An okay performance from the lads today. But at least we came away with 3 points, which is the most important thing.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Kilbane, Scharner (Taylor 82), Skoko, Brown, Koumas, Aghahowa, Bent
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Granqvist, Hall, Olembe
Booked: Brown, Melchiot
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Hyypia, Carragher, Aurelio (Benayoun 56), Pennant (Voronin 82), Gerrard, Mascherano, Riise, Torres (Sissoko 89), Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Finnan
Goals: Benayoun 75
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)