Goals from David Ngog and Fernando Torres gave Liverpool a much-needed win against Wigan at Anfield on Wednesday night.
The Reds also commemorated the 50th anniversary of Bill Shankly’s first match in charge of the club with a pre-match mosaic and a parade of former players at half time.
Rafa Benitez opted to start Ngog alongside Dirk Kuyt up front, with Torres on the bench, and also moved Steven Gerrard back into midfield with Lucas making way. There was still no full league debut for Alberto Aquilani.
The Reds started bright and took the lead through Ngog’s glancing header from a powerful cross Fabio Aurelio cross from the right. Ngog got the slightest of touches to claim his sixth goal of the season.
The home side almost doubled their lead after good work by Benayoun down the right saw Ngog and Kuyt combine only for Chris Kirkland to make a smart save at his near post to deny Kuyt.
Wigan should have scored through both Scharner and Jason Scotland either side of half-time, and Daniel Agger almost doubled the lead for Liverpool from a Gerrard corner.
Torres replaced Ngog on 64 minutes and on his 100th appearance for the club doubled the advantage after his initial shot blocked after rounding Kirkland.
FERNANDO TORRES rounds Kirkland to make it 2-0. (Photo from fOTOGLIF)
Charles NZogbia’s strike in injury time denied Pepe Reina a cleansheet but Liverpool held on for a much needed win.
The Reds travel to Portsmouth on Saturday next as the Christmas fixtures come thick and fast.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Insua, Benayoun (Aquilani 81), Mascherano, Gerrard, Aurelio (Lucas 60), Kuyt, Ngog (Torres 64).
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Darby, Dossena.
Goals: Ngog 9, Torres 79
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Scharner, Gomez (Koumas 82), Diame (Scotland 58), Thomas, N’Zogbia, Rodallega.
Subs not used: Kingson, Amaya, Cho, Sinclair, De Ridder.
Goal: NZogbia 90+2
Referee: Phil Dowd