Thursday, January 3, 2008

Premier League News & Results - Liverpool 1-1 Wigan

Benitez gives Yanks loaded gun as Reds fire blanks again

The pressure mounted further on Rafael Benitez as his stuttering Liverpool side stumbled to a draw at home to Wigan. Hopes of a Premier League title seem laughable for Liverpool, and a more realistic proposition is the struggle for fourth place, as Manchester City continue a great season under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Liverpool started brightly enough, but again didn't quite convince, as they struggled to breakdown a newly resolute Wigan. Steve Bruce's team seemed to be winning every vital tackle and interception as Liverpool tried to prise a way through. Michael Brown in particular was a thorn in the side of Liverpool, as he continually broke up attacks and very nearly opened the scoring with the best effort of the first half.

In the second half Liverpool got an early goal and it was one Fernando Torres deserved for his constant efforts against a stubborn Wigan defence. Torres and Gerrard combined to put Finnan in behind the Wigan defence, and he squared for Torres to finish. Gerrard very nearly put the game beyond doubt with a great free-kick, and followed up on the rebound which Kirkland smothered. The goal seemed to settle Liverpool and there was no real sign of an equaliser until disaster struck in the 79th minute.

Gerrard cleared poorly from inside his own penalty area, the ball cannoned off Mascherano to Bramble, who belied his comic status to finish superbly from the edge of the box.

Rafael Benitez was as animated as he's ever been on the Liverpool touchline and soon threw on Crouch and Kuyt in a desperate attempt to force a winner, however it was not to be. The result really leaves Liverpool's outside hope of a Premier League title looking dead and buried, and will greatly increase the pressure on Rafael Benitez and his relationship with the club's American owners.


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