Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report of Liverpool's emphatic 4-0 win at Wigan Athletic in the Premier League on Saturday.
By Jack Prescott, Rugby Editor Filed: Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 16:32 UK
Last Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 11:12 UK
Liverpool travelled to Wigan Athletic in the Premier League on Saturday knowing that a win would keep alive their hopes of European football for next season.
The visitors started strongly at the DW Stadium as Stewart Downing opened the scoring inside two minutes before Luis Suarez netted twice to make it 3-0 at the break.
Suarez completed his hat-trick early in the second half to cap an emphatic 4-0 victory for the Merseysiders while increasing Wigan's relegation woes.
Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report below to find out how Liverpool recorded their first win at Wigan since 2007.
4.35pmGood afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of today's Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Liverpool at the DW Stadium.
4.37pmIt looks like Wigan will start the match knowing that a win would move them three points clear of the relegation zone. They are currently in 17th place on goal difference and, with Aston Villa not playing until Monday, the Latics cans boost their survival hopes with a victory this evening.
4.38pmAnyway, we've got some team news before we go into any more detail...
4.39pmWIGAN: Al Habsi; Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, Scharner; McCarthy, Maloney, McArthur Beausejour; Kone, Di Santo
4.45pmIt looks to be a pretty attacking lineup named by Wigan boss Roberto Martinez. Shaun Maloney, Jean Beausejour, Arouna Kone and Franco Di Santo are all in there again as the hosts name an unchanged side to the one that beat Reading 3-0 last weekend.
4.49pmMeanwhile, Daniel Sturridge doesn't make the Liverpool squad because of a thigh injury, while Philippe Coutinho starts. Elsewhere Martin Skrtel is dropped completely by Brendan Rodgers, despite reports that he was fit for the game.
5.01pmQueens Park Rangers have held on against Southampton to claim a 2-1 win and that could prove very significant this weekend. Suddenly, Wigan are looking over the shoulders as Harry Redknapp's side claw themselves to within four points of safety.
5.04pmI wonder if that news will have trickled through to the Wigan dressing room. A defeat for the Latics today won't see them slip into the relegation zone, but it would certainly turn up the heat. That said, they're pretty much used to it as a club. It ain't a proper season at the DW unless they're chewing on their fingernails on the final day.
5.10pmLiverpool eased past Wigan 3-0 when the sides met at Anfield in November. However, the Latics earned a shock 2-1 win on Merseyside last season following a goalless draw at the DW Stadium.
5.13pmIn fact, Liverpool's record against Wigan away from home has been a relatively poor one in recent years. They have drawn three and lost one of their previous four fixtures. Their last win came in 2007 as a Yossi Benayoun strike separated the teams.
5.17pmThe Merseysiders hammered Swansea City 5-0 in their last league fixture two weeks ago, but they have since been knocked out in the Europa League by Zenit St Petersburg.
5.20pmAround 10 minutes to go until this one gets underway...
5.24pmSo, how do we see this one going? Wigan have played some pretty decent football recently, earning a couple of good results along the way, but Liverpool will be expected to leave the DW Stadium tonight with three points. As long as Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez are up for it, the Reds should come away with the victory.
5.27pmThere are plenty of smiles from the players as they wait in the tunnel. Steven Gerrard in particular is looking very relaxed indeed. Here they come...
0 minHere we go then, it will be Wigan to get this one started.
1 minCHANCE! Almost a goal inside the first minute for Wigan as Kone gets on the end of the cross, but his weak cushioned volley is collected by Reina. That could have been some opening.
3 minAnd we do have a goal! Coutinho does well down the left to fire a cross into the Wigan area and it's Downing who is waiting there to head in. It was a simple finish for the winger with the home defence nowhere to be seen.
5 minLiverpool look very much up for this in the opening stages. They are being afforded plenty of time on the ball in the midfield, which is something that Wigan need to stop or else this could be a long evening.
7 minA few moans and groans already from the home fans as Wigan struggle to keep hold of the ball against a Liverpool side who are doing a lot of hustling.
9 minSomething of a half chance for the hosts there as Kone dispossessed Carragher in a threatening position, but the defender recovered well to avert the danger.
12 minCHANCE! A number of Liverpool players pur forward with Allen in possession, only for the midfielder to overcook his pass to Gerrard and Wigan clear. Allen could have had a crack himself there from the edge of the box.
15 minLiverpool aren't doing themselves too many favours at the back today. There have already been a few wayward passes and Carragher just does another one that Reina has to deal with.
18 minSuarez scores, but it was a lovely ball from Coutinho to set up the goal. He found the striker with a threaded pass in the area before the Uruguayan calmly slotted past Al Habsi. The Merseysiders are in firm control now.
21 minSAVE! Great reactions from Reina as he denies Kone after the ball was bouncing around in the Liverpool box. The hosts break at the other end to earn a corner, which comes to nothing.
23 minBefore that corner was taken there was a coming together between Wigan teammates McArthur and Boyce. I'm not too sure what it was about exactly, but they had to be separated before being spoken to by referee Martin Atkinson. It's all falling apart for the home side right now.
26 minAn opening for Suarez in the area as the striker collects a zipped Gerrard pass, but he's crowded out by three Wigan bodies. The Uruguayan showed superb control there and almost wriggled his way through.
29 minOoh, that's a close one. Reina looks to have carried the ball outside of the area, but the linesman flags to indicate that he was blocked off by a Wigan player. The Spaniard is a bit of a lucky boy there.
34 minConsider this one over. Liverpool score their third goal of the match and it comes from a Suarez free kick. It's not quite the same as his peach against Zenit last week because it takes a wicked deflection off Maloney before sneaking past Al Habsi. However, the visitors won't mind one bit. They are cruising.
37 minSAVE! Great stop again from Reina, this time denying Di Santo. The Wigan striker peels away at the back post to get a header on goal, but the Spanish goalkeeper tips the ball expertly over the crossbar.
39 minCHANCE! Suarez is inches away from claiming his hat-trick as his volley from just inside the area is beaten out by Al Habsi. Allen comes in for the rebound, but the Wigan defence stops the danger.
42 minThe Liverpool players are queuing up outside the area as they lay siege to the Wigan goal. Allen, Suarez and Gerrard all as questions of the home side, who just about manage to survive.
43 minBOOKING: The first yellow card of the game is handed out and it goes to Liverpool midfielder Allen for his clumsy challenge on Maloney.
45 minThere will be two minutes of added time in this first half...
6.21pmMartin Atkinson blows the half-time whistle to end what has been an excellent opening 45 minutes for Liverpool. Stewart Downing headed the visitors into a second-minute lead before two goals from Luis Suarez put them firmly on top.
6.24pmWhile the visitors were rampant in that first half, it needs to be said that Wigan were fairly abject. Their passing was poor, some of the players seemed confused with the roles that they were meant to be performing and, in one instance, they were fighting amongst themselves.
6.26pmIt's difficult to know what Wigan manager Roberto Martinez will be saying to his players right now. This match is all but over for them. If there are going to be any more goals in the second half then they are most likely to be for the Merseysiders.
6.30pmIf Wigan lose this one (which looks likely), then they will be dragged into the relegation zone if Aston Villa pull off a surprise win over Manchester City on Monday. Meanwhile, three points for Liverpool will push Brendan Rodgers's side up to seventh place in the table.
46 minThe players are out for the second half and it will be Liverpool to get us going...
48 minWigan have been slightly sharper in these opening stages of the second half, but nothing to show for it as of yet. An early goal could do wonders for them.
50 minI believe they call that the commentator's curse. Liverpool wrap this game up with four minutes gone in the second half as Suarez bags his hat-trick. The striker drove into the penalty area before slotting the ball under Al Habsi. The Uruguayan is unstoppable right now.
52 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Wigan make two changes as Antolin Alcaraz and Roger Espinoza replace Franco Di Santo and Gary Caldwell.
55 minThe home side gets a free kick in a promising position, but Figueroa slams the ball straight into the Liverpool wall.
60 minBOOKING: Wigan's James McArthur is the latest name to go into the book. Incidentally, the midfielder is wearing a protective mask that looks just fabulous.
61 minSUBSTITUTION: The hosts make another change as well with Callum McManaman replacing Jean Beausejour.
64 minWigan are enjoying a spell of possession now, but there's a real lack of dynamism when it comes to the final third. They are opting for elaborate through balls when simpler passes will do. This Liverpool defence can be rattled, we know that, but Wigan have rarely threatened today.
67 minSAVE! Reina keeps Wigan out with a decent stop from Maloney. The midfielder popped up at the back post with a header that the goalkeeper dealt with.
70 minSUBSTITUTION:Philippe Coutinho comes off to a great ovation from the Liverpool fans following his two assists today. The man on in his place is Jordan Henderson.
72 minThe Liverpool fans are now showing some support for their former manager by chanting the name of Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard has been under fire at Chelsea this past week, but he is still loved on Merseyside.
75 minThe game has entered a bit of a lull in these last few minutes. The visitors know that they've done enough for the win, while Wigan are keen to avoid any further embarrassment. Since they're currently out of the relegation on goal difference they don't want to concede to many more before the 90 minutes are up.
78 minSAVE! Wigan suddenly come to life as McManaman drives into the area before picking out Kone at the back post. The striker tries to curl it into the far corner, but Reina is equal to it.
80 minWHOOSH! Gerrard finds the back of the stand with a wayward volley. That one's still travelling, I think.
84 minMcCarthy gets some space down the right, allowing him to send a deep cross into the box. However, there isn't a single Wigan shirt in there as Carragher clears up.
88 minConfusion in the Wigan box as Scharner's header back to Al Habsi goes out for a corner. Downing whips in the resulting kick which sees a header from Henderson cleared off the line. Nearly a fifth for Liverpool.
90 minThe fourth official indicates that there will be two minutes of injury time...
7.24pmThe Merseysiders are fully deserving of the win and they could have had a few more goals to boot. The three points have kept alive their hopes of European football, while Wigan remain deep in a relegation battle yet again.
7.25pmAnyway, that's all from me for now but don't forget that you keep can up to date with all of this evening's football action here on Sports Mole. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and goodbye!