Steve Gohouri’s outstretched boot earned Wigan a valuable point at Anfield after Portugal international Raul Meireles had netted his fifth goal in six games to give Liverpool a first half lead.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – ANFIELD – Saturday February 12th 2011
Meireles 24
Gohouri 65

Roberto Martinez had earlier in the week targetted four wins and two draws from the remaining games as enough to ensure top flight football for his side next season.

There will be varying opinions as to where these points would could from but coming away from Anfield with a share of the spoils against an in-form Liverpool side would probably not have been mentioned in many Wigan fans’ predictions for their team’s run in.

However Latics were worthy of the point they took back down the East Lancs Road and could possibly have sneaked away with all three at the end.

Martinez made one change from the side that had come from behind to beat Blackburn last time out at the DW Stadium with Gary Caldwell replacing Emmerson Boyce in the starting line up.

The Wigan captain was returning from injury sporting a protective mask after missing the previous game with a fractured cheekbone and looked more like he had been given a starring role in the remake of the Lone Ranger.

Popular opinion believed that a Liverpool win would be a mere formality but despite leading at the interval through Raul Meireles 24th minute goal, a superbly struck volley, Wigan never looked out of the game.

Liverpool gave a full debut to their £23 million recent signing Luis Suarez to bolster their front line with a view to putting the pressure on the Wigan rearguard.

The Uruguayan had found the net on his debut against Stoke ten days earlier after coming off the bench to replace Aurelio and almost added to his tally but was twice denied by the woodwork.

Latics started well but rarely threatened Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal whereas the threat of Suarez and Dirk Kuyt for the home side was growing more ominous as the game proceeded.

Liverpool pressed for an opener but apart from Kuyt’s 25-yard effort, which Al Habsi saved, were finding it difficult to breakthrough.

However their luck changed on 23 minutes when Aurelio’s cross was cleared by Gohouri but only as far as Meireles and the Portuguese international midfielder volleyed the ball past Al Habsi sending the Kop wild behind that goal.

Suarez then nearly added a second but his curling shot across goal struck the outside of the far post and flew wide.

Wigan were far from dead and buried though and were proving to be a threat to their hosts with Charles N’Zogbia more than a handful.

Wigan were first out of the blocks after the break and could have been level had Hugo Rodallega not sent his effort wide after Victor Moses picked him out at the near post.

Liverpool hadn’t conceded a goal in over seven hours and came into this game on the back of four straight wins and four consecutive clean sheets but that all came to an end just after the hour mark albeit in slightly controversial circumstances.

N’Zogbia swung a cross in from the right flank which Antolin Alcaraz flicked on with his head finding Gohouri racing in at the far post and the Ivory Coast defender stabbed the ball home for his first goal of the season.

Latics now had Liverpool on the back foot and Martinez quickly introduced fresh legs with Tom Cleverley replacing Moses on the wing and Ben Watson making way for James McArthur five minutes later.

Wigan were showing some nice touches on the ball as the game neared its conclusion but all their hard work was nearly undone with a Suarez free-kick that thankfully for Martinez’ side struck the bar as they held out for a precious point.

Latics now turn their attentions to the FA Cup with Bolton Wanderers first up at the DW Stadium on Wednesday evening and, should they overcome the challenge of Owen Coyle’s side, then a trip to the capital with Fulham waiting for them in the Fifth Round.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
Attendance: 44,609
25 Pepe Reina 26 Ali Al Habsi
23 Jamie Carragher 5 Gary Caldwell
12 Fabio Aurelio 3 Antolin Alcaraz
37 Martin Skrtel 31 Maynor Figueroa
34 Martin Kelly 2 Steve Gohouri
2 Glen Johnson 21 Mohamed Diame
17 Maxi Rodriguez 8 Ben Watson
4 Raul Meireles 10 Charles N’Zogbia
21 Lucas 4 James McCarthy
18 Dirk Kuyt 20 Hugo Rodallega
7 Luis Suarez 11 Victor Moses
42 Peter Gulacsi 12 Mike Pollitt
16 Sotiros Kyrgiakos 13 Steven Caldwell
22 Danny Wilson 23 Ronnie Stam
28 Christian Poulsen 15 Tom Cleverley
14 Milan Jovanovic 16 James McArthur
24 David N’Gog 14 Jordi Gomez
12 Daniel Pacheco 7 Franco Di Santo
24′ Goal Raul Meireles
30′ Yellow Card Steve Gohouri
54′ Player Off Raul Meireles
Player On David N’Gog
59′ Yellow Card Antolin Alcaraz
64′ Yellow Card Jamie Carragher
65′ Goal Steve Gohouri
67′ Player Off Victor Moses
Player On Tom Cleverley
71′ Yellow Card Gary Caldwell
72′ Player Off Ben Watson
Player On James McArthur
73′ Player Off Dirk Kuyt
Player On Milan Jovanovic