This game was turned firmly on its head by Alan Wiley after he wrongly booked Antonio Valencia for encroachment. The Ecuadorian then won the ball in a sliding challenge, but Alonso’s theatrics persuaded the official to give a second yellow and then red.
Mr Wiley didn’t though send off Dossena late in the first half, as the Liverpool midfielder sithed Daniel de Ridder. The referee only thought it warranted a yellow card and was the tone for the afternoon as he continually gave Liverpool the rub of the green.
The first half saw Latics taking the game to Liverpool and enjoyed much of the possession and shots. Palacios, Cattermole and Kapo all had good chances in the opening 20 minutes. At the other end a rare Liverpool attack saw Alonso’s shot blocked by Bramble.
The deadlock was broken after 25 minutes when Riena threw the ball out to Agger who seemed to think that there was no-one near him. As he turned though, there was Zaki who disposessed him and then clinically drove the ball into the Liverpool goal.
Kuyt did equalise just minutes later, totally against the run of play. Agger made up for his earlier slip up by sliding the ball across to the Dutchman who managed to just see the ball home after Kirkland got a hand to it.
The lead was justly restored as Latics dominated the rest of the half. That man Zaki was on hand again as he met an Antonio Valencia’s cross with an overhead kick to blast the ball into the net leaving Reina no chance.
The second half saw a much more level affair with both teams really cancelling each other out. Liverpool did seem to get into Latics half a lot more, but every effort was swatted out by an impressive defensive display.
Wigan was in cruise mode and could have extended their lead through Kapo who hit the post and Daniel de Ridder, but the Dutch midfielder’s strike crashed into the side netting.
Then in the 70th minute it all started to go wrong, as mentioned earlier, the ref seemed to have red tinted glasses on all game and this was backed up with the decisions behind Valencia’s exit. After the Ecuadorian went off, Latics tired very quickly and that left the door open for Riera to score his first goal for his club on 80 minutes.
Dirk Kuyt scored his second with minutes remaining and the robbing was complete. I know referees never come out and say they made a mistake, but Wiley made big ones today and it cost Wigan 3 points and gifted them to Liverpool.
Report by Jason Taylor