BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – ANFIELD – Saturday October 18th 2008
Kuyt 37, 85
Riera 80
Zaki 29, 45

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

Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)
Attendance: 43,868
25 Pepe Reina 1 Chris Kirkland
17 Alvaro Arbeloa 25 Mario Melchiot
23 Jamie Carragher 19 Titus Bramble
5 Daniel Agger 7 Paul Scharner
2 Andrea Dossena 31 Maynor Figueroa
16 Jermaine Pennant 4 Lee Cattermole
8 Stephen Gerrard 5 Wilson Palacios
14 Xabi Alonso 23 Olivier Kapo
11 Albert Riera 16 Antonio Valencia
7 Robbie Keane 18 Daniel de Ridder
18 Dirk Kuyt 13 Amr Zaki
1 Diego Cavalieri 12 Mike Pollitt
21 Lucas Leiva 17 Emmerson Boyce
4 Sammi Hyypia 10 Jason Koumas
31 Nabil El Zhar 8 Kevin Kilbane
15 Yossi Benayoun 11 Michael Brown
22 Emiliano Insua 2 Michael Taylor
24 David N’gog 27 Henri Camara
29′ Goal Amr Zaki
37′ Goal Dirk Kuyt
39′ Yellow Card Andrea Dossena
45′ Goal Amr Zaki
71′ Yellow Card Antonio Valencia
75′ Yellow CardYellow Card Antonio Valencia
78′ Player Off Andrea Dossena
Player On Nabil El Zhar
79′ Player Off Daniel de Ridder
Player On Kevin Kilbane
79′ Player Off Alvaro Arbeloa
Player On Yossi Benayoun
80′ Goal Albert Riera
82′ Player Off Olivier Kapo
Player On Michael Brown
85′ Goal Dirk Kuyt
91′ Player Off Robbie Keane
Player On Sammi Hyypia
91′ Player Off Wilson Palacios
Player On Jason Koumas