A disappointed Pepe Reina
removes his gloves.
Martinez capitalised on the fact that Liverpool are clearly still not set in their ways or on to some sort of consistency. Martinez realised that Liverpool were, and have been a beatable side for a while now providing your tactics are good and the work ethic of your players is at a maximum.
Martinez was right, with an inspired performance from a Wigan side who have not won since late January on the new turf at the DW, Liverpool were made to look undone. Wigan on the other hand resembled a top 4 challenging side whilst the Reds allowed their heads to drop directly after the 35minute Wigan winner found its way into the net.
Benitez fielded an interesting line up, Mascherano was again utilised at right back although Glen Johnson did make his come back as a substitute. The line up had many attacking options with the likes of Gerrrard, Torres, Benayoun, Kuyt and Maxi all making the start. The big Greek was back in defence and it was Reina, Carragher, Lucas and Insua who made up the rest of the XI.
Other than a few blocked attempts and some unfortunate chances not taken by Fernando, Liverpool's stats in front of the Wigan goal mouth made poor reading.
Wigan could boast more attempts and more times at which they called the goalkeeper to duty, Reina had a lot more work than ex Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland who would have been ecstatic that El Nino was not his more electric self.
Wigan took their chance after Dirk Kuyt gave away possession to Emmerson Boyce, after the Latic player spotted Rodallega, the Colombian international saw his opportunity and sent his effort to the right of Pepe Reina and into the Liverpool goal.
With 55minutes of the game still to go you would think even despite the poor performance so far, Liverpool would get their chance. The last 10 minutes of the first half did not provide it so we were relying on a much improved second half performance.
Improvement was not necessarily the best descriptive word for our latter half. It was almost as if the players had forgotten what we were fighting for here and what it would mean should we come away with nothing.
They seemed quite happy to complain about lost chances, moan about their own fallible passing and get frustrated in 9 out of 10 situations. I understand it must be frustrating for the players but where's the spirit? Yes, Wigan aren't exactly AC Milan and it's not like we're losing in a Champions League final but the pumping of Stevens Gerrard's arms up into the air to lift the vibe would have done wonders.
The whole team had let their heads drop, it was almost as if they had just sat back and accepted that this stint was atrocious and even though plenty of time was left to salvage something from the situation, they didn't have enough heart in it to bother.
The Glen Johnson and Aquilani substitutions appeared to apply some sort of lift, along with the introduction of Babel. Aquilani proved he was able to focus in a difficult and poorly poised fixture, his passing and movement was a lesson for some of the sloppy starts for the men in Red shirts.
This performance was on a par with the terrible display against Portsmouth earlier this season, ironically, it is the Southerner's who we face next in our now ever hardening quest to finish in that 4th spot.
With Portsmouth in a totally different state of mind to ourselves, if we don't go into this game with the right attitude/line up, it could quite simply be disastrous.
With Aston Villa now having 3 games in hand over ourselves, City with 2 and Tottenham with 1. It is surely going to be a very nervous end to our season.