Enrique Does Not Eat the Pies, He Beats Them
Today was the day that hopefully showed that Liverpool has finally turned the corner. Liverpool were playing Wigan at home and it was a game that had already been termed as a must win game, due to our standing and lack of results in the Premier League.
Brendan had also chosen virtually the same that had played the previous weekend - the only changes being the return of Pepe Reina and Martin Skrtel, both having recovered from their injury and illness problems.
Now Wigan of course is managed by Roberto Martinez who during the summer was rumoured to have been offered the vacant manager's position at Liverpool. He was also the manager of Swansea before Brendan Rodgers took over and oversaw their promotion to the Premier League. That of course meant that both managers were aware of each other's style of play and possible tactics.
An awareness that I suspect hindered the way that both teams played in the first half. A half which Liverpool began extremely lively with the tikka takka style of football seemingly in evidence but that did not last long. Wigan very quickly found their feet and to be honest it looked as though we were heading towards another draw.
It was a game that saw Liverpool reverted to having a back four with Enrique starting on the left of Midfield. Now Enrique has had a massive turnaround in form over the last month and this shone through yet again today. He was my man of the match and was rightly rewarded with a goal for his efforts towards the second half.
During the first half though, he was as subdued as the rest of the team in terms of moving forward and trying to score a goal. There were of course several moments of brilliance from Agger and Suso who sent balls over the goal mouth but it soon became clear that something needed to be done to change the way that the game was going.
That change saw young Suso being taken off and Jordan Henderson entering the field of play. This led to a change in the way that the team was set up and led to Stevie G moving further into the middle, thus ensuring that Luis Suarez had someone to feed off.
It was also a half that saw the first substitution for Wigan. Raheem, who has what I would call a wild streak in him, caught Watson on the shin as he went for ball. Watson went down and according to those sitting in the press benches you could hear the noise as he fell. He was subsequently taken off down on the tunnel on a stretcher.
Now I have no idea what happened during half time but the team that emerged from the dressing room after half time came onto the pitch with a totally different mind-set.
Luis Suarez who has been the subject of major press speculation this week proved to the watching football world that he was in fact worth more than the £40 million that had been suggested. It took him just a couple of minutes into the second half to score his first goal of the afternoon. Andre Wisdom who has become a regular in the first team sent to the ball through to Raheem who sneaked in front of Maynor Figuera and made his through the Wigan defence. Seizing his opportunity he spotted Luis Suarez who slotted the ball into the back of the net.
This seemed to wake up Luis Suarez and from that moment onwards he was rampant in the goal area so much so that he and the born-again Jose Enrique combined to ensure goal number two was in the back of the net. Enrique had picked up a ball on the left and began a run which saw him take it further into the centre of the pitch. This was picked up by Luis Suarez who after several small moves scored a fantastic goal.
Enrique was not finished there and due to a mistake by the match officials Liverpool were awarded a throw in that should have actually gone to Wigan. The resulting throw-in was met by Luis Suarez who sent the ball through a gap on the inside right towards Raheem Sterling. Raheem in turn sent the ball towards Enrique who sent into the back of the net
Liverpool were now all over Wigan and with further chances from JonJo Shelvy and Glen Johnson being saved or indeed going wide, it was just a matter of seeing the game through to its conclusion.
They did this and as I have said in my opening paragraph, hopefully Liverpool have now turned the corner and more of the draws will become wins and ensure our continued progress up towards the top four.