December 3rd 2005.
Liverpool 3 – 0 Wigan
Crouch 19, 42
It’s all over at Anfield and at long last the first question from reporters at Liverpool press conferences will have to change, because Peter Crouch has scored. In fact the Liverpool number 15 scored twice as Liverpool went on towards three points and second place in the League. A second-half goal from Luis Garcia made sure of all three of those points.
For Crouch these were his first goals for Liverpool since joining in the summer and they bring to an end that infamous drought. His first goal came on 19 minutes and was from a couple of deflections, with some suggestion it may yet be decided it was an own goal. Crouch is claiming it was his and with replays showing that his original shot was on target it would be difficult to see how it could be ruled as anything but his goal.
No doubt about Crouch’s and Liverpool’s second, which came on 42 minutes, with a great piece of skill to chip the goal into the back of the net. Now we wait for his first goal at the Kop end and a chance for him to fulfil his promise of diving into the Kop.
Luis Garcia’s second half goal was another deflection, the Spanish star himself in the right place to deflect a header from compatriate Fernando Morientes into the back of the neck.
Despite the 3-0 scoreline, and an excellent performance from Liverpool, Wigan showed why they had got as high as second in the table a couple of games ago. Former Red and lifelong Kopite Paul Jewell has a team that continued to fight for the whole 90 minutes, never once letting their heads go down. They lost captain and inspiration De Zeeuw on thirty-five minutes and had a number of great saves from stand-in keeper Pollitt, but always looked capable of scoring. They are in the middle of a run of tough games at the moment, today’s match part of five matches that also sees them face Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United.
It was a bad day all-round for one former Red, with Henchoz booked on 82 minutes and certainly not playing as well as he has done so far this season for Wigan, perhaps not helped by the absence for much of the match of his partner De Zeeuw.
Liverpool’s second position will be temporary if either Arsenal or Manchester United can win this afternoon, but Liverpool’s sixth successive League win, all won without conceding a goal, means that they are certainly capable of finishing ahead of those two sides as long as they keep playing to the same level.
Liverpool: J Reina, S Finnan, S Hyypia, J Carragher, S Warnock, S Luis Garcia, S Gerrard, X Alonso (D Hamman, 67), H Kewell (H Kewell, 62), P Crouch (D Cisse, 73), F Morientes
Unused subs: S Carson, Josemi
Booked: Hyypia 84
Wigan Athletic: M Pollitt, P Chimbonda, S Henchoz, A De Zeeuw (M Jackson, 35), L Baines, J Bullard, G Kavanagh (J Skoko, 78), D Francis (D Connolly, 66), L McCulloch, J Roberts, H Camara
Other subs: G Walsh, R Taylor
Booked: Chimbonda 73, Henchoz 82
Referee: Uriah Rennie