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Match Summary


Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffered a setback as struggling Wigan punished an insipid display by Rafa Benitez's side.

The visitors' out-of-sorts performance was summed up four misses by Fernando Torres, who hit the post early on.

A Dirk Kuyt mistake led to Wigan's goal, with Emmerson Boyce then crossing and Hugo Rodallega volleying home.

Charles N'Zogbia almost added a second for Wigan when he broke clear and the home team held on for a deserved win.

N'Zogbia, Rodallega and James McCarthy were outstanding for Roberto Martinez's side as Wigan troubled Liverpool with their pace and no little skill.

Not for the first time this season, Liverpool were well below par and five yellow cards, including bookings for Torres and Steven Gerrard late on, summed up a miserable Monday for the Merseysiders.

As both teams came to grips with Wigan's relaid pitch Liverpool's initial attacking strategy was to bypass midfield with both Jamie Carragher and Gerrard launching passes to try and release Torres.

That initial spurt of pressure saw Liverpool win a corner with Maxi Rodriguez heading the ball to Torres, but the Spanish striker's volley struck the post.

Having survived that scare, Wigan started to give Liverpool a few things to worry about.

Chief pest to the Liverpool defence was N'Zogbia, who after almost releasing Rodallega with a clever reverse pass, flashed a couple of dangerous crosses across the Liverpool defence.

Symptomatic of Wigan's growing dominance were the yellow cards dished out to Emiliano Insua and Lucas and Sotiros Kyrgiakos.

Openings for Liverpool were proving rarer to spot, though Yossi's Benayoun's trickery saw break clear, allowing him to tee up Gerrard, who was unable to get his shot on target after his initial effort was blocked by Paul Scharner.

Gerrard and Lucas had been guilty of giving the ball away and the next Liverpool player to do so was Kuyt, an error that led to Wigan's opener.

Boyce pounced on Kuyt's mistake and with the outside of his right foot curled in a cross that Rodallega cleverly touched past Pepe Reina.

Just before the break Torres glimpsed a sight of goal, but under pressure from Gary Caldwell steered his header over the bar.

That chance was created by Rodriguez and soon after the interval the two former Aletico Madrid team-mates were at it again, with the same result - Torres putting the ball over the bar, this time with a shot.

Soon afterwards Benitez introduced Glen Johnson for Lucas, as the England full-back returned to action for the first time since late December.

Rejigged, but not revived, and almost immediately Liverpool suffered another scare when Marcelo Moreno blocked Carragher's clearance and with the ball looping towards the goal Kyrgiakos had to head away from under the bar.

Liverpool might have dominated possession in the second half but Wigan always threatened on the counterattack with N'Zogbia scampering clear and wriggling a shot past Reina, who was relieved when Scharner was unable to force the ball home at the far post.

With a quarter of an hour to go Torres missed his fourth reasonable chance, volleying narrowly wide after Kuyt headed the ball back to him following Insua's cross, one of the rare fluid pieces of Liverpool play.

Torres's night of frustration etched up a notch when he was booked for a poor tackle on Boyce, with Gerrard becoming the fifth Liverpool to be yellow carded for an equally poor challenge on McCarthy.

Team Line-ups and Substitutions

Wigan Athletic: Kirkland, Boyce, Caldwell, Bramble, Figueroa, Diame (Thomas 82), McCarthy, N'Zogbia, Scharner, Rodallega (Scotland 86), Moreno (Moses 67).
Subs not used: Stojkovic, Amaya, Gomez, Sinclair.

Liverpool: Reina, Mascherano, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Lucas (Johnson 55), Gerrard, Maxi, Benayoun (Aquilani 69), Kuyt (Babel 81), Torres.
Subs not used : Cavalieri, Agger, Riera, Ngog.

Referee: Andre Marriner