It took just 2 minutes for the Reds to open their account. Philippe Coutinho received the ball on the left wing and skinned Emerson Boyce, before dinking a fine left footed cross to Stewart Downing, who glanced a simple header past Ali Al Habsi.
The away side quickly took a firm grip of the game with an impressive show of pressing and incisive passing within Wigan’s defensive third, and it didn’t take long for Liverpool to double their lead.
On 18 minutes, a tidy passing move built from Liverpool’s defence ended with a clever Luis Suarez finish.
Steven Gerrard collected the ball centrally before nudging a smart outside of the foot pass into Philippe Coutinho, the Brazilian then slotted a perfectly weighted through ball to Suarez, who dummied one way to commit Al Habsi before slotting it past Wigan’s stopper in the other direction.
A fine goal which displayed eye-catching link-up play between Liverpool’s new South American attacking partnership – hopefully a sign of things to come.
Coutinho still lacks match fitness and physical strength, but his eye for a pass and close control were exciting observations to say the least. The ball never moves too far from his feet when he is in possession – like many other great Brazilians of yesteryear.
Emerson Boyce’s volley forced a spectacular from Pepe Reina soon after, but this was a brief lull in Liverpool’s comprehensive control of proceedings.
It was 3-0 on 34 minutes. Luis Suarez aimed a right footed free kick towards goal, slipping in the process, but the ball deflected off Shaun Maloney’s head and looked destined for the bottom right hand corner; Al Habsi got across well to tip onto the post, unfortunately for Wigan however, the ball bounced back onto him which diverted it into the net.
A stroke of luck for Suarez, but after an infuriating spell of woodwork-hitting last season, and a brilliant campaign full of dazzling performances this, he deserved the good fortune.
As you would expect, Wigan started the second half with increased intensity in an attempt to salvage some pride from the game, but Liverpool responded by stretching their lead even further on 49 minutes.
Reina was forced to make two more superb stops from Shaun Maloney in order to preserve Liverpool’s four goal cushion, but apart from that, they cruised towards the final whistle.
After several mouth-watering displays this season, Liverpool’s latest dismantling of the Premier’s League less glamorous was more a result of ruthless efficiency, relentless pressing and clever passing at the business end of the field.
A quick look at the possession stats would provide evidence of the above, as would a couple of intelligent assists from Philippe Coutinho.
Wigan made it hard for Liverpool to settle into a consistent rhythm, but, encouragingly, the Reds looked like scoring as soon as they were able to free themselves of Wigan’s shackles.
One of the main reasons for this was the form of Luis Suarez, whose incredible season continues.
The footballing world continues to wax lyrical about the goalscoring prowess of Robin van Persie and the sparkling performances of Gareth Bale.
However, Suarez leads the golden boot race by two clear goals and has far more strings to his all-round footballing bow than the Dutchman.
Bale meanwhile has impressed in bursts, with a particularly good run of form in the last couple of months, but Suarez has been the Premier League’s most consistent performer throughout the campaign.
If the Uruguayan does not pick up at least one of the Player of the Year gongs this season, then it will simply be a result of his popularity, or lack thereof, rather than a real assessment on which player has been the league’s best.
Step forward the English media and its unsavoury grip on the hearts and minds of the footballing community. Let’s face it, Gareth Bale, with his London-based side, will pick up the award.
In terms of the wider team, Liverpool have recorded 11 league wins this season. Out of those victories, Rodgers’ men have won by three or more goals on 8 occasions.
This is an impressive statistic which demonstrates that when Liverpool are on song, they are a very good team, full of attacking intent.
With more consistency next season (that word again) and the presence of Daniel Sturridge from day one, Liverpool could and should enjoy a far more successful season next year. Let’s hope Suarez is around to take part.
L4L Man of the Match: Luis Suarez (again).
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