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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 December 2005, 15:15 GMT
Liverpool 3-0 Wigan
Peter Crouch celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool
Peter Crouch ended his agonising wait for a goal in style as Liverpool earned their sixth league win in a row.

Crouch thought he had opened the scoring but his deflected shot, which was helped in by Mike Pollitt, was later credited to the Wigan keeper.

But there were no doubts about the giant hitman's next effort, when he superbly lifted the ball over the advancing Pollitt to double the lead.

Luis Garcia chested in from Fernando Morientes' header to seal the victory.

Crouch received a standing ovation when he was withdrawn after 74 minutes and his relief was tangible.

That was hardly surprising - when the 11th minute passed he had gone 24 hours without scoring for club or country.

Rafael Benitez's side started at an electric pace, with Steven Gerrard playing two gorgeous passes inside the Wigan full-backs to keep the visitors pinned back.

And it was no surprise that they took the lead 19 minutes in. Everyone inside a packed Anfield believed that the 6ft 7in had finally broken his duck only for the goal to be awarded to the unfortunate Pollitt.

Crouch lashed in a shot from 20 yards, it looped ludicrously high and goalwards off Leighton Baines and as the ball fell out of the sky, Pollitt incredulously hooked it into the goal instead of over the bar.

Six minutes before the break Harry Kewell should have scored his first of the season, but the subdued Australian side-footed wide from close-range.

It was left to the on-fire Crouch to double the advantage and if the opener had a touch of the ridiculous about it, this one was sublime.

He allowed a long ball from Steve Finnan to bounce in front of him before beautifully lifting it over the advancing Pollitt and into the net.

Wigan's only hope of getting back into the game was an early riposte after the break and they went agonisingly close when Graham Kavanagh's sweetly-stuck volley flew inches over the bar.

Moments later Morientes climbed high to meet a Finnan cross from the right, only to see his clever header cannon back off the bar.

Jimmy Bullard's shot was well-saved by Jose Reina at the other end as Wigan pressed but some sloppy defending soon after cost them dearly.

Morientes was not picked up at a corner and his header was diverted into the net off the chest of Garcia.

Gerrard and Morientes were both denied by magnificent Pollitt saves late on as a rampant Liverpool eased home and picked up their eighth successive clean sheet into the bargain.


  • Liverpool striker Peter Crouch:
    "I'm really pleased because I was getting a bit of stick recently. It was a great team performance and it was good to get the three points.

    "To score was great, I'm pleased and I can move on now, hopefully.

    "I am naturally buoyant and a happy person but at times it was getting me down but the goal has gone in and I can get on with things now."

  • Wigan boss Paul Jewell:
    "It was hard work watching that. We didn't go at them in the first half and put them under pressure.

    "We were better in the second period, but when we come to places like Liverpool, anything we get is a bonus.

    "People accuse me of being negative, but surely they can see we are playing against world-class players every week now. I know what we are up against."


    Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Warnock, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso (Hamann 67), Kewell (Riise 62), Crouch (Cisse 73), Morientes.
    Subs Not Used: Carson, Josemi.

    Booked: Hyypia.

    Goals: Crouch 19, 42, Luis Garcia 70.

    Wigan: Pollitt, Chimbonda, Henchoz, De Zeeuw (Jackson 35), Baines, Bullard, Kavanagh (Skoko 78), Francis (Connolly 66), McCulloch, Roberts, Camara.
    Subs Not Used: Walsh, Taylor.

    Booked: Chimbonda, Henchoz.

    Att: 44,098.

    Ref: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).


  • WATCH AND LISTEN
    Interview: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez


    Interview: Wigan manager Paul Jewell


    Interview: Liverpool striker Peter Crouch



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