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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 16:50 GMT
Wigan 0-4 Liverpool
By John Sinnott

Craig Bellamy
Bellamy had only scored one league goal before Saturday's game
Liverpool routed Wigan to pick up their first league away win of the season.

The visitors were 4-0 up at half-time with Craig Bellamy scoring Liverpool's first two goals with a couple of neat side-footed finishes.

Bellamy also had a hand in the third goal when, in a move that began with keeper Jose Reina, the Welshman set up Dutchman Dirk Kuyt to fire home.

Lee McCulloch's own goal ended an awful first half for Wigan, who hit the post through an Emile Heskey shot late on.

That chance came with 10 minutes left, encapsulating a miserable day for Wigan.

Emile Heskey's shot rebounded to David Cotterill, who somehow was unable to put the ball over the line.

That was one of the few times Heskey threatened, with the former Liverpool striker comfortably contained by Jamie Carragher.

While Heskey withered, Bellamy blossomed.

He had only scored one league goal before this match, but he showed no signs of a lack of confidence, allying his natural speed to some intelligent movement to run amok at the JJB Stadium.

606: DEBATE
WL

Wigan defender Emmerson Boyce will have less pleasant memories of this game.

In the ninth minute Boyce inadvertently headed John Arne Riise's pass into Bellamy's path to allow the rout to begin.

Bellamy still had to negotiate his way past Matt Jackson but a surge of speed left the Wigan defender in his tracks, allowing the Welshman to side-foot into the top corner.

Midway through the first half Boyce was again culpable when he was too slow coming out of defence.

That indecision ensured Bellamy was onside when Steven Gerrard flicked the ball through.

This time Bellamy opted to keep his shot low, bending the ball past Chris Kirkland into the bottom of the net.

Wigan might conceivably have been level before Liverpool's third goal had it not been for a combination of Reina's agility and some wayward finishing.

Reina palmed away Paul Scharner's header, while McCulloch blazed over and when Liverpool's keeper saved a Heskey effort, Henri Camara proved similarly inaccurate with his shot.

As well as keeping out Wigan with those two saves, Reina had a hand in their third goal, with an intelligent piece of distribution.

Reina's quick thinking provided the momentum for Gerrard to launch a devasting attack.

The Liverpool captain exchanged a one-two with Luis Garcia, before sending Bellamy clear with a delightful pass.

The Welshman unselfishly slipped the ball to Kuyt, who drilled a shot past Kirkland.

A miserable half for Wigan was concluded when Gerrard's cross hit McCulloch on the calf to bamboozle its way past Kirkland.


Wigan manager Paul Jewell: "Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say the other side have better players. How many of our team would get into theirs?

"But what really annoyed me is that Liverpool did not have to work too hard to get their openings.

"The last goal, when we gave Steven Gerrard so much room to cross then scored an own goal, just summed it up."

  • Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez on striker Craig Bellamy:

  • "Maybe his mind is a little clearer now.

    "He could almost be a new player for us because on that form, Craig is capable of causing a lot of problems.

    "We have been creating chances in all our games but have not scored enough."


    Wigan: Kirkland, Boyce, Jackson (Wright 46), Hall, Baines, McCulloch, Skoko, Scharner, Kilbane (Cotterill 46), Camara, Heskey.

    Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Johansson, Landzaat.

    Booked: Boyce, Heskey.

    Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia (Paletta 61), Agger, Riise, Luis Garcia (Pennant 53), Carragher, Gerrard (Guthrie 79), Alonso, Kuyt, Bellamy.
    Subs Not Used: Dudek, Fowler.

    Booked: Alonso, Bellamy.

    Goals: Bellamy 9, 26, Kuyt 40, McCulloch 45 og.

    Att: 22,089.

    Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).



    SEE ALSO
    Saturday's football photos
    02 Dec 06 |  Football


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