Caldwell skips in to deepen Dalglish's woes

Liverpool 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Anfield

"Stand by for Operation Anfield exercise" came the message over the Tannoy after 26 minutes. If it was a coded call designed to rouse the home team after a subdued start, it did not work, and a gleeful Wigan Athletic took full advantage to claim their first- ever win at Liverpool.

Shaun Maloney's first-half penalty and captain Gary Caldwell's close-range finish after 63 minutes, sandwiching a Luis Suarez strike, secured a famous victory for the Lancashire club to revive their hopes of avoiding relegation, and leave their manager, Roberto Martinez, hailing his players. "It is a historic day for us," said the Spaniard. "Wigan Athletic beating Liverpool at Anfield – that is why we are involved in football, [to] defy the odds and the history."

Wigan have now lost just once in seven matches and climbed level on points with third-bottom QPR, but the story of this game was also about Liverpool after a day that intensified the spotlight on their failings in the Premier League this season. The Merseyside club have won the Carling Cup and booked a Wembley return in the FA Cup semi-finals, but this humbling reverse was their fifth defeat in six in the League and means they have taken just eight points from a possible 33 since the start of 2012.

It was the last thing that Kenny Dalglish would have wanted after the late capitulation at QPR on Wednesday, and the manager's excuse of tiredness is unlikely to appease the supporters who booed Liverpool off at the end. "We looked a wee bit tired, we had a lot of possession but gave away the ball quite a lot. If you play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, it is going to take its toll."

In the spring sunshine Liverpool were sluggish, and Wigan profited after 30 minutes. When Maloney blocked a Jordan Henderson clearance the ball span to Caldwell, who lifted it back into the Liverpool box, where Jamie Carragher's weak header presented an opportunity for Victor Moses. As he nodded goalwards, he was caught on the chin by a boot from Martin Skrtel and Lee Mason pointed to the spot.

Moses, who suffered cuts to his face and suspected concussion, required lengthy treatment, but Maloney held his nerve and steered his spot-kick low to Pepe Reina's right for his first goal since joining Wigan from Celtic last August.

Until then Liverpool's only threat of note had been a Stewart Downing effort that flashed just past the far post. They drew a couple of saves from Ali Al Habsi through Suarez and Steven Gerrard, but evidence of Liverpool's frustration came as Kenny Dalglish had a heated exchange with Martinez on the touchline.

Yet when Suarez levelled two minutes after the restart, playing in Gerrard down the right and tucking the ensuing cross past Al Habsi, it seemed likely Liverpool would go on and win the game. And they might have done had Suarez not been penalised for using his hand to turn the ball in on the line after Skrtel's back-post header had bounced over Al Habsi.

Dalglish argued that Suarez had used his shoulder and said that the referee had got the decision wrong. "There is no rhyme nor reason why the second goal should be chalked off," he said.

A reprieved Wigan regained the advantage when from a half-cleared free-kick James McCarthy drove the ball back into the Liverpool box and it deflected off Carragher to Caldwell, who finished like a centre-forward, sidestepping Andy Carroll and slipping the ball under Reina.

Martinez said of his captain: "I think he surprised the whole Anfield crowd and he surprised even our bench." Dave Whelan, Wigan's owner, was on his feet in the directors' box as the away fans sang: "We are staying up". Around the rest of Anfield there were only groans.

Liverpool (4-1-4-1): Reina; Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique; Spearing; Downing (Shelvey, 73), Henderson (Carroll, 46), Gerrard, Kuyt (Sterling, 84); Suarez.

Wigan ((3-4-3): Al Habsi; Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour; Moses (Crusat, 42), Di Santo (Sammon, 82), Maloney.

Referee: Lee Mason.

Man of the match: Caldwell (Wigan)

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones