Gohouri pulls the reins on Dalglish's galloping recovery

Liverpool 1 Wigan Athletic 1

The momentum built up by Liverpool over four successive victories under Kenny Dalglish slowed down unexpectedly yesterday against a stubborn Wigan. After the euphoria of their win at Chelsea seven days ago, the result showed that a bad habit of dropping points at home to lower-placed teams, that has developed over several seasons, cannot be overcome in a matter of weeks.

When Raul Meireles put Liverpool ahead in the first half with his fifth goal in six games, the pattern of the previous four matches seemed likely to continue. But Steve Gohouri's equaliser 20 minutes into the second half – 463 minutes after Liverpool had last conceded a goal – stunned Dalglish's men. Without the injured Steven Gerrard, they were unable to lift themselves again.

Dalglish blamed a flat second-half performance partly on midweek international matches. "We started well enough, scored a good goal and hit the post, but you could tell they'd been playing on Wednesday night, a lot of them," he said. "The sharpness was away a wee bit, which was understandable."

It was a valuable and deserved point for Wigan in their attempts to escape the Premier League's bottom three, with Gary Caldwell, their captain, playing in a Phantom of the Opera-style mask to protect a fractured cheekbone, leading a brave rearguard action after Gohouri 's equaliser.

"Coming to Anfield at this time, if you're not at your best you're not going to get anything," Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, said. "Their goal was against the run of play, but I thought the reaction was great. We had long spells of possession and grew into the game. Experiences like today are going to be fantastic for our young players."

Wigan started like a team who believed they could end Liverpool's run of clean sheets, while it took 18 minutes for Dirk Kuyt to get Liverpool's first shot on target, so it was hard luck on the visitors that their second, six minutes later, found the net. Fabio Aurelio's cross from the left was half-cleared by the head of Gohouri, the ball bouncing out to Meireles, who volleyed home unerringly from 18 yards.

Liverpool almost doubled their lead three minutes later when Luis Suarez, who impressed on his first start for the club, beat Ali Al Habsi with a low shot from the left only to see the ball hit the far upright, and it looked as if the home side would go on to dominate. But Wigan recovered their composure, and Pepe Reina had to be at his best to deal with free kicks by Charles N'Zogbia and Ben Watson before the interval.

The second half began as the first had ended, with Wigan looking dangerous and Liverpool unable to deny them possession, especially with Meireles, who had been sick at half-time, unable to continue beyond the 54th minute.

The only surprise when Wigan equalised in the 65th minute was that the scorer was Gohouri, the right back, who arrived unmarked at the far post to touch in N'Zogbia's cross from the right. It was the first time an opponent had scored against Liverpool since Jermaine Beckford of Everton on 16 January. The defenders appealed in vain that a flick by Antolin Alcaraz as the ball travelled across the penalty area had rendered Gohouri offside. "We haven't had much luck this season," Martinez said. "I'm glad it went our way. The performance deserved a point."

They held on to it thanks to a determined performance in the final stages, although Caldwell was lucky to escape a second yellow card for bringing down Suarez just outside the penalty area and the Uruguayan nearly took revenge with a sweetly struck free kick that cannoned back from the crossbar.

"It's easy to warm to him," Dalglish said of Suarez. "He's very energetic, skilful and he loves to score goals."

Attendance: 44,609

Referee: Kevin Friend

Man of the match: G Caldwell

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape