Street-wise Suarez promises a brighter future

Liverpool 1 Wigan 1
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The Independent Football

If this result was a reality check for Liverpool supporters after four successive victories, then the performance of Luis Suarez on his first start for the club after his £22.8m transfer from Ajax contained the promise of better things.

The Uruguayan is expected to be half of a forward double act with Andy Carroll when the former Newcastle United striker is fit, but in the meantime he whetted the appetites of the Kop with a performance of industry and skill, hitting a post after a twisting run and angled shot, and the crossbar with a curling free-kick.

But Suarez has proved as capable of annoying opposing supporters as of delighting his own. Alienating the city of Eindhoven by biting a PSV player would have been bad enough had he not already turned an entire nation against him when handling Asamoah Gyan's late goalbound effort for Ghana in last summer's World Cup.

In England, the problem is likely to be his ability to earn free-kicks. Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, first suggested that "three-quarters" of the free-kicks given in Suarez's favour on Saturday had not been fouls, before turning from prosecution to defence.

"He came from a different culture, and his type of football will change over the months," Martinez said. "But there is nothing wrong with players trying to buy free-kicks. We knew before the game he looks for contact but take nothing away from the quality of his play. His movement behind the centre-halves is very good and he will be outstanding for Liverpool."

Martinez could afford to be a touch generous after seeing Steve Gohouri cancel out Liverpool's first-half opener, the latest in a series of perfectly-struck volleys from the Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles.

"I think their goal was offside but they would have been harshly treated if they had come away with nothing from this match," Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said. "That was Luis' second game since December and it was a big ask for him to play 90 minutes. Raul came off feeling sick during the game and we were without [Daniel] Agger and [Steven] Gerrard, but we just have to get on with it.

"No spirits have been dampened because we have drawn a home game against Wigan after winning four on the spin. The expectations here have always been manageable." And there is also the Carroll-Suarez tandem to look forward to.

Scorers: Liverpool Meireles 24 Wigan Gohouri 65.

Subs: Liverpool Ngog 5 (Meireles, 54), Jovanovic 5 (Kuyt, 73) Unused Gulacsi (gk), Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Poulsen, Pacheco. Wigan Cleverley 5 (Moses, 65), McArthur 5 (Watson, 72) Unused Pollitt (gk), S Caldwell, Stam, Gomez, Di Santo.

Booked: Liverpool Carragher Wigan G Caldwell, Alcaraz, Gohouri.

Man of the match G Caldwell

Referee K Friend (Leicestershire)

Att 44,609.