GARY Caldwell admits the memory of his winning goal for Wigan at Liverpool ‘will live with me forever’.
The Latics skipper was once again imperious at the back in helping keep an expensively-assembled Liverpool side at bay.
And the big centre-back popped up with an unlikely, but thoroughly merited, winning goal just after the hour mark as Latics recorded their first-ever victory at Anfield.
The win takes Wigan to within a point of safety and just three points off fifth-bottom Blackburn – and left Caldwell with a smile the size of the Mersey Tunnel.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to score any goal – but to score the winner against Liverpool in front of the Kop is a memory that will live with me forever,” he said.
“The Kop went quiet and all the lads came rushing over to me, and those are the moments you play football for. You will remember those big moments in your career and your life.
“It’s just a huge win for us as a football club, and it summed up the togetherness and the desire in the squad. It was a great performance, and the work-rate from all the lads was terrific.”
The win extends Wigan’s recent impressive run to only one defeat in seven matches but, as Caldwell was the first to acknowledge, the challenge now is to continue it against Stoke next weekend.
“We’ve been playing like that for weeks and not really got our rewards, but finally we got three points that we richly deserved,” he added.
“But we just mentioned it in the dressing room that back-to-back wins are so important, and that we need to back this up against Stoke at home next week.
“This was a big result – but it loses a lot of its significance if we can’t build on it. We’ve had great wins before and then let ourselves down, and we can’t afford to let that happen again.
“So the hard work starts again on Monday. We need to retain this focus and turn in another performance like this one.”
Caldwell’s goal was his third of the campaign – one off joint-top goalscorers Ben Watson, Jordi Gomez and Franco di Santo.
And there won’t be a more composed finish at the Kop end all season as he took delivery of James McCarthy’s deflected shot, and cut back on to his right foot before biding his time and slotting under Pepe Reina.
“I was pleased with the way I took it,” he added. “It initially fell on to my left foot, and my left foot is definitely not to be trusted – that’s why I cut inside (Andy) Carroll and stuck it away with my right.
“There was still a long time to play, but I was really pleased with the way we kept playing and stuck it out for the win.”
The victory did come at a cost, however, with Victor Moses being taken to hospital after taking the full force of Martin Skrtel’s right foot on his jaw.
Momo Diame also missed the game with a soft-tissue problem that boss Roberto Martinez fears will keep him out for up to a month.