Wigan Athletic 0 Liverpool 2

Ben Woodburn scores the second Liverpool goal against Wigan AthleticBen Woodburn scores the second Liverpool goal against Wigan Athletic
Ben Woodburn scores the second Liverpool goal against Wigan Athletic
Goals from half-time substitutes Danny Ings and Ben Woodburn gave Liverpool a thoroughly-deserved 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW.

Just like Manchester United had 24 hours previous, the Premier League outfit dominated the vast majority of the encounter, and if anything the scoreline flattered the home side.

Unlike the United game, at least this time Latics managed to threaten as an attacking force, with both Yanic Wildschut and youngster Jordan Flores putting in impressive showings.

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But eventually the top-flight quality told, with Latics unable to muster a meaningful response.

Ironically, when the breakthrough did come, it was after the game’s outstanding player - Liverpool’s Coutinho - had left the field.

Twice inside the opening quarter, the Brazilian rattled the Wigan woodwork - the first from a delightful free-kick, the second with a wicked shot - with Lee Nicholls helpless.

Latics came close to taking a fortunate lead on the half-hour mark when Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius miscontrolled a routine backpass, and only spared his own blushes in the nick of time with Sanmi Odelusi almost toeing the ball over the line.

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Latics managed to hold out the visitors until the final quarter, but two goals in the space of three minutes gave the scoreboard a far more accurate reflection.

First Ings took advantage of a defensive mix-up to break the deadlock.

Then, with Latics still trying to clear their heads, 16-year-old Woodburn showed great maturity to race through and beat Nicholls with a delightful dinked finish.

But in all honesty, the game could have been over by the halfway mark had the home goal not led such a charmed life.

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Latics were given a very early scare when Coutinho lined up a free-kick with only four minutes on the clock, and was unfortunate to see it beat Nicholls but come back off the bar.

The home side did show a strong initial response, with Wildschut carrying the ball fully 60 yards down the left before winning a corner, from which Flores volleyed inches wide.

After that, though, the visitors gradually took charge, and Coutinho was cursing his fortune again on the 14-minute mark when, after showing great feet, his snap-shot again beat the goalkeeper but not the woodwork.

Liverpool came close again when Cameron Brannagan’s free-kick found the head of Joel Matip, who couldn’t keep his effort down.

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But the Reds had a scare midway through the half when, after Wildschut chased a long ball from Jason Pearce, goalkeeper Karius appeared to reach out of his area to claim possession.

The referee waved play on, but Karius was in trouble again soon after when he almost gifted an open goal to Odelusi, only to just about get back to snuff out the danger.

At the other end, Nicholls had to be alert to pull off a double save from Liverpool new-boy Sadio Mane and then Coutinho.

After a raft of half-time substitutes, the game took time to get back going into the second half.

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But Ings, on at the break, was seeing plenty of the ball as he played on the shoulder of the last defender.

From one such opportunity, the ex-Burnley man saw a low shot well saved by Nicholls, although he should have done better with his next chance that he poked past the upright.

Lucas and Ryan Kent wasted similar chances, before the goal that had been coming finally arrived on 71 minutes, through Ings.

Before Latics could respond, Liverpool were in again through Woodburn, and from then on it was only a matter of his many Liverpool were going to get.

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Woodburn again fired past the far post, before Kent thought he was through only to be pulled back for a clear handball.

Tim Chow had a great chance to pull one back with eight minutes to go, only to fire straight at the goalkeeper from 12 yards.

But Liverpool almost added a third in the dying seconds, only for Nicholls to again deny Ings with his feet.

Latics: Nicholls; Chow, Hendry, Pearce, A Taylor; Gilbey, Morsy, Flores; Colclough, Wildschut, Odelusi.

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Barrigan (for Oselusi, 78), Burke (for Gilbey, 78), Gregory (for Morsy, 88), Cosgrove, Whitehead, O’Brien, Lang (for Colclough, 88), Davies (for Flores, 70).