LIVERPOOL BEATS WIGAN BY 3 GOALS
LUIS SUAREZ moved to the top of the Premier League scoring charts as Liverpool inched their way towards the top half.
Suarez struck just two minutes into the second half after a dreadful mix-up between Emmerson Boyce and Maynor Figueroa.
Raheem Sterling intercepted the loose ball and picked out Suarez, who finished well.
And the Uruguayan hitman struck again on 58 minutes as the Reds registered just their second win in 12 games.
It was Suarez’s 11th Prem strike this season, two clear of Robin van Persie.
Jose Enrique put the seal on the win with his first of the season on 65 minutes.
The victory was well deserved for the home side after a hard-faced first half with Wigan struggling to pose only problems to the returning Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.
In a quiet start to the game Liverpool had to wait until 23 minutes to create their first noteworthy effort as Suso let fly from the edge of the box and Al Habsi could only palm out his powerful shot.
The little Spaniard missed the best opening of the half on 32 minutes as Glen Johnson got to the byline and pulled a cross back for Suso who headed his effort over the crossbar from six yards out.
Both sides made changes to their midfield just past the half hour mark with David Jones replacing the injured Ben Watson following a collision with Raheem Sterling, while Brendan Rodgers appeared to make a tactical change by taking off Suso for Jordan Henderson.
Just before the break Al Habsi was forced into a smart save as Enrique tried to get onto Suarez's drilled cross across the six-yard box.
Whatever Rodgers said at half-time seemed to work as Liverpool broke the deadlock two minutes into the second half through Suarez.
Sterling capitalised on a poor pass from Jean Beausejour to round Maynor Figueroa and the England international picked out Suarez who fired his shot high into the net past Al Habsi.
Suarez made it 2-0 on 58 minutes when Enrique slipped him in on goal with a superb pass and the deadly striker poked his shot past Al Habsi.
Liverpool made it 3-0 on 65 minutes with Enrique grabbing a deserved goal for his afternoon's work, but there was some controversy in the build-up.
Wigan felt they should have had a throw-in when Ivan Ramis's pass appeared to be deflected into touch by Suarez, but the home side were awarded the throw and from it Sterling got in on goal and saw his powerful shot palmed out into the path of the grateful Enrique to snaffle up the rebound.
Rodgers believes the result was a product of his side's collective performance, rather than individual brilliance.
"Josés's a terrific talent, I think he can really play that role," Rodgers said. "Luis took his goals very well, he's a master marksman and his movement was outstanding, but today was about the team. The pressure we built up was very strong and we were much more educated on the ball. I'm delighted and thrilled for the players, they give me so much every day."
"Don’t get me wrong, Luis a wonderful striker and he gets paid a good sum of money to score goals but so do lots of other teams.
"Lots of other teams have strikers that are the pinnacle and finish off a lot of good work. We’re very much a team and Luis is a very big part of that.
"His first goal was a wonderful finish, great weight of pass by Raheem [Sterling] and he finished it great and the second one is a lovely pass from Jose Enrique and a nice little off-the-shoulder run and finish.
"He’s a master marksman, absolutely outstanding and obviously we’re thrilled to have him but the ethos is very much along the team and I thought the team was excellent today."
Despite insisting the 25-year-old is ably assisted by his team-mates, Rodgers did admit he is keen to source attacking reinforcements in January.
"We’ll see what January brings," he said.
"I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to get five/six players in it doesn’t work that way.
"We know it’s going to be very difficult this season in terms of transitioning the group but we’ll get some support in and the players that we’ve got we’ll work with them and see where it takes us."
The Northern Irishman chose to withdraw Suso with just 30 minutes on the clock, but revealed that the substitution was a tactical one, rather than enforced by injury.
"It was just tactical," he added.
"I felt that the organisation at the front end of the field wasn’t as what I wanted really. You make a decision in the game you can either let it run but I always try to use my intuition and what I feel is best for the team at that moment.
"He had some nice touches, he nearly scored but that’s a part of the game. I just felt I’d flip the triangle around, we were playing two and one and I felt that it wasn’t so good for us when we didn’t have the ball."
The 39-year-old also compared Jose Enrique's switch from full-back to the left wing to that made by Gareth Bale following his move to Tottenham.
"He’s a terrific talent. I just felt pushing that bit further forward; you look at Gareth Bale, he played a lot at left-back and pushed forward one and really showed his strengths," he continued.
"Jose is someone I think can do that role with his power and pace, I said to him yesterday [about] the number of goals he and Raheem can get if they get inside the frame of the goal."
Reports this week that Manchester City were ready to make a £40million bid for the striker in January were dismissed by Roberto Mancini and Brendan Rodgers, with the latter confidently stating his prize asset was not for sale.
And in any case, scoring in five successive matches to take his tally to 10 in as many appearances would appear to have boosted Suarez's price tag by several million more.
Not that Liverpool would consider - or could even countenance - selling a player who is so vital to any chance of success in the short- to medium-term.
Without the 25-year-old's input this season - from goals and assists - the Reds would be in the bottom three. It is difficult to put a price on exactly how much that is worth to a team still growing into Rodgers' way of working but it is safe to say it would likely take much more to replace what he has brought to the side this campaign.
Victory for Brendan Rodgers’ men saw them leapfrog the Latics and jump into 11th spot.