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Saturday 29 September 2007 15:00 , Barclays Premier League

Liverpool have returned to winning ways in the Premier League after a brilliant individual goal from Yossi Benayoun secured all three points at the JJB Stadium.

Benayoun came off the substitute's bench to sensational effect when he latched onto Jermaine Pennant's through ball and danced past his marker before sliding the ball past Chris Kirkland into the back of the net.

The goal was no more than the Reds deserved and came at a time when it looked as though Wigan's defensive rearguard was going to see Liverpool forced to settle for their third successive league draw.

Chances came and went throughout the match until the Israeli international nipped in to net his second goal in two games and ensure the Reds stay within striking distance of Arsenal at the top of the table.

With Fernando Torres restored to the forward line after being rested for last weekend's Premier League clash with Birmingham, the Reds always looked a threat going forward even though the first half failed to produce a goal.

The Spanish striker was at the centre of most of the Reds' best action in the early stages, with the Wigan defence often at full strength to prevent Torres finding too much space in front of goal.

Chris Kirkland was forced into a smart save midway through the half when he blocked Torres' low drive with his legs, and then looked on with relief as the ball bounced back off the Reds' forward and rolled just the wrong side of the post.

Torres also fired an acrobatic overhead kick just wide of the post as Liverpool threatened to take the lead “ but the home side saw the half out.

The deadlock was almost broken ten minutes after the break when Steven Gerrard kept the ball in on the byline and set up Dirk Kuyt for a goalbound shot which was brilliantly blocked by Josep Skoko.

Wigan threatened for the first time shortly after when Pepe Reina was beaten to a loose ball inside his area and Paul Scharner nipped in to clip a shot agonisingly wide for the home side.

With time starting to tick away the Reds introduced Benayoun to the action in place of the returning Fabio Aurelio and he wasted no time in stamping his mark on proceedings.

Only fifteen minutes remained on the clock when Pennant found his midfield colleague inside the box, and Benayoun showed all his class with a drop of the shoulder to create the space before a quality left footed finish sent the five thousand travelling supporters wild with delight.

Liverpool had chances to finish the game off with Torres and Gerrard going close, but after a couple of frustrating goalless draws Rafa Benitez will be delighted that one goal was enough to secure maximum points, even though the home side should have levelled in stoppage time when Aganhowa directed a header just wide from inside the six yard box.


Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Hyypia, Carragher, Arbeloa, Riise, Gerrard (captain), Mascherano, Pennant, Torres, Kuyt. Subs - Itandje, Voronin, Finnan, Sissoko, Benayoun

Wigan Athletic: Kirkland, Kilbane, Boyce, Bramble, Melchiot (captain), Koumas, Skoko, Brown, Scharner, Aghahowa, Bent. Subs - Hall, Olembe, Granqvist, Pollitt, Taylor

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Conditions: Warm

Attendance: Unknown Man-of-the-Match: Yossi Benayoun

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