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Martinez hits out as Suarez brace sinks Latics

Sunday, 18 November 2012 - 12:49pm IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

It is not surprising Brendan Rodgers rejects the notion his side have become a one-man band, utterly dependent on Luis Suarez.

It is not surprising Brendan Rodgers rejects the notion his side have become a one-man band, utterly dependent on Luis Suarez.

But as Suarez inspired victory over Wigan, it was impossible not to see him as charismatic front man, percussionist, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist rolled into one during the 3-0 win.

In the eyes of Roberto Martinez, he was also chief protagonist for less savoury reasons. He accused the Uruguayan of stamping on midfielder David Jones.

As Anfield rose to applaud Suarez when he was substituted three minutes from time, Martinez did not join the ovation.

"There was a stamp. That's not the sign of a top player," said Martinez, who also lost Ben Watson with a broken leg.

"Things happen in a game and he was lucky today. It wasn't a nasty game. The broken leg was an accident. When you see the replay of the challenge on Jones you see the stamp, but that's the nature of the game. If the referee doesn't see it you are lucky."

Anfield was too busy rocking to Suarez's beat in a rampant second half to notice anything untoward.

Suarez scored two and had a role in the third for Jose Enrique as Rodgers's men showed the panache he's been promising since assuming control.

Enrique and Raheem Sterling played their part, but Suarez already has 10 league goals this season. It was he who transformed the mood at Anfield from despondent during a goalless first half to exuberant by full-time. Rodgers, understandably, wants the focus to be on the team rather than his No?7, but his intention is to build a side around his striker.

"It's not just Luis Suarez. He is a wonderful striker and he is paid to score but lots of other teams have strikers who finish off good work by the team," said Rodgers.

"He is a master marksman and we are thrilled to have him, but the ethos is on the team. He's not at all worried at having too much burden to score. He thrives on it."

Liverpool are unbeaten in seven league games. Had they not drawn so often they would be talking more confidently about a top-four finish. There were also reminders of the challenge ahead, however.

Aside from the loss of Watson following an innocuous challenge, Martinez - who could as easily have been in the home dugout after his coffee morning in Florida with John Henry last May - was the happier coach at half-time.

His mood darkened because Liverpool were unrecognisable in the second half, helped by some poor Wigan defending.

Martinez felt fatigue after the international break was a factor, but it didn't affect Liverpool.

Rodgers demanded a higher tempo at half-time and the improvement was instantly rewarded when Jean Beausejour's weak pass left Maynor Figueroa stranded.

Sterling stole in and crossed for Suarez who finished emphatically. No gifts were required for Suarez's second after 58 minutes, as Enrique slipped the striker through for a sublime finish with the outside of his right foot.

Enrique then tapped in the third after 65 minutes after more fine work from Sterling as the Kop finally enjoyed a nerveless finale to a home fixture.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Reina; Johnson, Agger (Carragher 82), Skrtel, Wisdom; Allen, Gerrard, Suso (Henderson 37); Enrique, Sterling, Suarez (Shelvey 87). Subs: Jones, Sahin, Cole, Carragher, Coates

Wigan (4-4-2): Al Habsi; Figueroa, Ramis, Caldwell (Gomez 69), Boyce; Beausejour, McCarthy, Watson (Jones 32), Maloney; Kone, Di Santo (Miyaichi 69). Subs: Pollitt, McManaman, Stam, Boselli

Referee: K Friend (Leics).


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