The Latics were 2-1 up in the 75th minute at Anfield on Saturday, when Antonio Valencia unwisely decided to lunge at Xabi Alonso and earn a second yellow card for his troubles. As we all know, Liverpool went on to win the match 3-2, and while Rafael Benitez denied that the dismissal changed the match, his opposite number was fuming by the final whistle!
The Press Association reports that Steve Bruce is not a happy bunny, especially with the midfielder getting a first yellow card for being part of a wall that wasn’t getting back ten yards. However, the Ecuadorian’s challenge on Alonso might have merited a straight red anyway. Nevertheless, you can understand why the Wigan manager has spat his dummy after seeing his team lead twice.
“The referee got the first booking for Valencia wrong,” said Bruce. “The Liverpool player took the kick, and Valencia did not encroach towards it until the ball had been kicked. So he got that one wrong. Then there is the tackle on Alonso, in which I felt the lad touched the ball. I felt that was harsh.
“In my opinion we were robbed. It is a joke that we have not come away from this match with something,” he added. “Those decisions changed the whole course of the game. With 11 against 11 we would not have lost. But there were a lot of tired bodies out there and we could not hold out.”
Does Bruce have a point or is it just sour grapes from the Wigan manager? After all, Agger gifted Zaki the first of his goals, and Liverpool were starting to threaten before Valencia got his marching orders. Do Reds fans think that they were lucky to get the three points on this occasion?