Ali Al-Habsi saved a Charlie Adam penalty and made a string of other fine saves to help Wigan hold Liverpool to a point at the DW Stadium.

Luis Suarez won the second-half penalty when his overhead kick was handled by Gary Caldwell.

Dirk Kuyt also went close but he fired over from just six yards out.

Wigan played their part in a pulsating encounter and Hugo Rodallega could have snatched all three points with a header in the closing stages.

Liverpool spirit pleases Dalglish

Liverpool enjoyed the best chances throughout, but their wastefulness in front of goal cost them victory in an open game that was theirs for the taking.

Wigan's footballing principles are laudable and this draw, coupled with the point picked up against Chelsea in their last outing , can give them plenty of confidence in their latest relegation battle.

During the pre-match warm-up, Liverpool's players joined manager Kenny Dalglish in sporting t-shirts with an image of Luis Suarez printed on the front.

The Uruguay forward has been banned for eight games and fined £40,000 by the FA for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield on 15 October.

The striker started the game - the suspension does not start until the appeal process is over - and was cheered and jeered in equal measure by the rival sets of supporters.

PENALTY PROBLEMS

Liverpool have missed four penalties this season

And while Liverpool dominated in the opening half hour, Suarez was not the chief threat as he struggled to get into his stride.

It mattered very little while his team-mates were in such free-flowing form, with Al-Habsi making good saves from Jordan Henderson, Martin Skrtel, Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson before the home side finally broke into life.

While Wigan's slick passing game was getting them into trouble at the back, they were exciting in the final third and Roberto Martinez's side almost scored two goal-of-the-season contenders.

First, Mohamed Diame cracked a shot into the side-netting from 40 yards out and then Victor Moses embarked on an amazing run from his own half which only ended when his swerving shot was beaten clear by Jose Reina.

Suarez was brighter in the second half and had a free-kick tipped over the bar by Al-Habsi.

Martinez delighted with Wigan display

And he won a penalty in the 50th minute when his overhead effort was blocked by the hand of Caldwell.

Adam stepped up, but his spot-kick was spectacularly saved by Al-Habsi.

That appeared to knock the stuffing out of the visitors, who struggled to regroup.

However, they should have gone into the lead when Kuyt hooked over from just six yards out.

Wigan did enjoy good chances of their own, most notably when Rodallega's header was deflected behind by Johnson before Moses stabbed wide from the resulting corner.

But the points were destined to be shared, meaning it is now three games unbeaten for the ever-improving Latics, while Liverpool may live to rue two dropped points in the race for European qualification.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez:

"It's not about the result, it's once more about the performance.

"We spoke about carrying on from Saturday. After the first 20 minutes, when we invited pressure by giving the ball away, we opened the game up and had some really good chances.

"We played eye-to-eye and it would have been a disaster to lose that game.

"It's another step forward."

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish:

"We're not out there to miss them (penalties)," he said.

"We're getting them, but you'd much rather be putting them away.

"In the second half we had most of the possession. We'll keep getting in there and see what happens.

"You feel for the players not taking opportunities, because we work really hard for them."

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