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Match Report


Posted Sat 29 Aug 09 at 17:40 PM

Report: Bolton 2 Liverpool 3

Liverpool claimed a 3-2 victory in a frantic clash at the Reebok Stadium.

Kevin Davies' close-range tap-in had given Gary Megson's side the advantage before Glen Johnson's long-range daisy cutter five minutes before half-time brought the sides level.

Only two minutes after the break and Tamir Cohen fired Bolton into a 2-1 lead, but Fernando Torres levelled on 53 minutes after Sean Davis had been sent-off for two bookings.

Steven Gerrard struck the winner for Liverpool with a volley from the edge of the penalty area with just seven minutes remaining.

With Mark Davies unable to shake off a slight hamstring complaint, Tamir Cohen was handed his first start of the season. Jlloyd Samuel had impressed on his return to the team against Tranmere in midweek and so Gary Megson kept faith with the defensive unit that performed admirably at Prenton Park.

The first chance of the game fell to the in-form Fernando Torres. Glen Johnson had ambled forward from right-back, stood a cross up to the far post and the Spaniard could only nod the ball over the bar following pressure from Sam Ricketts.

Ten minutes later and Torres failed to capitalise on an even better chance, again with his head. A flowing Liverpool move resulted in the ball at the feet of Glenn Johnson, and having cut inside from the right touchline, the England full-back played in a threatening cross which Torres could only glance wide having been left unmarked.

Indeed, everything that Liverpool were carving out in the first 15 minutes was falling the Spaniard's way. A long ball over the top from debutant Kyrgiakos was excellently controlled by Torres, but Jussi Jaaskelainen raced from goal to pounce on the danger.

After weathering a fast start by Liverpool, Wanderers began to enjoy more possession as the half progressed. Matt Taylor delivered a fine cross that Kyrgiakos headed away from the waiting Johan Elmander, but clear cut opportunities were proving hard to come by against a defence well marshalled by Jamie Carragher.

However the determination and desire was certainly there by the Whites and the pressing tactics whenever Liverpool had the ball forced the visitors into a couple of mistakes, most notably when Sean Davis tried to pick out the unmarked Matt Taylor, but the pass from the former Fulham man had slightly too much weight.

Taylor did though play get the chance to cross when presented with a free-kick 40 yards from goal, a set-piece which caused Torres to plant a defensive header onto the roof of his own net.

From the resulting corner, Bolton did take the lead on 32 minutes. Taylor again played the perfect delivery into a packed penalty area, Elmander headed it back across goal and after Zat Knight failed to make contact, the skipper was perfectly placed to poke home from a couple of yards out.

Liverpool's response to going a goal behind was to immediately go in search of an equaliser, and twice that nearly happened through Torres. Firstly he dragged an attempt wide of the far post and then Zat Knight made a crucial last-ditch challenge inside his own box to prevent the number nine from advancing into a one-on-one position with Jaaskelainen

Johnson did restore parity five minutes before the break. A Liverpool corner was half-cleared by Bolton, and when the ball landed at the feet of the full-back 30 yards from goal, he took a touch before drilling a low, skidding shot into the back of the net with his left foot.

Before the half was out, there was still time for Tamir Cohen to curl a 25 -yard shot over the bar and for Matt Taylor to force a superb diving save out of Reina from a brilliantly taken free-kick.

Last season, Tamir Cohen marked his return to Wanderers' starting line-up with a goal against Aston Villa, and history repeated itself when the midfielder put Bolton 2-1 up in his first appearance of the 2009/10 campaign two minutes into the second half.

Kevin Davies towered brilliantly to win a flicked header inside the Liverpool box and it fell perfectly for Cohen who gave Reina no chance with a powerful left-footed shot. It was the second time in the Israel international's career that he had scored against Liverpool at the Reebok, following on from his strike in March 2008.

Again Wanderers' lead was short lived as Fernando Torres equalised just after Bolton had been reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Sean Davis. The midfielder had been booked in stoppage time at the end of the first half and was subsequently shown his second yellow card of the afternoon for a foul on Lucas inside Bolton's own half.

Torres' strike was not too dissimilar to Wanderers' second, with Kuyt winning the initial long-ball into the penalty area and guiding it into the path of the striker. The finish from ten yards out left Jaaskelainen with no chance.

A tactical reshuffle was needed by Bolton, so Gary Megson brought Chris Basham into the fray at the expense of Johan Elmander.

As expected, Liverpool tried to use their one-man advantage but they found Bolton's rearguard especially tough to breach. When Dirk Kuyt did find an inch of space, he could only lash wide from a tight angle.

Rafa Benitez signalled his intent by introducing an extra striker, Andriy Voronin, but there were still opportunities available for Bolton. One fell to Fabrice Muamba, but his shot lacked accuracy and was well off target.

With just seven minutes left, Steven Gerrard put his team ahead for the first time in contest with a well-taken volley from the edge of the area. The England international's first-time effort was the seventh time he had scored against Bolton in his Liverpool career.

Liverpool were denied from claiming their fourth goal when Jaaskelainen denied both Torres and Benayoun with spectacular saves, the former being a superb goal line block following a swift counter attack.

Riga was brought on as the game entered its final stages but despite the four minutes of stoppage time, Bolton were unable to conjure up an equalising goal.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Samuel, Knight, Cahill, Ricketts, Davis, Muamba, Taylor, Cohen (Steinsson 77), Kevin Davies, Elmander (Basham 58) (Subs not used: Al Habsi, O'Brien, Riga, Chung-Yong, Robinson)

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Gerrard, Torres, Riera (Benayoun 63), Kyrgiakos, Kuyt, Mascherano (Voronin 73), Lucas, Insua, Carragher (Subs not used: Plessis, Kelly, Skrtel, Dossena, Gulacsi)

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