Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Sat 21 Jan 12 at 20:42 PM

Report: Bolton 3 Liverpool 1

Wanderers climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone picking up three vital points against Liverpool in front of a capacity crowd at the Reebok Stadium, turning in a swashbuckling performance in front of the ESPN cameras.

Mark Davies was the star of what was a thoroughly entertaining show, getting the ball rolling inside three minutes with his second goal of the season before skipper Nigel Reo-Coker doubled the advantage with a well-taken effort after some fine work from Chris Eagles.

Craig Bellamy, Liverpool's most threatening player all evening, reduced arrears but after the break Gretar Steinsson restored Bolton's lead and ultimately sealed three points, volleying home a third on the 50 minute mark.

Bolton 3 Liverpool 1

Having successfully come through the FA Cup third round replay against Macclesfield in midweek, Coyle reverted to the same starting XI that had previously taken to the field in the last league outing against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

As a result it was back to an attack-minded 4-5-1 formation, with David Ngog spearheading a three pronged attack against his former club. Adam Bogdan continued between the posts with Jussi Jaaskelainen still sidelined whilst Reo-Coker donned the captain's armband in the engine room.

Whilst the game was the day's late kick-off, Wanderers were anything but slow out of the traps. With just three minutes on the clock Mark Davies assumed possession 35 yards from goal before galloping forward into a pocket of space between the two Liverpool defenders. The midfielder looked up, before prodding a left-footed effort from just inside the area beyond the despairing dive of Pepe Reina.

That set the tone for the next 20 or so minutes, as Wanderers' hunger and endeavour seemed to unsettle Kenny Dalglish's men.

Eagles barged Jose Enrique off the ball before skipping away from the Spaniard down the byline. With little on, the Wanderers right sider opted to fire a dangerous effort goalwards the fizzed across the face of the goal and narrowly wide.

Liverpool had a penalty appeal turned down when the ball seemingly struck Zat Knight's hand after Andy Carroll had made a nuisance of himself at a set piece.

And whilst the hosts were still clearly disgruntled at referee Kevin Friend's decision not to point to the spot, Wanderers poured forward and suddenly had the ball in the net for a second time.

Eagles was again chief trouble causer, this time assuming possession down the right before skipping around a couple of tackles. With plenty of options from which to choose, the former Burnley man clipped a delicate ball in a tight area onto which Reo-Coker latched. He took one touch to bring it under his spell before guiding an effort beyond Reina from six yards out.

Liverpool looked somewhat shell-shocked, but were always a threat on the counter, particularly with Bellamy's pace in behind.

David Wheater's last ditch lunge prevented Liverpool's Welsh frontman from a clean shot on goal, but it only proved a temporary restbite at the hosts halved the deficit.

And it was all too simple for Dalglish's men. Reina's long goal kick was flicked on by Carroll and with the ball bouncing in behind the Wanderers defence, the effervescent Bellamy turned on the afterburners to race away from Zat Knight and Wheater. Clean through on goal, Bellamy kept his cool to finish beyond Bogdan.

With half time rapidly approaching, Liverpool had their tails up following Bellamy's goal. Skipper Steven Gerrard found space in the left channel before stinging the palms of Bogdan.

The interval was seemingly set to come at a good time, with the visitors looking more and more threatening. Though before Kevin Friend brought the opening 45 to an end there was still time for Petrov's free-kick to force a top drawer save from Reina from a 25 yard free-kick.

Wanderers began the second half in the exact same manner they had the first, on the frontfoot. With Fabrice Muamba and Reo-Coker snapping at the heels of their opponents, the likes of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Gerrard cast frustrated figures when dispossessed.

And that lively start from Coyle's charges paid dividends in way of a third goal.

The Liverpool rearguard failed to clear Petrov's outswinging corner kick, with Wheater diverting the ball back into the danger zone before Steinsson, in yards of space, hit a first time volley into the far corner of the net.

It was no more than Wanderers deserved, and one sensed there was more around the corner. Liverpool lacked ideas going forward and were restricted to efforts from distance. Bogdan held efforts from Adam and Gerrard as Liverpool grew more and more frustrated.

Knight then cleared Bellamy's cross over his own crossbar with substitute Dirk Kuyt almost certain to convert at the back post before defender Daniel Agger saw a rasping drive from 35 yards clip Bogdan's crossbar.

But that was as close as the visitors came to reducing the deficit once more.

Eagles saw an effort fizz narrowly wide via a deflection off Martin Skrtel, before minutes later the referee's whistle brought to an end a thoroughly satisfying afternoon for Wanderers.

Next up in what is the third in a run of four consecutive home games, Swansea City in the FA Cup.

Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Wheater, Knight, Ricketts, Eagles (Tuncay 90), Reo-Coker, Muamba, M Davies, Petrov, Ngog (K Davies 88) (Unused substitutes: Lynch, Pratley, Boyata, O'Halloran, Riley)

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Gerrard, Carroll, Rodriguez (Downing 64), Henderson, Adam (Kuyt 64), Skrtel, Bellamy (Unused substitutes: Doni, Coates, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly)

    Latest Match Reports