After The Match 


Bolton-Liverpool 2-2 (1-0)        02.01.05                             PL
Goals: Gerrard (67 pen), Garcia (82)         Jaidi (10), Diouf (71)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Gerrard, Kewell, Hamann, Sissoko, Pongolle, Crouch
Subs: Garcia (Pongolle 62), Alonso (Hamann 65),
Cisse (Sissoko 84)
Not used: Carson, Riise
Yellow: Crouch (41), Carragher (42), Sissoko (58)
Faye (38), Nolan (48)
Red: None
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 27,604
Shots on target: 5-6
Shots off target: 5-8
Possession: 37.5-62.5
Fouls conceded: 17-15
Corners: 3-5
Yellow: 2-3



a mistake for the first goal..."
     Rafael Benitez

0401: Bolton point showed real character
0301: Diouf adds to Gerrard controversy
0301: Benitez: There's more to come from Kewell
0301: Benitez: Tired legs finally cost us
0301: Garcia happy with point
0301: Nolan backs Gerrard over claims
0201: Big Sam blasts Reds
0201: Benitez disappointed with draw
0201: Reds' run ends with draw

Bolton point showed real character

By Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool were disappointed to draw with Bolton on Monday, but I was encouraged by the manner they achieved it.

When you've come from behind twice in a game, it shows how much character you've got in your side.

Liverpool are the kind of team which tends to win when they score first, so it answers a different question when they concede the opening goal.

The way Rafa Benitez's side responded proved there is an improvement to the heart of the team, as well as the skill levels.

I've seen too many Liverpool games in the last two years when I knew the team didn't have the capacity to fight back when they went behind.

Now, they're battling for every ball.

To claim ten points from a possible 12 is an excellent return over Christmas, and I fancy Liverpool to finish second in 2006. Unfortunately, the gap to Chelsea looks too much.

I'm also pleased to see Harry Kewell rediscovering his form.

There was a time when only Benitez seemed to believe in Harry, but he's winning over the supporters again.

He's had to repay the manager's faith, and the only way he could do that was by getting his head down and working hard.

Liverpool fans aren't daft. They judge you as much by what you do without the ball as much as with it, which is why they took to Peter Crouch so quickly and have now started chanting Kewell's name again.

If you put in the effort, you get the rewards.

Diouf adds to Gerrard controversy

Sporting Life

El-Hadji Diouf has taunted Jamie Carragher as the war of words between Bolton and Liverpool continued.

The former Anfield misfit accused Carragher of trying to wind him up and said his goal was the perfect response.

Diouf's comments come in the wake of team-mate Kevin Nolan absolving Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard of blame for stamping on his chest during a fiery 2-2 draw at the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce was outraged and claimed the England midfielder should have been dismissed.

Diouf was also unhappy at the way Liverpool went about the game, especially in Carragher's case.

"Sometimes people don't like me on the pitch but I am a bad loser and I want to win every time," the Bolton striker told the Trotters' official website.

"The Liverpool match was a big game because we needed to react after Sunderland and Manchester United.

"I have a big character and I don't like it when someone is talking at me.

"I told Carragher to wait because I'm going to score and that's what I did."

Benitez: There's more
to come from Kewell

By Ian Doyle - Daily Post Staff

Rafael Benitez has under-lined the importance of Harry Kewell to Liverpool as he challenged the Australian to continue his improvement in form.

The 27-year-old produced a man-of-the-match performance as the European Champions recorded their 10th successive Premiership victory with a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Kewell created the 52nd-minute winner for Peter Crouch and could have been on the scoresheet himself if it were not for an outstanding display from visiting goal-keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

It was Kewell's sixth start in Liverpool's last eight games and Benitez believes the Australian is showing signs of forging an under-standing with his team-mates and realising a potential that has largely failed to be realised since his 5million move from Leeds United in 2003.

"For us it is really important to have Harry," said the Anfield manager. "We were talking about the need for quality in the wider areas and Harry brings that. He can shoot and score goals.

"He has had injuries and problems and we were disappointed. But we supported him and give him confidence and he has given to us crosses, dribbles and a lot of things.

"It is good now to see him working hard. The supporters are clever. They recognise that he is working hard and trying to do his best.

That is important. We need to see him playing at this level all the time now.

"But I would like to see him playing better. We need to know him and understand him and what he wants.

"Sometimes we didn't give him the ball when he was in a good position. He did a good job but he can do even better."

There was a consensus Kewell's career at Anfield was coming to a close after he was booed by a section supporters when limping off with a groin injury during the Champions League final with AC Milan in May. It was the climax of a miserable first season for the Australian under Benitez, who openly questioned his fitness and criticised Kewell's agent Bernie Mandic for comments on Liverpool's treatment of the player.

But while Benitez admits to frustration with Kewell, he believes the winger's increased focus on his game has led to a marked improvement.

"I have said many times that the first time I ever saw Harry play was for Leeds against Manchester United and a fit Jaap Stam a few years ago," added Benitez.. "He played really and I thought then that as a manager he is the kind of player I would like to sign.

"Sometimes you don't know how difficult it is for a player. Sometimes if he is injured but wants to play then he cannot play at 100%, he tries and sometimes it is difficult to believe (how badly he is injured) because you never know. I think sometimes he had bad advisors around him but now he is focused on the game and that is best thing for him and us.

"I had confidence in him, I had problems sometimes when people around him were talking, but I talked with him and the Australian manager. I have confidence in him because he is working hard.

"It is difficult for a player sometimes. You decide to use him in two finals and then he needs to go because he is injured and people talk. It is difficult for a player to carry on when he is injured."

"We are trying to use Harry and protect him also," said Benitez. "Every week you can see him progressing. Sometimes he needs to play 90 minutes, but at this time when there are lots of goals we need to use him little by little. He was playing well, but I decided to rest him with the next game in mind."

Benitez: Tired legs finally cost us

By Paul Chapple - Daily Post Correspondent

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admitted the demanding festive programme may have finally caught up with his players after seeing his side's 10-game winning run come to an end in a 2-2 draw at Bolton.

Liverpool showed plenty of spirit in twice fighting back at the Reebok Stadium, with goals from Steven Gerrard and substitute Luis Garcia salvaging a deserved point, but Benitez conceded that four games in eight days on the back of the trip to Japan for the Club World Championship may have taken its toll.

He said: "We had some players tired and we tried some fresh legs. We tried to change the position of players, we tried to play long, short and wide but it was difficult because a team like Bolton like to stop the game. This kind of game is very difficult."

Benitez, who made four changes to the side that had beaten West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in an attempt to freshen things up, felt his side created enough chances to have won.

He said: "I am very disappointed. We had done a lot of good things to win. We created a lot of chances but Bolton made it very difficult to play the type of game I like.

"You cannot always play the type of football you want.

"We showed strong character to come back from 2-1. We played really well and created a lot of chances."

Benitez felt his side had been harshly treated by referee Mark Clattenburg.

He said: "Peter Crouch tried to jump but he couldn't. It was impossible for him. There were a lot of free-kicks against us. Why? But we showed strong character in the second half when we were playing well, but losing."

Benitez was happy with the impact of his substitutes, Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia, who combined to score the second equal-iser. He said: "When we conceded the second goal we changed things. We swapped the energy of Sissoko for the quality of Alonso and we started controlling the game."

Garcia happy with point

By Paul Higham - Sky Sports

Luis Garcia says the Liverpool squad were disappointed not to record an 11th Premiership win on the bounce at Bolton, but welcomed a hard-fought point after twice going behind.

Garcia grabbed a late leveller for The Reds as they twice came from behind to earn a point from a tough game at The Reebok, but it meant the end of their long winning streak.

The Spanish forward says that they were happy with a draw after being forced to battle all the way by Bolton.

"It was difficult for us at the end because we were trying to find a way to score a goal," said Garcia, who came off the bench to score Liverpool's second.

"It was hard because we found a goal but then conceded another one but we did well in the end to get a goal back.

"I had the opponent just in front of me so I tried to shoot as soon as I could and luckily it went in.

"We knew Bolton would be a tough opponent. They try to play long balls and win the second ball to keep us back in our half of the pitch, and it's very difficult to play against that.

"I think we are happy because we know it's very difficult to win here, the pitch is hard to play on and we knew it would be tough.

"It was a really tough game but at the end it was probably a good result.

"We don't like to talk about records but when you try to break them you want to beat them as they were set by the best Liverpool teams of the past.

"But the most important thing is that we keep improving and keep playing as we would like."

Nolan backs Gerrard over claims

BBC Sport Online

Kevin Nolan has backed Steven Gerrard's claim that a stamp on the Bolton midfielder was unintentional.

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce suggested that Liverpool's Gerrard deliberately stamped on Nolan in the 2-2 draw at the Reebok Stadium on Monday.

However, Nolan said: "I do not think it was intentional."

Gerrard insisted: "It was a complete accident. I am mates with Kevin Nolan so why would I ever try to deliberately hurt him?"

Nolan had stud marks on his chest after the 30th-minute incident but maintains Gerrard was blameless.

He added: "I have seen the incident and it was just one of those things.

"I was disappointed and wanted to have a look at it but I didn't see much wrong with it.

"I would not want anything to happen to him now because it was an accident."

Gerrard said he spoke to Nolan after the game and was shocked Allardyce reacted the way he did.

He said: "I'm very surprised he is trying to make an issue of it.

"We spoke at the end of the match. I wished him all the best for the rest of the season and the tackle wasn't even mentioned."

Big Sam blasts Reds

By Paul Higham - Sky Sports

Sam Allardyce says that both Steven Gerrard and Mohamed Sissoko were guilty of stamping on Bolton players during Liverpool's 2-2 draw at The Reebok.

The Reds had to twice come from behind to claim a point at Bolton in a tough encounter that saw their winning streak finally come to an end.

Rafa Benitez was not happy with Bolton's strong-arm tactics, nor the diving of El Hadji Diouf, but Allardyce believes it was The Reds who overstepped the mark.

Allardyce said Sissoko stamped on Diouf, while insisting that Gerrard's studs landing on Kevin Nolan's chest was a deliberate move by the Liverpool skipper.

"I'm very disappointed because there were three major incidents that have been missed in our opinion," said Allardyce, who also believes that Bolton should have had a penalty.

"While we're pleased with the performance we feel we've been on the wrong end of some decisions today and maybe it's cost us two points.

"Firstly Kevin Nolan was brought down by Jamie Carragher with referee Mark Clattenburg waving play on, but he gave Steven Gerrard a penalty which was just as clear as Nolan's.

"There were two nasty incidents here today too. People talk about us being tough but we don't go over the top, but here Gerrard stamped on Nolan and Sissoko stamped on Dioufy and that's clear to see.

"He (Gerrard) has a look to see where he is before he did it so it's clear.

"From our point of view the officials have been disappointing today as they've missed these incidents and have not dealt with them.

"That's the most disappointing thing because we would have won the game had the referee dealt with Gerrard and Sissoko properly."

Allardyce admitted that he was happy to have held off Liverpool in the end as they strived to get a late winner.

"To be fair Liverpool upped the tempo in the second half and it took some desperate defending by us at the end to hang on to a point.

"That's why the second goal for us came at just the right time as Liverpool were looking like they would go on and win it.

"But it's a good point for us and it shows our improvement to hold a team that are so high up in the league and going well."

Benitez disappointed with draw

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez admitted he was very disappointed with the 2-2 draw at Bolton Wanderers and felt Liverpool deserved to win the game.

Benitez said it was difficult at times to play against Bolton but felt his team played very well in the second half and showed great character to twice come back from a goal down.

"I am very disappointed because we did a lot of things to win the match and we deserved to win," said Benitez.

"Bolton are very difficult to play against and they had a lot of free-kicks and throw-ins and you can't play the football you want to play. I like to play football as well as possible and in the second half we were very good and had a strong character to come from behind.

"We made a mistake for the first goal but we did well in the second half. We had some players tired and I tried to use fresh legs but I put on Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso and they did well for the equaliser. I am very disappointed though we didn't win the game."

Reds' run ends with draw

By Paul Higham - Sky Sports

Liverpool's long winning run came to an end as they were held to a hard-fought 2-2 draw by Bolton at The Reebok Stadium.

Rafa Benitez has built his side's recent success on a rock-solid defence but they gave away a comical opening goal to Radhi Jaidi after just ten minutes.

An out-of-sorts Liverpool battled back to draw level on 67 minutes with Steven Gerrard's penalty, but were soon behind again when old boy El-Hadji Diouf bundled in a second for Bolton just four minutes later.

Substitute Luis Garcia popped up to earn a point for the visitors eight minutes from time but they could not force a winner and had to settle for a point after a tough encounter.

The game started in scrappy fashion with numerous free kicks preventing both teams from getting into any sort of rhythm.

Liverpool's defence has been the key to their recent good run but it was hapless as Bolton drew first blood after just ten minutes through some farcical defending.

A rather generous free kick award from Mark Clattenburg should have come to nothing as Stelios' free kick floated into Jose Reina's arms, only for the Spaniard to somehow fail to gather the ball.

His spill was made worse as Sami Hyypia then prevented him from gathering at the second attempt and the ball popped up for Jaidi to gleefully nod into the empty net for 1-0.

The niggly free kicks continued to spoil the game and Liverpool had to wait 24 minutes for a meaningful attack, when Harry Kewell's header found Steven Gerrard at the edge of the box, but his stinging volley was blocked by Ricardo Gardner.

Dietmar Hamann went closer a minute later when his low drive was superbly turned round the post by a sprawling Jussi Jaaskelainen save.

Djimi Traore nearly capped a return to the side with a goal when he fired in a stinging 25-yarder that a surprised Jasskelainen had to beat away.

Liverpool slowly started to get back into the game in the second half, although it took until the 65th minute before they went close to scoring as Gerrard twisted and turned at the edge of the box before firing just wide.

Kewell set Gerrard away two minutes later with a good into the left channel, and the skipper powered into the box until he was brought down by Joey O'Brien for a clear penalty.

Gerrard picked himself up to take the spot kick and slotted it coolly into the bottom corner of Jaaskelainen's goal.

After showing little in the second half, Bolton regained the lead on 71 minutes when Kevin Davies broke free down the left and his cross was luckily bundled in by Diouf after it rebounded off Reina.

The goal came largely against the run of play and Liverpool pressed again for a second equaliser, which came eight minutes from time courtesy of substitute Luis Garcia.

Xabi Alonso chipped the ball in to his fellow Spaniard and substitute, who chested the ball down past Gardner before drilling a left-footed shot past Jaaskelainen for 2-2.

Liverpool went close to winning the game when Djibril Cisse's header whizzed inches wide of the post in the dying minutes, but The Reds had to settle for a hard-fought point after their winning streak finally came to an end.

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Thor Zakariassen