After The Match 


LIVERPOOL-BOLTON 2-3 (0-1)                       Wed Dec 3.         League Cup
Goals: Muphy (66), Smicer (88) Jardel (4), Okocha (79),
Djorkaeff (90 pen)
Team: Dudek, Riise, Biscan, Traore, Otsemobor, Diouf, Murphy (c), Diao, Smicer, Le Tallec, Heskey
Subs: Kewell (Diouf 59), Pongolle (Le Tallec 59),
Gerrard (Traore 67)
Not used: Kirkland, Cheyrou
Yellow: None
Red: None
Referee: Mike Riley (W. Yorkshire)
Attendance: 33.185

                                                             FIXTURES & RESULTS 
On target:
Off target:





"We just did not
deserve to go
through after
a performance
like that."

                 Gerard Houllier

0412: Houllier gambles backfires
0312: Houllier is "very, very angry"
0312: Liverpool fall to Djorkaeff penalty


Houllier gambles backfires

By Paul Walker - PA Sport

The desperate need to salvage Champions League qualification from a distressing Barclaycard Premiership campaign forced Gerard Houllier to dig deep into Anfield's reserves, only to discover they were not good enough.

The fumbling exit from the Carling Cup at home to an emerging, impressive Bolton revealed more than just a shoddy performance that rightly enraged the Liverpool boss, not known for public castigation of his players.

It showed that Saturday's Premiership crunch match at Newcastle is so important to him.

It transcended the defence of a trophy that Liverpool used last season to salvage some pride from.

Houllier accused his players of "letting the club and the fans down" in the 3-2 defeat.

Damning words that will haunt more than a few when their futures are eventually discussed.

Houllier, already without Michael Owen, Milan Baros, Jamie Carragher, Steve Finnan and Stephane Henchoz, found himself forced to gamble with his side for the fourth round tie they lost to a last minute penalty.

So vital are league points now that Houllier - in a demanding run of five games in 15 days - opted to rest Sami Hyypia and Dietmar Hamann and leave Steven Gerrard, Harry Kewell, Chris Kirkland and Florent Sinama-Pongolle on the bench.

That, effectively, is a complete first team on the sidelines. And those decisions, made with the Premiership rightly as the priority, left Houllier with only the bit-part players. And they are not good enough.

Against Bolton, Liverpool had too many of the most-criticised Houllier signings all in the mix together, and they were found wanting.

The Liverpool boss raged afterwards, and will criticise his players in private before the squad set off for their Saturday showdown with the Magpies.

Houllier even used 20-year-old reserve Jon Otsemobor, the one success of the night with a determined, eye-catching display at right-back, as a stick to beat his seniors with.

Houllier said: "Jon did okay. He worked hard. He has not played much for us but he performed particularly well.

"I wish some of the other players had performed as well as he did."

Those words will not go unnoticed by the likes of Salif Diao - responsible for conceding a free-kick and the late penalty that cost Liverpool two goals - Jerzy Dudek, Djimi Traore, Igor Biscan and El-Hadji Diouf.

Dudek could be blamed for two goals and Traore one. Diouf spluttered and finally disappeared on the hour.

Houllier is not under any real pressure for losing a cup tie in a competition that is way down the list of priorities for most Premiership clubs, but he will be if they lose at Newcastle.

Because he is in such a position now that match-to-match, Liverpool's season is on a knife edge. Win and everything is fine, lose and it is a crisis.

Houllier this week defended David Moyes across Stanley Park at Everton.

Houllier said: "One day you are a hero, the next a zero."

He could just as easily have applied those words to his own predicament.

Only on the night he decided to dump goalkeeper Sander Westerveld, when Bolton were also the opponents, has Houllier looked and sounded so angry in public. You now have to fear the same fate for Dudek.

After last night's defeat Houllier raged: "We have to blame ourselves because it was a poor performance and I am angry with some of the players.

"I did not like the passing or the absence of efficiency of some players.

"We have got a squad, we have other players. Several who came in did not play at the weekend.

"Other teams have been able to field different players and still go through."

There are, of course, deeper problems. Whereas Arsenal can find home-grown youth to field on such occasions, Liverpool struggle.

Their under-19s have been beaten in the FA Youth Cup by Gillingham and have won just two of 13 games this season.

The reserves are struggling with six wins from 13, and there seem very few youngsters knocking on the door for chances.

Richie Partridge, the most promising of those, is in America having knee surgery, while John Welsh is with the England Under-20s. Both would have played against Bolton along with Otsemobor.

So Houllier turned to his senior fringe players, and it did not work.

Houllier is "very, very angry"

Football 365

A fuming Gerard Houllier lashed his Liverpool team after they were dumped out of the Carling Cup by Bolton.

The holders went down 3-2 at Anfield, twice fighting back from behind only to concede a late penalty and see Sam Allardyce's side claim their place in the quarter-finals.

But boss Houllier did not spare his men after they had lost their hold on the trophy they won against Manchester United in Cardiff last season.

Houllier said: "I am very, very angry. And they will certainly know all about it when they report for training.''

Houllier refused to single out players for his wrath in public, but pointedly said: "There were players who had come into the side who were fresh, but they did not take their opportunity and were below par.

"We just did not deserve to go through after a performance like that. I was extremely disappointed in my players, we do not have any excuses because we missed too many chances and made too many mistakes.

"Credit to them, they took their chances but we have to blame ourselves after that and make sure we redeem ourselves against Newcastle on Saturday.''

For Bolton boss Allardyce it was a tremendous victory and with a home quarter-final draw next against Southampton, they can start dreaming of a final date in Cardiff.

Allardyce, tough, was not too keen to start thinking about finals.

He said: "Let's not start all that talk, there is a long way to go yet.

"But this is a marvellous result for the club. We have beaten the holders on their own pitch. We hung on when they had so much pressure, and we fought our way through it.

"Their pressure was severe and we had some luck, but we defended superbly. Things went on there that would not have happened in the Premier League, but neither side wanted extra time and we were both just going for it at the end.

"I made seven changes, but it was still a very experienced side and they proved me right. Sometimes I have had plenty of stick for fielding a weakened side in this competition, but this time it worked for me.''

Liverpool fall to Djorkaeff penalty


Youri Djorkaeff's stoppage-time penalty sent Liverpool crashing out of the Carling Cup as they lost 3-2 to Bolton.

Vladimir Smicer looked to have rescued the holders when he made it 2-2 in the 88th minute.

But Djorkaeff made no mistake from the spot to send put Bolton into the quarter-finals.

Jay-Jay Okocha had given Bolton a 2-1 lead in the 79th minute, restoring the Trotters' lead after Danny Murphy levelled for the Reds after 66 minutes.

Mario Jardel had struck early to give Bolton a 1-0 half-time lead. He exposed a hesitant Reds defence to head home at Anfield.

Gerard Houllier and Sam Allardyce both made changes as they looked to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Liverpool boss Houllier made six changes to the side which beat Birmingham on Sunday while Allardyce brought in seven new faces to his Bolton side.

Murphy - made captain for the night - Jerzy Dudek, Vladimir Smicer, John Arne Riise, Anthony Le Tallec and youngster Jon Otsemobor were brought into the Liverpool line-up.

Bruno Cheyrou, returning from injury, was handed a place on the holders' bench alongside Steven Gerrard, Harry Kewell and Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

Bolton called in Kevin Poole, Anthony Barness, Henrik Pedersen, Ricardo Gardner, Jardel, Ibrahim Ba and Emerson Thome, leaving only four of the side that beat Everton on Saturday.

On paper, Bolton's reshuffle looked a lot stronger than Liverpool's with the likes of Okocha, Ivan Campo, Youri Djorkaeff and Jardel in the side.

And on four minutes they went ahead when Jardel, unmarked, headed home Djorkaeff's left-wing corner for his third goal for the club on only his third appearance in the starting line-up.

Liverpool's response was a 35-yard free-kick from Riise that Poole spilled but Smicer could only lift over the bar from close range.

A minute later Smicer's cross from the right was clipped inches over the bar by Emile Heskey.

Le Tallec was finding it tough going against Thome up front, but he won a free-kick on the edge of the box after 25 minutes, and Riise saw another fierce drive flash over.

Liverpool's first serious attack came on 25 minutes when Otsemobor raced away down the right and found Smicer, whose ball across the box was met by Le Tallec with a right-foot shot that Thome blocked in the six yard box.

Another foul on Le Tallec presented Murphy with the chance to curl a 25-yard free kick just over the top on the half hour.

Dudek then managed to mishandle a speculative 40-yard low drive on the run by Okocha, the ball spinning off his hands for a corner, and he somehow managed to hurt his left leg in the embarrassing incident.

Bolton had been happy to defend and break, and on 43 minutes Barness' run down the right created a chance for Pedersen but he headed just wide.

Campo saw an effort from the edge of the penalty area blocked two minutes into the second half, with Liverpool's attempts to get back on terms still looking punchless.

Murphy's run at the heart of Bolton's defence created acres of space for El-Hadji Diouf. But his first touch was poor, and the chance was lost.

Then Heskey got in a shot after a right-wing cross, and Campo rose to head away from an empty net.

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Thor Zakariassen