Gerrard celebrating with Torres after 2-0 goal.
(Photo: Getty Images)
offers no guarantees
By Chris Burton - Sky Sports
Rafa Benitez has warned his Liverpool
squad that no-one is assured of a place in his side.
The Spaniard is renowned for his rotation policy, but
appears to have curbed that habit of late.
With that in mind, he insists that he will resist the
temptation to make sweeping changes to a successful side.
That means no place at present for talismanic striker
Fernando Torres, who has only recently returned from injury.
Last season's top scorer was left on the bench for the Reds'
2-0 win at Bolton on Saturday, only joining the action as a
59th minute substitute.
Benitez believes no player should ever take their place for
granted, and insists he will not be altering his stance in
"The players have to compete for their positions in the
side, be it Torres or anyone else," he said.
"Torres has to improve, if he does and he is fit then I will
decide what to do, although I expect to be criticised.
"I did not have to explain to Fernando why he was not
playing, it was very clear. The team had been playing well
and he has to compete for his position.
"He played well when he came on, but then other players who
come on as substitute also did well, not just him.
"That is the key if you want to have a winning mentality and
a winning squad."
Meanwhile, Benitez also aired his frustration at the fact
that Torres has now joined up with the Spain squad ahead of
their friendly against Chile on Wednesday, despite lacking
"Torres will join up with Spain. I am not happy, but I
cannot do anything about it. We are talking to international
managers and asking them to protect our players," he added.
"We have asked that the Spanish set-up does not take any
chances, that they protect the player."
keen for more action
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Sami Hyypia admitted he thoroughly enjoyed
playing the full 90 minutes against Bolton on Saturday and
insists he will give his all for the team in their quest for
major honours this season.
The Finland international made only his third Barclays
Premier League start of the season at the Reebok Stadium as
the Reds enjoyed a 2-0 win.
"It was nice to play and when we win it's a double
satisfaction for me," said Hyypia.
"That's what I'm here for to help the team. Every time the
manager puts me on the pitch I always try to do my best."
The Reds number four also felt it was important for Rafael
Benitez's men to bounce back to winning ways after the
midweek Carling Cup exit at Tottenham.
"We showed character to bounce back and win at Bolton but it
was a different team to the one that played on Wednesday,"
"In saying that the team we had out against Tottenham should
have done better. We let ourselves down.
"I think we did a good job against Bolton, although we can't
be happy with the second half performance because they made
it too difficult for us.
"It was important to get the second goal which gave us a
breather and we were more calm then and could have scored
more goals in the end.
"It's good to keep getting three points and putting the
pressure on the other teams.
"The most important thing is to look at our game and
concentrate on getting the next three points.
"We can't let our standards and work rate slip and we have
to give 100 per cent in every game."
Trotters fume over ref display
Referee Rob Styles was at the centre of
more controversy as Liverpool maintained their place as
title contenders with a 2-0 win at Bolton.
Styles, who was involved in a debatable penalty decision
against Wanderers at Manchester United earlier in the
season, this time upset them by disallowing what would have
been a crucial equaliser in the final seconds of the first
Styles penalised Kevin Nolan for a goalmouth incident
involving Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina before Gary Cahill
headed home a Gavin McCann corner.
Bolton players were furious and their fans vented their
frustration at the official as he left the pitch at the
Liverpool were ahead through a Dirk Kuyt header, the
Dutchman having also hit the crossbar in a first period that
the Anfield side dominated.
But Bolton felt that had Cahill's effort been allowed, they
could well have turned things around after the break.
As it was, Steven Gerrard sent a diving header past Jussi
Jaaskelainen after 73 minutes, and Liverpool had secured the
Styles has also upset Newcastle this season with a penalty
decision against Habib Beye in the 2-2 draw with Manchester
City. On that occasion, and after the Cristiano Ronaldo
penalty at Old Trafford, Styles has apologised and admitted
Bolton boss Gary Megson felt he was due another phone-call
after the Cahill effort was ruled out.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez praised Styles for protecting
his goalkeeper and insisted that goalkeepers have "priority"
in the six-yard box.
Megson was nonplussed, saying: "We saw the TV pictures
within a minute of it being disallowed and again at
half-time. But our thoughts are that we did not see a huge
"If anyone is going to find an infringement - although it
would have been harsh - it is that we should have had a
penalty when Reina pushed Nolan in the back.
"There is nothing else that happens. Kevin does not do
anything but stand his ground and there's nothing wrong with
that. Also there was nothing wrong with the act of scoring
from Gary Cahill.
"I wasn't surprised to see Rob Styles refereeing, it never
occurred to me. He gave a ridiculous decision against us at
Old Trafford, that was a mistake.
"We spoke on the phone on the Monday and we didn't make a
lot of it, regardless of the Respect campaign.
"Now there has been another one. We seem to be on the wrong
end of him making mistakes."
He added: "Have I heard of a rule that says goalkeepers have
priority in the six-yard box? I have to say that one has
passed me by.
"What is the priority, can you go and belt someone like
Nolan was? I'm sure there is a priority if someone is
fouled, but standing your ground like Kevin was is not a
"If Nolan shoves the goalkeeper it is a free-kick, so if the
goalkeeper does it then it should be the same punishment.
But I am not expecting a phone call (from the referee)."
Benitez had a different view.
He said: "The rules are very clear. They say that the
six-yard box is for the 'keeper, if you have three players
in front of him and he cannot go for the ball, then it is
simple, it is a free-kick.
"It is clear. Sometimes you see five or six attacking
players in the six-yard box, that is wrong. The rules say it
is for the 'keeper, he has priority.
"If he has three players blocking him and he cannot do
anything, he cannot go for the ball, it is a foul.
"The international rules are very clear. I always say the
same, the first time I came here (to the Reebok) I said the
"Three players around the 'keeper is a free-kick. If he
wants to go for the ball, he is being obstructed.
"Yes, those goals are given in England sometimes. But the
international rules are for everybody, the referees know the
rules, it has to be like this."
Kuyt: It was an important win
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Dirk Kuyt admitted it was important
Liverpool kept up their winning momentum in the Barclays
Premier League after their 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers
The Holland international scored a brilliant header at the
Reebok to make him Liverpool's joint leading scorer in the
Premier League this season alongside Fernando Torres. The
pair have five league goals apiece.
Despite Rafael Benitez's men losing top spot on goal
difference after Chelsea's win at West Bromwich Albion, the
Reds number 18 insists it is vital the Reds concentrate on
their own game and keep winning.
"It was really important to win today and we are really
happy with the result," said Kuyt.
"It's always tough to come to Bolton and beat them but we
did well. They worked really hard but I think we deserved to
"They gave it everything they had in the second half and
were a really physical team.
"They tried to play long balls, and even though we didn't
have as much possession in the second half than the first we
still had big chances and we are really happy with the 2-0
On his goal, Kuyt was quick to praise Fabio Aurelio for the
assist with a pinpoint cross from the left.
"It was a great cross from Fabio and it was a good goal," he
said. "Sometimes you need to be a bit lucky to score a goal
like this but the cross made it easy for me."
The joint top scorer has been something of an unsung hero
for the team this season having made big contributions on
the right hand side and as a central striker.
The player revealed he doesn't mind where he plays as long
as he can help the team in their quest for honours.
"It doesn't matter to me whether I play on the right or up
front," said Kuyt. "The most important thing is to be
involved and win the games and I think it's going well.
"For us we don't look further than the next game. We don't
look too much ahead because every game is difficult.
"We just have to keep focused and be ready for the next
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez insisted his
side were worthy winners at Bolton.
The Reds returned to the top of the Premier League, albeit
with Chelsea yet to play, after they secured a 2-0 win at
the Reebok Stadium.
Headed goals in either half from Dirk Kuyt and captain
Steven Gerrard were enough for Liverpool to seal the three
points, and Benitez was pleased with their display.
"I think the team had a lot of opportunities. In the first
half we had plenty of possession, in the second half there
was more long balls and second balls and they were more
physical, but it was just a question of scoring the second
goal and finishing the game," the Spaniard told Sky Sports.
Bolton tried to man-mark Gerrard with Fabrice Muamba, but
Benitez did not think that had much effect on his side.
"We knew they would be aware of Gerrard and maybe Alonso,
and yes it was man for man, but Gerrard was moving and
creating plenty of space for Mascherano and Alonso, and we
had plenty of possession," he said.
Bolton threatened to get back into the game at 1-0 and
Benitez concedes that was always a possibility while there
was just one goal in the match.
"We had two or three chances in the first half and also in
the second half," he said.
"And so it was always possible from a corner, free-kick or
long throws but as we said the second goal was crucial and
it could have been three or four in the end."
Benitez was pleased to bounce back after their Carling Cup
loss at Tottenham in midweek.
"Everybody knows we want to win every game, every
competition but the league is the priority and I think if we
stay top of the league the fans will be happy," he
full of confidence
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Xabi Alonso today admitted confidence is
oozing through the Liverpool team after an impressive 2-0
victory at Bolton saw the Reds climb back to the top of the
Premier League table.
Goals in each half from Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard secured
all three points, as the Reds bounced back from their
Carling Cup exit in midweek in perfect style.
With one third of the league season now completed, Alonso
admits the Reds are exactly where they want to be as they
look to sustain their title challenge.
"We respect all our opponents but we are confident at the
moment, we're playing well, scoring goals and in a good
position," said Alonso.
"It's important to be towards the top but we know we have to
carry on doing what we're doing if we're going to be there
at the end of the season.
"We should have scored more today and perhaps a fairer
scoreline would have been 3-1 or 4-1, but the most important
thing is the three points. We have to keep these
performances up now."
Reds fire fresh
warning to rivals
By Alex Livie - Setanta Sports
Liverpool made the short trip along the
M62 a productive one, as they claimed a 2-0 win over Bolton
to move back to the top of the tree.
The early kick off afforded The Reds the chance to move back
above Chelsea and although they were made to work harder
than seemed likely at one stage, Rafa Benitezís boys got the
Dirk Kuyt headed The Reds into a deserved early lead, but a
contentious disallowed goal fired up Bolton and Liverpool
needed to weather a storm before sealing the win thanks to
Steven Gerrardís second.
Bolton set up with five in midfield, Fabrice Muamba detailed
to shadow Steven Gerrard, and there is no doubt the plan
It was Bolton that made the brighter start, passing the ball
neatly, and Matt Taylor fired a shot wide and Kevin Nolan
squandered a decent opening after The Trotters had passed
their way through The Reds.
It took 15 minutes for Liverpool to find their stride, but
once they gained a foothold a goal looked inevitable.
Kuyt has been a surprise goalscoring beacon from The Reds
this term and he demonstrated his confidence in front of
goal when shaking the woodwork with a thunderous drive
following a great run and pull back from Gerrard.
If Kuyt was a little frustrated by his miss he certainly did
not show it as he opened the scoring with a header out of
the very top drawer.
Liverpool switched play from left to right and back again,
probing for an opening, and Fabio Aurelio whipped a
dangerous cross into the box. There was plenty for Kuyt to
do as he was 14 yards from goal, but he generated tremendous
power and planted the ball across Jussi Jaaskelainen and
into the top corner.
The game should have been beyond Boltonís reach just a
minutes later, but Robbie Keane put his name in the frame
for miss of the season. Kuyt broke towards the byline and
whipped the ball back across the six-yard box for Keane, but
he attempted to clip the ball home with his right foot
rather than wait for it to drop onto his left and all he
contrived to do was slice the effort horribly wide of goal.
Liverpool were in total control, but they needed the
intervention from referee Rob Styles in first half injury
time to preserve their lead. Bolton whipped a corner into
the box and Gary Cahill climbed high to head home, but
Styles deemed Nolan to have fouled Jose Reina. It was one of
those incidents which could have gone either way, but that
will be little by way of consolation to The Trotters.
If Bolton were stung by the incident, they channeled their
energies the right way as Johan Elmander stung the palms of
Reina from a tight angle and Nolanís free kick forced the
Spaniard into a decent stop.
Substitute Ricardo Gardner made a real impact in the early
moments of the second half and he should have levelled the
match on 52 minutes. The Jamaican dashed clear of a
Liverpool defence looking for offside and rounded Reina, but
lost his standing foot when set to roll the ball into an
For all Boltonís pressure, Liverpool should have doubled
their advantage on the hour. It was almost a carbon copy of
Keaneís miss in the first half, as Gerrard appeared to go at
Fernando Torresí cross with the wrong foot and the ball
Reina was by far the busier of the two keepers in the second
half, tipping over a free kick from Taylor and clasping a
curling effort from Nolan, but Liverpool had the class in
the locker to complete the job.
Andy OíBrien may well have a sleepless night or two as it is
folly to give Torres one bite of the cherry, let along two.
The defender had chances to clear both with his head and
boot, but did not complete the job. Torres, on for the
disappointing Keane, gathered the ball on the edge of the
box, dinked the ball into the area with the outside of his
right foot and Gerrard gleefully headed home. Job done.
Jaaskelainen was called on to keep the scoreline
respectable, keeping out Xabi Alonsoís rasping drive with a
diving stop, while Gardner the chance to set up a grandstand
finish when volleying over the bar.
Torres could have capped his cameo with a goal, but hit the
woodwork from eight yards. It mattered little and The Reds
will gladly take this sort of victory on their travels every