Just keep smiling, Steven. (Photo: AFP)
Late Liverpool FC winner at
the Reebok was typical Steven Gerrard
Comment by Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo
What happened at the Reebok Stadium on
Saturday was just typical Steven Gerrard.
The skipper had taken some criticism after the defeat to
Aston Villa but he never has two bad games in a row.
It was a stunning finish to win the game after Fernando
Torres had fired us back level.
It was a crucial victory but we can't keep relying on those
two players to rescue matches.
They are only human and can't be expected to always be on
hand to pull the team out of trouble.
It's time that others took on some of the responsibility.
Throughout the season those two will maybe have four or five
And when Gerrard and Torres aren't at their best we need
other players to put their hand up and produce the goods.
It seems that when those two don't play well we don't win
and that's wrong. It's a team game and others have to help
Gerrard talked about how after the defeat to Villa there had
been a big team meeting and I'm sure a few home truths came
When things weren't going well when I was at Liverpool
that's exactly what we did.
What's said remains behind closed doors but it gave a chance
for people to speak their minds.
It's all about how you respond and Liverpool responded in
the right way at Bolton. To come back from behind twice and
win the game showed a lot of character.
I think everyone knew that even a draw wasn't good enough on
Those two defeats mean there is little room for error and
the three points keeps us in contention.
We didn't play brilliantly but it was one of those games in
a season when you don't care how well you play as long as
you get the three points.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos was handed his debut and I thought the
Greek defender did well.
He was strong in the air and it obviously helped having
Jamie Carragher alongside him.
Competition for places is always good and he showed enough
to suggest he will be competing for a regular place in the
Why Liverpool FC should
get used to close encounters
Comment by Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post
So Steven Gerrard has already made his
first priceless intervention this season – because that game
at Bolton was one that Liverpool had to win.
That’s not me over-stating the importance of victories in
August or suggesting that dropping more points would mean
the title challenge was already over.
But I said after the defeat to Aston Villa last week that to
get the season up and running, it was all about response and
reaction. And going into the international break with
another three points in the bag was essential to Liverpool’s
mindset after the first few games of the campaign.
And with a few decent looking fixtures coming up, with
Burnley and Hull soon to visit Anfield, the confidence boost
of an away win is the perfect weapon to take into games
that, if you’re going to be up there, you have to take three
But I hope no Liverpool fans got too stressed during the
drama at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday – because I get the
feeling there’s going to be plenty more where that came
Rafael Benitez’s players are already paying the price for
their vast improvement last season. They are seen as an even
bigger scalp than before and teams are determined to stop
them from playing.
Bolton are a prime example. They don’t really look to play
too much football as long as they stop their opponents from
doing it and they seemed quite happy with a point.
As it was, before Sean Davis got sent off, Liverpool found
it a struggle. And it’s a struggle they are going to have to
get used to because I reckon any teams in the bottom 10 or
so will just make sure they compete in the midfield areas
and if it’s 0-0 or 1-1 they will be happy to take that.
When they go to Anfield you expect five men flooding the
midfield but I think it could be a similar story even when
it’s Liverpool who are the away team.
Because of the way the Premier League pans out so many teams
set out to avoid relegation, and every point is precious. So
it’s one up front when the top teams come to town and the
onus is on them to break these sides down.
Chelsea found it to their cost last season when sides
exposed their lack of width.
So in Liverpool’s case, it’s a good job Glen Johnson has
made the start he had in terms of going forward, and other
wide players like Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun need to
They are absolutely vital outlets if Liverpool are having
trouble breaking teams down.
Which brings us back to Gerrard. That type of match-winning
strike is something he has been doing for 10 years and I
don’t think it had anything to do with anything Benitez said
about his performances.
That sort of thing doesn’t work with him.
The fact is he sets himself such unbelievably high standards
and even on a bad day he is as good as most of the rest of
He knows the best way to respond to a dodgy game is to
bounce back in emphatic style and the captain certainly did
that at Bolton.
And you get the impression it’s not the last time he will be
needed to produce something like that this season.
Mark Lawrenson was talking to NICK SMITH
Megson in broadside
at ‘diving’ Liverpool FC
By Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post
Angry Bolton Wanderers manager Gary Megson
has accused Liverpool’s players of “chucking themselves all
over the pitch” to secure victory at the Reebok Stadium.
Rafael Benitez’s side twice came from behind before a late
Steven Gerrard strike eventually earned a 3-2 win on
The turning point of the game came in the 54th minute when
Sean Davis was shown the red card for a second bookable
offence after upending Lucas.
Megson was unhappy with the Brazilian’s part in the
incident, which he claims was typical of the antics of the
And while the Trotters manager stopped short of referring to
Liverpool’s players of cheating, the inference was patently
“The sending-off was up to the referee’s interpretation on
both yellow cards but I would strongly suggest that that
would only happen to 14 clubs in this league,” said Megson.
“There are six clubs that it wouldn’t happen to. You either
accept it or get better at it ourselves which we won’t do. I
can’t go on about honesty and integrity and then tell
players to chuck themselves all over the show.
“You just have to hope that the referees and officials, when
they have these meetings, recognise what is happening.
“I didn’t see all what happened at the sending-off but you
just know what is going to happen. As soon as the challenge
was made we tried to organise a substitution because you
know damn well what is going to happen.”
Megson added: “There were other things going off out there.
Liverpool know we are going to be physical and no-one in
this division likes handling Kevin Davies at set-pieces or
when Jussi has got the ball.
“Instead of just coping with it, you will see a lot of stuff
written about him in the press before the game from the
opposition and during the game there will be a lot of stuff
happening on the touchline, a lot of moaning about it. It is
a bit sad that those things happen.”
Megson continued launching his broadside by implying Lucas
made sure referee Alan Riley brandished a second yellow card
to Davis, who had earlier been booked for kicking the ball
“We are not going to accept it,” said Megson. “I am going to
keep moaning about it until people stop criticising Kevin
Davies and stop trying to get our players booked.
“Some of the opponents we play are chucking themselves all
over the pitch. We compete. We close the ball down and we
battle for every ball on that pitch.
“But you will never see one of our players on that pitch
rolling all over the ground when there is nothing wrong with
“Our physio rarely goes on the pitch and yet you see it
happening all the time with the opposition and you know damn
well that it is not life-threatening.”
Megson extended his theme by insisting two Liverpool players
had dived during Saturday’s game. “Did they take the rule
out that if someone throws themselves over and they don’t
get booked that they can get punished for that?” he said. “I
think that is still in there but when did you last see that
happen? It happened twice in this game. Two people chanced
their arm on trying to get a penalty. I am not saying who
“You either join in or accept it. Tell me the last Bolton
player you saw throwing himself all over the place.”
Gerrard glad to
be back on track
By Al Campbel - LFC Online
Steven Gerrard was pleased to see
Liverpool return to winning ways yesterday.
Gerrard was happy to see the Reds put the disappointment of
Monday's defeat behind them and return to winning ways
against Bolton at the Reebok yesterday.
"It would have been difficult going into the international
break if we didn't get the result we wanted and this was all
about a reaction to the Aston Villa defeat, and I thought we
got that," said the captain.
"We played really well, showed character and deserved the
"Against Villa we never showed enough character and we
didn't play well enough. I certainly didn't play well enough
on a personal level and this was all about individuals and
the team reacting.
"The manager questioned the whole team after Monday and
rightly so. We were no way near good enough and we didn't
play close to our standard.
"We have had a couple of good meetings this week and we
couldn't wait for this game to come around.
"We went behind twice but again we showed what character we
have in this team. Going behind twice there are times when
you think you are not going to get a point, never mind
three, but we got our rewards in the end and we could have
ended up scoring four or five."
with Reds response
By James Carroll at the Reebok Stadium - LFC Official
Rafael Benitez admitted he was delighted
with the reaction of his Liverpool players after the Reds
beat Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
Liverpool twice came from behind to secure an impressive 3-2
win, courtesy of goals from Glen Johnson, Fernando Torres
and Steven Gerrard.
Following Monday's defeat to Aston Villa, victory over the
Trotters comes as a welcome tonic for the Reds.
"Today all of the players wanted to impress and do well -
they knew we needed to improve," Benitez told reporters at a
post-match press conference.
"From the first minute, the players were playing with a
great determination to win and it was important to have this
mentality. I am really pleased with the reaction of the
"I think today we showed we have quality and when we play at
our level, we can beat anyone.
"We had a game plan and we wanted to keep the ball and have
plenty of possession. It was a difficult game and we had to
come from behind twice, but I think we showed a lot of
"We have to improve on some other things, but at least we
have won and we can prepare for our next game a little bit
With the scoreline poised at 2-1 in their favour, Bolton
were reduced to ten men in the 55th minute when Sean Davis
was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Benitez added: "We had plenty of possession playing 11
against 11. Against ten players, it was easier to keep
control of the ball, but sometimes it can be more difficult
playing against ten men because everybody works harder.
"We stayed calm and were moving and passing the ball. Last
year we did the same and won some games like this, and it is
important for the confidence of the players."
Meanwhile, Benitez admitted he was pleased with the
performance of Greek debutant Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
He said: "It was a difficult game for Kyrgiakos, but I am
really pleased because he was very dominant in the air
against Kevin Davies, which is not easy, and also Johan
"I think for his first game in England he was really good."
Reds hit back
to beat 10-man Bolton
Steven Gerrard responded perfectly to
having his early season form questioned by hitting
Liverpool's winner in a 3-2 success at 10-man Bolton.
But the visitors were made to fight desperately hard by a
Bolton side who were down to 10 men for much of the second
In fact, Gary Megson's men had been ahead twice through
Kevin Davies and Tamir Cohen, and Liverpool only really got
on top when Sean Davis was dismissed for a second bookable
Glen Johnson had fired one equaliser in the first half,
before Fernando Torres pulled Liverpool level at 2-2 a
couple of minutes after Davis angrily trudged off.
Then Gerrard struck with a fierce drive seven minutes from
the end to lift at least some of the pressure from Benitez.
Bolton made one change from the side that won at Tranmere in
the Carling Cup in midweek, with Tamir Cohen replacing Mark
Liverpool, who lost disastrously at home to Aston Villa on
Monday, gave new Greek signing Sotirios Kyrgiakos his his
debut in place of Martin Skrtel, while Spanish winger Albert
Riera replaced Yossi Benayoun on the left-flank.
Riera soon knew he was in a game. He was clattered by a
strong Sam Ricketts tackle and then collected the Welsh
international's boot in his ribs minutes later.
Predictably Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba was once again
detailed to man-mark Gerrard, just as he did in both matches
between the sides last season.
Liverpool soon had chances. Riera's cross was missed 12
yards out by Lucas, and the ball was returned into the box
by Johnson for Fernando Torres to see a glancing header skim
Torres was next in the wars, cut down by Gary Cahill, with
the defender one of three Bolton first-half bookings, the
others being Davis and Muamba.
The visitors had plenty of possession, but without making
many clear-cut chances, Matt Taylor and Cohen working
tirelessly in midfield, breaking up Liverpool's flow.
One through-ball from Lucas saw Torres shake off Cahill and
attempt to chip Jussi Jaaskelainen from just inside the box,
but the goalkeeper pulled down the effort.
At the other end, a Taylor free-kick was headed away for a
corner by Torres, and that gave Bolton their breakthrough.
Taylor's 32nd-minute corner curled to the far post where
Johan Elmander headed it down into the six-yard box for
Davies to turn past Jose Reina from a couple of yards.
Liverpool surged back looking for an equaliser, and it
almost came when Torres chested down Johnson's cross - but
he fired across goal and wide of the far post.
But the visitors were level in the 42nd minute when a corner
was cleared only as far as Johnson just outside the box, and
he fired a low show inside Jaaskelainen's near post.
Bolton caught Liverpool asleep at the beginning of the
second period. Liverpool's failure to clear a right-wing
cross saw them go behind again just two minutes after the
Davies was able to flick the ball across the box, where two
defenders failed to stop Cohen lashing the ball home from
Bolton were reduced to 10 men after 54 minutes. Lucas was
racing towards the Bolton box when Davis clipped his heels
from behind. Referee Alan Wiley produced a second yellow and
then the red card.
Davis was furious. He had onfronted the Brazilian before
receiving his marching orders and ran towards Lucas again,
before being halted by a colleague and ushered away.
It was the incentive Liverpool needed. Gerrard hit the bar
before Torres took a chest-down from Dirk Kuyt before
steering the equaliser past Jaaskelainen in the 56th minute.
Next into the book was Gerrard for a foul on Muamba, before
Benayoun replaced Riera after 63 minutes.
Not surprisingly, it was all Liverpool now. Andriy Voronin
was sent on after 74 minutes to replace Javier Mascherano as
the pressure on Bolton increased.
Torres and Kyrgiakos both had chances, and Bolton sent on
another defender in Gretar Steinsson for Cohen with 12
Liverpool's pressure paid off with seven minutes left when
Gerrard crashed the ball home from 12 yards. Benayoun's
corner had been headed down by Torres for the Liverpool
skipper to finally put his side ahead - and it proved