After The Match 


Bolton-Liverpool 0-1 (0-0)           31.10.10                           PL
Goals: Rodriguez (86)
Team: Reina, Konchesky, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Lucas, Meireles, Maxi, Cole, Gerrard, Torres
Subs: Ngog (Cole 61), Poulsen (Meireles 89)
Not used: Hansen, Jovanovic, Spearing, Kelly, Shelvey
Yellow: Konchesky (21), Skrtel (75)   Taylor (49), Steinsson (89)
Red: None
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 25,171

Shots on target: 4-2
Shots off target: 4-7
Blocked shots: 7-2
Fouls conceded: 16-13
Corners: 1-4
Offsides: 1-2
Possession: 41.3-58.7
Yellow: 2-2

HEADLINES "I don't think anyone deserved
to win to
be honest..."
Jamie Carragher
0111: Dominic King sees the Reds start
           to turn the tables with away win

0111: Getting better but still far from good enough
3110: Hodgson: Still work to do
3110: Honest Carragher admits to Reds fortune
3110: Maxi leaves it late for Reds


Dominic King sees the Reds start
to turn the tables with away win

Comment by Dominic King - Liverpool Echo

“I think tables are of no interest until at least 10 games have been played. Then you start looking to see how big a gap there is between yourself and the top teams or between yourself and the bottom teams.” – Roy Hodgson, September 10, 2010.

As he sits down to study the Premier League standings today, Liverpool’s manager will momentarily furrow his brow at the sight of his side being in 12th spot but then take heart from the fact that a position that threatened to be desperate does now not look so bleak.

Hodgson might have spent the opening stages of his reign ignoring football’s vital statistics but, for the past month, Liverpudlians have been forced to view them with mounting horror owing to the Reds being trapped in the bottom three.

Had Hodgson lost what he inadvertently made such a big fixture all those weeks ago, the growing unease of some supporters could easily have boiled over yesterday but, as things stand, Liverpool might just be heading into a period of on-field prosperity.

Though they left it late, victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium – achieved thanks to a moment of genius from Fernando Torres and a strike of great poise from Maxi Rodriguez – was absolutely deserved and enabled them to leap six places.

More than that, it has thrust them into a place where they can start to think about hunting down those who had stolen a march on them during that lamentable period when practically everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

What a difference seven days and back-to-back victories have made; suddenly Liverpool are three points away from fifth-placed Tottenham and should they beat Chelsea next Sunday – a big if, admittedly – their 11-game tally would not be too dissimilar to last season’s haul at the same stage.

“It’s just nice to be out of the bottom three,” reflected Jamie Carragher. “We’ve been in there a while so it’s been difficult to look at the table. We know we haven’t had a great start but with the league so tight, a few wins can certainly help us climb the table.”

Make no mistake this was an enormous victory, a point proven by the fist-pumping and back-slapping that greeted the final whistle from the majority of the squad, coupled with the scenes in the exultant away end.

It might not have been the easiest Liverpool performance there has been on the eye but it could turn out to be hugely significant in the course of the campaign.

Fluffing their lines yesterday would have left Liverpool susceptible to another round of inquests and ensured the build up to the showdown with the league leaders – usually one of the most eagerly anticipated collisions in the calendar – would have been laden with negativity.

Not now. Liverpool might not be the force they were when going head-to-head with Chelsea two seasons ago but at least they will go into the game with confidence starting to grow, knowing they have nothing to lose.

What’s more, the team is starting to knit together. The shape is better, the work rate cannot be faulted and more players are accepting responsibility.

Take Rodriguez. He has quite a fan base on The Kop but the games he has heavily influenced since arriving from Atletico Madrid in January have been few and far between.

Happily he corrected that here. Building on a excellent performance against Blackburn, the little Argentine was Liverpool’s brightest attacking source and the longer this contest progressed, the more you could see his class shining through.

An acrobatic overhead kick almost caught Jussi Jaaskelainen by surprise midway through the second period but he got the reward his play deserved in the 86th minute when Lucas and Torres combined to send him scampering through.

His poked effort squirmed through Jaaskelainen’s legs but he went for the only area of the goal that the big Finnish keeper did not have protected.

That he was put through by Torres was deeply ironic because prior to that flash of genius, the Spaniard had produced the kind of display that would have left Sean Dundee, Erik Meijer and Titi Camara red-faced.

From the moment he made a hash of a pass from Steven Gerrard which he should have smashed past Jaaskelainen, Torres ran down blind alleys, failed to show adequate control and was outfoxed by Gary Cahill. But he rendered everything that had gone before with that terrific back heel – if he does the same against Chelsea and Liverpool win again, nobody will be complaining.

Least of all Hodgson. He will meet new owner John W Henry for talks this week about Liverpool’s winter transfer budget but he will not kid himself into thinking that a tweak here and tuck there is all that is needed to take the club forward.

Provided they maintain this effort and application, however, there is nothing to say Liverpool won’t be marching forward rapidly again; cast a glance at the table once more and you will see that the opportunity is there if they wish to take it.

Getting better but still
far from good enough

Comment by Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post

When grilled over Liverpool’s faltering first steps under his tenure, Roy Hodgson claimed he should only be judged after
10 Premier League games.

And having reached that mark yesterday at the Reebok Stadium the verdict that must surely be returned is simple: getting better, but still far from good enough. Any threat of a Halloween horror was averted with Maxi Rodriguez’s late strike dragging Liverpool out of the relegation zone with their first away league win in more than six months.

The Argentine’s only previous goal for the club came in that triumph at Burnley back in April, his team’s third in a 4-0 romp. However, his effort four minutes from time yesterday will have far greater resonance for both Liverpool and their manager’s fledging Anfield career.

With champions and league leaders Chelsea to visit Anfield next week, Hodgson is perhaps wise not to definitively state a corner has been turned. But at least supporters no longer have to view the league table while peering from over the back of the couch.

“Quality is permanent” responded the Liverpool manager when asked post-match about the ongoing debate over the form of Fernando Torres, a statement the striker justified following a largely tortuous afternoon in which he appeared every inch a man struggling for confidence.

Yet having spent 86 minutes as though possessing two left feet, it was the Spaniard’s deft backheel through the legs of Gary Cahill that released Rodriguez to shoot straight through Bolton goalkeeper Juusi Jaaskelainen and in off the underside of the crossbar to the delight of the away supporters packed behind the goal.

The ecstatic nature of those celebrations, and the jubilant, defiant reaction of Jamie Carragher, demonstrated what these three points meant. But if this was a big result for Liverpool, it was similarly important for their manager’s reputation.

Just look at the statistics. Before yesterday, Hodgson had won only seven of his previous 52 away Premier League games with his most recent being 22 games ago for Fulham at Portsmouth on the opening day of last season.

Coming a week after the relief of triumph against Blackburn Rovers, this was only the third time Liverpool have scored back-to-back Premier League wins this year, underlining the lack of consistency that has contributed to their slide from top-four contenders to bottom-three dwellers.

The sight of Joe Cole disappearing down the tunnel just past the hour clutching his hamstring was a gentle reminder that Hodgson’s problems won’t disappear on the strength of two good results.

That said, it was Cole’s departure that prompted the introduction of David Ngog and a change in formation that ultimately proved pivotal, Hodgson switching to the 4-4-2 he had over the weekend lamented was difficult to impose due to a lack of striking options.

Bolstered by a towering performance from Sotirios Kyrgiakos – the Greek keeping the dangerous Kevin Davies in check – Liverpool kept only a third clean sheet in the league this season while claiming an eighth successive win over the Trotters.

And while Bolton manager Owen Coyle suggested his team deserved more and should have had a penalty when Jamie Carragher handled inside the area, Liverpool’s greater desire meant there could be few realistic complaints with the scoreline.

A goalless draw was the most likely outcome, however, particularly after a low-key opening half in which, despite dominating possession, Hodgson’s men rarely looked like altering the statistic of Torres’s strike at Old Trafford in March being the only first-half goal Liverpool have scored away from home in the Premier League during 2010.

Torres epitomised the visitors’ impotence, most notably in the eighth minute when, after being released by a quick-thinking Steven Gerrard following Zat Knight’s slack pass, the forward seemed in two minds how to finish and ended up pulling his shot harmlessly away from goal.

The Spaniard, who had already headed a presentable opportunity over from Gerrard’s left-wing corner, later brought a neat move to a shuddering halt by inexplicably passing the ball out of play, and his frustrations boiled over when he took a heavy touch and, in attempting to retrieve possession, stupidly brought down Stuart Holden.

Holden forced Bolton’s first threat when a Liverpool throw-in somehow ended with the United States midfielder thrashing a shot from 20 yards that was beaten out by Pepe Reina, while the goalkeeper showed good hands to twice fierce free-kicks from Matt Taylor before the interval.

Liverpool’s lamentable attempts to test Jaaskelainen continued when the busy Rodriguez rolled the ball into the path of Gerrard but the skipper skewed his shot horribly wide.

If Torres and, to a lesser extent, Gerrard were off colour, the same could not be said for many of their team-mates.

Lucas has benefited from an extended run in the team and built on his impressive display against Blackburn with another fine outing, snapping away at the heels of Bolton’s midfield, breaking up the play and, alongside Raul Meireles, keeping the ball moving.

Kyrgiakos earned the praise of both his captain and manager this week for the danger he has added to Liverpool’s set-pieces, and it was from one such Gerrard delivery that the Greek came close to opening the scoring midway through the second half, his header dropping just over the crossbar.

In the 71st minute, substitute Ngog initiated a counter-attack that ended with Rodriguez striking an acrobatic volley narrowly over from a Torres lay-off. Bolton, though, came strong in the final quarter. Another poor touch by Torres gave Johan Elmander a chance to shoot that the striker dragged narrowly wide.

It was the touch of fortune Liverpool needed, and they could have snatched victory but Torres played his throughball behind the frustrated Gerrard with the captain in behind the Bolton defence.

But Torres finally got one right four minutes from time when his clever trick from a Lucas pass sent Rodriguez in for the winner and ensure a Halloween treat for Hodgson.

Hodgson: Still work to do

Sky Sports

Roy Hodgson refused to get carried away in the aftermath of Liverpool's win at Bolton after insisting there is still plenty of work for his side to do.

Maxi Rodriguez's 86th minute strike was enough to earn Liverpool a three-point haul at the Reebok that pulls them out of the drop zone.

The win secures back-to-back league victories for the first time under Hodgson but while pleased with the result, the experienced tactician is taking it one game at a time.

Hodgson said: "If we had come into this game in a different position in the league table and with a few wins behind us, I think we would have settled down and been a bit more relaxed.

"As it is we are affected by the table and the fact we have started so badly.

"We have been rightly criticised for starting so badly and when that happens one of the things that goes out of the window is composure and confidence.

"I have been as devastated as everyone has by the lack of results but I have never stopped believing that work would pay dividends. It is just a question of timescales.

"I am still not convinced it is going to pay dividends in a short timescale, it is going to be a longer job.

"It is still too early to be too optimistic but at least it is a step in the right direction.

"The players now know they have got the ability to dig in, even in games like this, which is a good thing to know.

"It is nice to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel."

Misfiring Torres
Liverpool started brightly but the still misfiring Fernando Torres missed two good chances early on and Bolton then settled.

The hosts gave as good as they got and created a number of good chances, the pick of which came just before Rodriguez struck when Kevin Davies headed narrowly wide.

Sotirios Krygiakos had two good headed opportunities for Liverpool but Bolton also had three penalty appeals turned down.

Hodgson added: "We had so much of the ball, so many situations where I though we had opportunities and we wasted them.

"Luckily one more came up and we took it.

"When you don't do that you are always worried one of the long throws or long balls into the penalty area is going to bounce kindly for the opposition and you are going to lose the game.

"I was delighted that didn't happen. I thought it was a very gritty performance from our back four."

Honest Carragher
admits to Reds fortune


Jamie Carragher felt Liverpool were fortunate to edge a 1-0 win over Bolton in an evenly-contested Premier League clash at the Reebok Stadium.

Maxi Rodriguez struck a late winner to help the Reds climb out of the relegation zone, the Argentinian latching onto Fernando Torres' backheel to settle a competitive encounter.

Both sides created numerous chances and Carragher felt neither deserved to leave with all three points.

"I don't think anyone deserved to win to be honest," Carragher told Sky Sports 1. "I don't think there was too many chances. It's always a difficult game here at Bolton.

"Kevin Davies had a header late on, and that could have been it for them, and our chance has gone in.

"It was a really tight game but that's the Premiership for you."

Reflecting on what the win has done for his team's league position - they are now up to 12th place - Carragher added: "It's just nice to be out of the bottom three.

"We've been in there a while so it's been difficult to look at the table. In the weeks to come we have to get further up the table.

"We know we haven't had a great start, but there's still a long way to go and with the league so tight, with a few wins we can certainly climb to the top half of the table."

Maxi leaves it
late for Reds

Sky Sports

A day of derbies in the Premier League concluded with a timely three points for Liverpool as Maxi Rodriguez's late goal secured a 1-0 win at Bolton.

The game looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate when Fernando Torres' clever flick found Rodriguez's run from deep and the Argentine kept his nerve to stab past Jussi Jaaskelainen for a maximum haul.

There was plenty of bluster from both sides in what was a whole-hearted affair but genuine chances were at a premium as neither goalkeeper was overworked before Rodriguez's intervention four minutes from time.

Prior to his assist Torres looked shy of both form and confidence and never did it become more apparent than in the first half when he made inroads on Bolton's goal only to prod meekly wide with just Jaaskelainen to beat.

His profligacy was matched by Steven Gerrard towards half-time as he pulled his shot wide when well placed on the edge of the box, while earlier Pepe Reina was forced into a save to deny Stuart Holden from range.

The win drew them level on points with Bolton, who had been enjoying their best start for four years and were looking set for a seventh draw of the campaign.

They might even have won it themselves had a late Kevin Davies glancing header fallen the right side of the post.

No changes
Roy Hodgson named the same Liverpool team for the third successive Premier League game as he attempted to instil the cohesion they have been lacking.

It initially appeared to work as the Reds, hoping to build on last week's morale-boosting win over Blackburn, started confidently and created two early chances for Torres.

The first came after three minutes as Gerrard swung in a corner but Torres could not keep his header on target.

His next chance came just five minutes later but, despite netting last week's winner, the Spaniard still showed signs of the rustiness that has hampered him all season.

Torres raced through on goal from a Gerrard pass but delayed a shot and then mis-kicked as he attempted to stab past Jaaskelainen from close range.

Bolton's first attempt on goal came when Holden blasted a free-kick at the wall from 25 yards.

After that Bolton gave as good as they got and Reina parried a vicious Holden volley from distance after the US international was teed up by Davies.

The hosts appealed for a penalty as Lee Chung-yong cut inside from the left and went down under a challenge from Jamie Carragher but referee Martin Atkinson played on to few complaints.

Liverpool attacked back but Joe Cole scooped a long-range effort well over the bar and Gerrard did likewise from a free-kick.

Limited chances
Fabrice Muamba shot from long range for Bolton but his effort curved well away from goal.

Torres set up Gerrard but the Reds skipper drove wide from the edge of the box.

Taylor tested Reina with two free-kicks just before the break but the Spaniard managed to smother both attempts and Carragher survived another penalty appeal after the faintest of touches with the hand.

Sotirios Krygiakos, goalscorer in two of the previous three league games, forced Jaaskelainen to save from a Gerrard cross in injury time.

Bolton made the early running in the second half and twice forced Liverpool to clear unconvincingly without creating a clear-cut chance.

Gerrard tried to raise Liverpool's fading tempo with a powerful run and long ball for Torres, but a promising attack was ended as Muamba collided with Lucas.

Gerrard found good space on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected into the air and claimed easily by Jaaskelainen.

Liverpool suffered a blow just after the hour as Cole was forced off with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by David Ngog.

Injury blow
Krygiakos again went close when Gerrard picked him out from a corner but this time headed narrowly over.

The giant stopper was then involved at the other end after bundling into Davies but Atkinson deemed the Bolton captain to have gone down too easily.

Liverpool might have been struggling to produce the intensity their fans demanded but pieced together a move of genuine quality as Rodriguez finally got into the game midway through the second half.

Rodriguez sent Gerrard away down the left with a clever backheel and the captain whipped in a cross for Torres.

Torres nodded back down for Rodriguez to attempt a spectacular overhead kick which went just inches over. Bolton replied as in-form Johan Elmander, looking for his first home goal of the season after hitting five away, showed great control and drove just wide of the post.

Zat Knight then headed over from the resulting corner and Davies also glanced a header wide from a free-kick as the Trotters enjoyed a strong spell.

But Liverpool roused themselves late on and carved Bolton open with a delightful move to set up the winner for Rodriguez.

Torres was the creator as he nutmegged Gary Cahill with a clever backheel and Rodriguez raced through.

The Argentinian showed great composure as he clipped the ball in off the body of Jaaskelainen.

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Thor Zakariassen ©