Liverpool 2-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 01, 2011 | By Chris Mann
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For the second time in four days, Bolton were the victims of a controversial offside goal as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.

Joe Cole's tap-in deep into second half stoppage time won the game for Roy Hodgson's side at Anfield after Fernando Torres had cancelled out Kevin Davies' first half opener.

Wanderers were forced into two changes from the defeat at Chelsea, with Marcos Alonso and Mark Davies coming in for Paul Robinson and Stuart Holden who were suspended and injured respectively.

Neither side managed to make any serious threat on opposition territory during the early stages, with Liverpool's Maxi Rodriguez causing the only moment of panic with a cross-shot which was cleared from inside his own six yard box by Matt Taylor.

Bolton immediate broke up the other end and Rodrigo Moreno shot over the Liverpool crossbar after a near cut inside from the flank.

The hosts were forced into an early change on 21 minutes, with Raul Meireles being replaced by Steven Gerrard after picking up a knock in an earlier challenge with Mark Davies.

Gerrard's introduction came just moments before Wanderers almost took the lead, as Taylor curled a 25-yard free-kick into Pepe Reina's side netting.

Chances at both ends followed, with Glen Johnson heading straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen from a corner, before Zat Knight headed a Johan Elmander cross wide of the target when he should have done much better.

Just after the half hour, Hodgson's side came close to breaking the deadlock. After receiving the ball from David Ngog, Dirk Kuyt crossed for Rodriguez to head against the bar.

Then, just two minutes before the break, Bolton took the lead infront of the Kop. After Rodrigo was hacked down by Fabio Aurelio, Taylor picked out Kevin Davies with a superb free-kick and the Wanderers skipper headed past Reina to give the visitors the lead.

Liverpool hit back immediately and should have been level within a minute, only for Lucas to somehow fire wide from close range when unmarked.

In the last action of the first half, Fernando Torres received a talking to from referee Kevin Friend after appearing to shove his hand into the face of Gary Cahill. The Spaniard left the field at half time a relieved man as he could easily have been shown his marching orders.

Torres may have been relieved to find himself on the pitch at the start of the second period and within four minutes of the restart, he had fired the hosts level.

After getting on the end of a superb ball from Gerrard, Torres volleyed past Jaaskelainen and into the roof of the net from close range to complete a find Liverpool move.

The World Cup winner was unfortunate not to add a second a few minute later. After checking his run, Torres turned away from Knight before curling a strike narrowly wide of goal.

Chances at either end were to come midway through the half. First, Liverpool saw shots from Rodriguez and then Gerrard blocked by the Bolton defenders, before a swift counter attack from the visitors ended with Taylor shooting narrowly wide of the target.

Inside the final fifteen minutes, Torres once again came close, getting on the end of a Gerrard cross before turning and firing wide of Jaaskelainen's far post.

Despite the one way traffic from the hosts, Wanderers looked dangerous on the counter attack and Mark Davies stung the palms of Reina in the home goal with 12 minutes remaining.

With both sides failing to find the breakthrough, a draw looked the most likely outcome until the hosts scored a controversial winner deep into stoppage time.

Gerrard's cross to the far post found Rodriguez and he steered the ball back across goal for Cole, who appeared to be standing in an offside position, to tap into the net from close range.

Ivan Klasnic, on as a substitute for Bolton, forced Reina into one last save in the final minute but Liverpool held on to start 2011 with a victory which moves them away from the relegation zone.

The defeat means Wanderers leave Anfield empty handed for the ninth successive year and following Sunderland's victory over Blackburn Rovers, Coyle's side drop to seventh in the table ahead of Wednesday night's game with Wigan Athletic at the Reebok Stadium.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger (Kyrgiakos 89), Aurelio, Kuyt, Lucas, Meireles (Gerrard 21), Rodriguez, Torres, Ngog (Cole 82)
Subs Not Used: Jones, Babel, Poulsen, Kelly
Booked: Aurelio, Lucas
Goals: Torres 49, Cole 90

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Alonso, Rodrigo (Klasnic 69), M Davies, Muamba, Taylor (Petrov 82), Elmander, K Davies
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Blake
Booked: Alonso, Taylor
Goals: K Davies 43

Referee: Kevin Friend
Attendance: 35,400

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Milton Keynes Dons 26 25
20 AFC Wimbledon 25 24
21 Tranmere Rovers 24 22
22 Southend United 25 10
23 Bolton Wanderers 23 7
View Full Standings >>


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