Cole Sinks Coyle's Side In Late Win For Liverpool
Whilst the pressure has eased on manager Roy Hodgson according to the press i think it's more realistic to say that whilst most fans were pleased with the improved performance it's safe to say that opinions on who is at the Anfield helm have not changed.
Fair play to Roy on one aspect though after reintroducing Maxi Rodriguez into the side and also on the inclusion of Daniel Agger. It was a risk to start the big Dane but i thought Agger had a fantastic game. Another key point to the starting line up was the missing Steven Gerrard, apparently fatigued after the Wolves match he was left out of the midfield. Reina was in goal as always with Johnson, Skrtel and surprisingly Fabio Aurelio making up the rest of the back four (it was nice to see Aurelio there instead of the bumbling Konchesky!)
Lucas, Kuyt and Meireles with Ngog and Torres up front made up the rest of the line up.
Liverpool started positively and straight away it was evident that they were keen to put the terrible performance from Wednesday night behind them. Another thing to note was the immediate impact of Maxi Rodriguez he was constantly supplying the two front men with balls from the wing and his pace was causing problems for Bolton's midfield set up.
20minutes in and the Reds found themselves with their first problem. Raul Meireles picked up a knock to his ankle and needed to be substituted. After Steven Gerrard started on the bench i didn't think we'd be seeing him brought onto the pitch so early in the game.
Gerrard could have fooled anyone into thinking he was fully fit not fully knackered soon after he ran onto the pitch. He settled into the game well and would later on play a big part for Liverpool.
Pushing closer to half time and still neither side had broken the deadlock. The Reds had been causing trouble and had a fair few shots on goal from the likes of David Ngog and Maxi Rodriguez.
42minutes though spelt the end to a confident start from Liverpool, it wasn't perfect but it was a massive improvement from the last game (this is how much our expectations have been lowered). Kevin Davies spoilt the party with a headed goal after a superb free kick into the area from Bolton.
There were no real arguments or excuses, Liverpool were down, yet again.
Second half was looking a daunting prospect, the Reds were no doubt going to find it tough to come from behind but after our luck in the first half with missed chances it would be a big enough task just to equalize.
Thankfully, the Anfield faithful didn't have to wait too long to witness the equalizer and what a peach it was! Good start up play from David Ngog and Glen Johnson eventually saw the ball reach captain Steven Gerrard who with a superb ball over the defence, teed up Fernando Torres perfectly.
Hit first time the sweet little volley from El Nino sent the home fans crazy and Liverpool now found themselves with a realistic chance of collecting all three points.
Throughout the 90minutes the fans were brilliant in maintaining noise levels and it was clear it was spurring the lads on. It's been a while since i've heard that amount of decibels at Anfield and it was nice to hear.
With Liverpool now having the upper hand it was Bolton who were struggling to find any real strength in their attack. At just under 70minutes a substitution from Owen Coyle saw Klasnic enter the field of play to try to help Bolton regain a hold on the game.
Some worrying moments as the game was nearing 90minutes saw Pepe Reina called to duty on a few occasions. The reliable keeper though did not let us down and the scoreline remained evenly poised for the time being.
At 81minutes Roy Hodgson made a substitution which saw David Ngog leave the field and Joe Cole brought on. A fair decision i thought as Ngog was not as effective as the goalscoring Fernando Torres on this occasion. What followed was surely yet more proof that Torres needs to be the sole striker?
Extra supply from Cole and Maxi now meant Fernando had plenty of balls being played into the danger area but it would be Joe Cole himself who would send The Kop end crazy after ensuring a goal bound effort was sent past Jaaskelainen.
In fairness to Liverpool, we actually did deserve the three points i felt, Bolton had faded and we were making threats on goal throughout the 90minutes so it was a relief to finally see the winner go in at the end.
A last minute save from Pepe Reina confirmed the win for the Reds and Bolton were left with a bitter taste of what Anfield can be like on a good day.
Of course we haven't had too many good days this season have we? Without wanting to fall back on the negative start to the season i think it's important to take the positives from the first game of 2011.
Yes we still perhaps don't have the right manager in place and no one's opinions on that at the moment whether for or against are going to change but there's no denying that yesterday's performance was a step in the right direction.
Forgive me for lacking in hope though for our next fixture, for a starters i don't think it will be long before Konchesky is back, we'll probably go 4-4-2 again and i wouldn't be surprised if Maxi is dropped! Never mind though, each game at a time i suppose.