Liverpool went down to a 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Monday night thanks to an own goal, poor defending from a corner and Steven Gerrard handing Aston Villa a penalty.
The reds will be looking to hit back and regain some ground in a weekend that sees two of the other big four teams playing against each other.
Liverpool did ‘the double’ over Bolton last year – a 3-0 victory on Boxing Day at Anfield and a 2-0 win away.
The game at the The Reebok saw Liverpool win at a canter. Goals from Dirk Kuyt – a bullet header on 28 minutes – and a Steven Gerrard header on 72 did little to show the domination that Liverpool had. Even the stats fail to accurately reflect how this game went – Liverpool only managed 4 shots on target, but that does not include Kuyt hitting the bar and Robbie Keane missing the sitter of the year from a couple of yards out. At the end, a win was very much deserved. This win was hot on the heels of the League Cup defeat to Spurs a few days earlier, and showed that defeat to be a one-off based primarily on the fact that LFC had fielded a very weak team.
The game at Anfield offered the travelling fans little Christmas cheer, as the Reds cruised past unadventurous Bolton. A Riera flick at the near post from a Gerrard corner, opened the scoring on 25 minutes and there was only ever going to be one winner from there. Gerrard was provider again after 52 minutes, laying a ball inot the path of Keane, who fired past Jaaskelainen. The last goal was the best of the bunch – quick thinking from Reina saw Alonso move towards the halfway line with the ball. He passed to Benayoun out wide, who delivered a perfect centre for Keane to score his second. This game could have seen a bigger difference in the scoreline as Jaaskelainen made several late saves.
Liverpool’s form at the Reebok stadium has been chequered in recent years.
Despite winning in the last two visits, Liverpool hadn’t won at the previous four attempts with two defeats and two draws. Liverpool may usually end up demolishing Bolton at home – but away a total of 11 points out of 24 since Bolton’s last promotion to the Premier League tells its own story.
In the last 8 corresponding fixtures the reds have Won 3 Drawn 2 and Lost 3.
Head to head
Liverpool – 52
Bolton – 43
Draw – 32
Liverpool – 20
Bolton – 30
Draw – 14
Martin Skrtel’s jaw is still giving him some problems although after playing 90 minutes on Monday night he is expected to take part in tomorrow’s fixture.
Liverpool will be hoping to welcome back Albert Riera who has now shaken off an injury that has limited him to one substitute appearance this season.
Daniel Agger, Alberto Aquilani and Fabio Aurelio are all out injured.
Liverpool have lost twice in the opening three games. The reds were awful against Spurs on the opening day, but demolished Stoke (in a manner that was missed last season) – and can consider themselves a bit unfortunate at the scoreline against a Villa side who ended a 30 match unbeaten home league record.
Bolton have suffered two 1-0 defeats to start the season. An opening day defeat to Sunderland followed by a defeat away at Hull. Some pride was restored when they knocked Tranmere out of the Carling Cup on Tuesday night. Kevin Davies grabbed the goal in a 1-0 defeat at Tranmere.
Liverpool – (from) Reina, Cavalieri, Ayala, Kelly, Johnson, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Insua, Dossena, Benayoun, Babel, Mascherano, Gerrard, Kuyt, Lucas, Torres, Voronin.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos played for the first half against Blackburn Reserves on Thursday night and despite a lethargic display he could well feature on the bench for this game such is the weakness of the reds squad at this moment.
Possible starting XI – Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Mascherano, Lucas, Kuyt, Benayoun, Gerrard, Torres.
Bolton – (from) Jaaskelainen, Al Habsi, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Samuel, Davis, M Davies, Muamba, K Davies, Taylor, Elmander, Steinsson, McCann, Shittu.
Bolton have got problems of their own – a relatively weak attacking line up. Kevin Davies appears a little more interested when the big teams come around, and their defence can hold it’s own.
Possible starting XI – Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel, Davis, M Davies, Muamba, K Davies, Taylor, Elmander
The match will not be shown live in the UK. Further information can be found in the forum.
Bolton 0-1 Liverpool
All of Liverpool’s games so far have seen quite a few goals – Bolton’s meanwhile have emphasised their resilient defence and lack of attacking prowess. Looking at our dismal record at the Reebok in the Premiership years I’d be happy to take a hard fought 1-0 victory.