Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners against Bolton at Anfield today, which keeps the league leaders on top in their pursuit of that magic number 19.
Albert Reira was on target for the reds and Robbie Keane made no mistake slotting the ball home twice.
If there was any worry about a Boxing Day hangover with the Liverpool players, then that was soon put to bed by a determined, sharp and fully focused display of football from the early stages of the game. Liverpool didn’t give Bolton much chance to pass the ball around, nevermind having many opportunities to trouble Pepe Reina – mostly because Liverpool kept the ball very well and used the whole of the pitch to their advantage.
Albert Reira got that all important first goal on 26 minutes with a calm yet precise volley at the near post from a Liverpool corner. He’d had another opportunity earlier which went wide, but he hit the target well given another chance.
Then step up Robbie Keane. Two very good goals which resulted from some terrific high tempo moves from the Liverpool team. His first goal on 53 minutes was an example of some fine midfield play. Xabi Alonso broke the play up in midfield to put the ball inch perfect in front of the advancing captain, Steven Gerrard. Gerrard made no mistake of putting the ball in front of Robbie Keane with which he controlled nicely and slammed the ball in the back of the net with his left foot. Clinical.
Five minutes later Robbie Keane scored from one of the best examples of defence to attack we’ll see all season. Pepe Reina gathered the ball and quickly gave it to Alonso. The determination and speed in which the reds advanced forward with the ball in this move brought back some memories of the old days back – we still wanted another goal when we were in full control of the game. Alonso played in Benayoun who flew into the area and put it on a plate for Keane to slot in his second. Lethal attack.
November was the last time Liverpool took all three points at Anfield. So a win and a few goals were on the cards.
There was only really one occasion that Liverpool looked vulnerable at the back. And that was in the first two minutes with Liverpool fan Kevin Nolan causing danger. After that, Liverpool looked and played football like league leaders. And that is why the red machine is sitting high on it’s perch. Looking down on everyone else.
A very nice late Christmas present for Liverpool fans everywhere!
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Insua, Benayoun, Gerrard (Leiva Lucas 73), Alonso, Riera (El Zhar 69), Keane, Kuyt (Ngog 76).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Babel, Mascherano, Darby.
Goals: Riera 26, Keane 53, 58.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O’Brien, Samuel (Davies 46), Muamba, Nolan, McCann, Taylor (Riga 66), Gardner, Elmander (Smolarek 66).
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi.
Booked: Nolan, Steinsson, McCann.
Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).