Liverpool secured their first ‘double’ in the Premier League by dispatching Owen Coyle’s Bolton side 2-0 at Anfield.
It could, and probably should, have been an even wider margin, as the reds took advantage of Spurs away draw at Birmingham to close the gap on 4th place to one point.
Lucas Leiva made way for Alberto Aquilani with Ngog moving up front and Kuyt replacing Rodriguez on the wing.
The reds, kicking towards the Kop in the first half, started slowly but eventually began to produce some decent football and N’gog’s pace caused trouble for the Bolton back line. Aquilani showed against Spurs that he relishes being played off the striker, but being asked to do Lucas’ job is clearly not ideal for the Italian who struggled as a partner for Mascherano.
Kyrgiakos, who has been a revelation since his involvement in the reds defence, cleared an attempt off the goal-line in a rare fright for the hosts.
Just past the half hour mark, Liverpool’s passing clicked in to gear when Riera found Insua with a fine pass. Another great cross to the back post followed, and it was Aquilani who headed the ball back down for Kuyt to fire home.
The reds had another excellent opportunity early in the second half when another fine Insua cross found Gerrard. His powerful shot was palmed away by the keeper but when it was easier to score, N’gog managed to put the ball on to the crossbar.
The chances were beginning to flow now and after a tepid 65 minutes Leiva was brought on for Aquilani. For a defensive midfielder his impact was immediate.
Reds pressure continued and within minutes the ball was hunted down and returned to Insua who fired a shot goal-bound. It took a wicked deflection off Kevin Davies which wrong footed the keeper to put the reds 2-0 up.
The reds continued to chase down the third and the final 20 minutes were of solid Liverpool pressure. A free kick almost found Lucas’ head and Babel created some space but fired over the cross-bar.
The reds finished the game strong, with signs that confidence is re-appearing to lighten the mood over Anfield.
Man of the Match: A number of players had good games – Insua, Kyrgiakos and Kuyt amongst them. But we’ve plumped for Mascherano
Post Match Comments
“I am pleased with the result and the second half but not too happy with the first half – but at the end of the day we needed to win and we won.
“In the first half they had two chances and we were a little lucky but in the second half it was different and we could have scored more goals.
“I think we are improving. Clearly you can see the team is working hard.”