Oby’s Dugout: Bolton (a)

Bolton 2-3 Liverpool

Steven Gerrard

Game number 4 in the 2009/10 Premier League season and so far a mixed bag of results for Liverpool. 2 defeats including one at Anfield to Villa but one dominating victory at home to Stoke had Kopites and pundits alike wondering what a trip to the Reebok Stadium would bring.

An almost unchanged side for the reds with the exception of Martin Skrtel being replaced by debuting Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Surprising to some, Lucas retained the central midfield role despite a desperately unlucky performance at Anfield on Monday.

So to the first half and Liverpool had the first sniff of a chance when Johnson’s shot evaded Torres low down in the six yard box after just 12 minutes. An early signal of intent from the visitors. First blood however went to Bolton as a disgracefully defended corner gave Davis a simple tap in from a yard out.

In my opinion Liverpool were not undone by a great Bolton set piece, instead our downfall was the result of sheer abysmal marking. I don’t know about you but I have never been a fan of the zonal marking system and Bolton’s goal has done nothing to make me support the tactic.

Regardless of my the ‘marking debate’ Liverpool were 1-0 down and not giving Jaaskaleinen too much trouble. Until Glen Johnson steps up and unleashes a fearsome left footed strike which flies into the bottom corner of net to level things up as the teams go in for half time.

Out for the second half then and straight away Bolton regain there 1 goal lead when some fairly dodgy defending leads to Tamir Cohen hitting a volley unmarked and putting Bolton 2-1 ahead. On 55 minutes the task at hand became a lot easier when a foul on Lucas resulted in a second yellow card for Simon Davis. Controversy in the aftermath though as Davis sprinted towards Lucas and claimed that he influenced the referee’s decision to reach for a card. After Davis finally left the pitch the game became a lot easier for Liverpool. And two minutes later they capitalised when Kuyt’s pass finds Torres who slots the ball in for the equaliser.

Suddenly it’s all Liverpool; every chance goes to the Merseysiders who look for the killer blow to gain all 3 points. And boy did they find it on 83 minutes when the captain, who had been clearly deprived of a good performance this season, smashed the ball into the roof of the net to give Liverpool a deserved 3 points.

Overall a good performance from the reds excluding the first half hour in which we just didn’t seem to gel but once Johnson got the first the performance (their second goal apart) seemed to flow naturally.

Finally there were two draws this week which affected the reds.

Firstly it was the draw for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League in which Liverpool drew 3 teams they have never faced before. Lyon, Fiorentina and Debrecen. A good group which I don’t really see any problems for the reds qualifying. It’s just a question of where will we qualify?

The second draw was for the 3rd round of the Carling Cup. Liverpool drew an away tie with rivals Leeds United. True Leeds may not be at the heights that they once were but that doesn’t mean they will be a push over, teams like Barnsley and Burnley have knocked us out before and there is no reason to assume that Leeds can’t.

3 comments on
Oby’s Dugout: Bolton (a)

  1. CulCul, I agree with alot of what you say. There really are to many average players at the club. However i think it’s unfair to throw all the blame on Rafa. Some has to be thrown at our owners who have severely restricted his funds in the transfer market due to the debt they gave us. Hence why instead of players such as David Silva and David Villa we had to settle with Voronin and players like Jermaine Pennant.

  2. Really feel this was the worst Liverpool performance i have seen for along time and think we were lucky to get away with three points. Granted the stats were impressive in relation to shots on terget, pocession etc. If Davies had not been sent off the result could have been different & Bolton had a great chance to go two up.
    I think Liverpool have a major problem throughout the squad. Too many average players for starters.
    I have a major problem with Rafa going forward and the way the club/team has developed, i will list my three primary reasons below and open them up for debate.

    1) The depth of talent we have up front at Liverpool is laughable. Expect for Torres we have no quality forward/stricker. Rafa has signed badly in this area over the years and wasted a vast amount of money. To expand.
    Neil Mellor is on a par with any forward in the present Liverpool panel except for Torres. He was sold for peanuts and since then Rafa has signed Ngog, Vorinen, Babel & Crouch as replacements. These players cost appprox £20M without signing on fees and together are/were earning approx £150K between them. This is an additional £7.5M in wages per annum. Neil Mellor would have jumped at £20K per week and would have been better backup than at least three of the four above.
    Net result £20M plus signing on fees plus £15M (2 years wages) = £35M or David Villa and Neil Mellor as third choice stricker with Nemeth etc waiting in the wings for a chance.

    2) For years Rafa has ignored the academy players until he got full control. Why was this, were these players not good enough because he was not in control? For years Liverpool developed the best players in the land without the direct control of the first team manager. 2 youth FA cup winning sides and no regular first team player except for Insua. Danny Guthrie was also sold for peanuts when you see players like Cathermole been sold for £10M plus. His replacement player was Lucus for another £8M plus signing on fee plus wages of £20K per week.
    If Rafa was on top of things at the academy he would have known about the progress Insua was making and saved £8M on Dossena plus a signing on fee plus £30/£40k in wages each week.
    This £16M (Dossena & Lucas transfer fee) plus the signing on fee & wages £2.5M (£50k per week/1 year) = £18.5M or Gareth Barry with Guthrie in reserve.

    3) Rafa has been in charge for 5 seasons and now only 5 Liverpool players would be gaurenteed a start in any of the follwing teams, Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspurs.
    These 5 players are Reina, Johnston, Mascherano, Gerrard & Torres. After spending £100M plus (net tranfer spend) this is not good enough. Too many average players have been signed.

    I think that the above three examples shows that a bad transfer policy can have a negative effect on the development of a team. Like Arsenal & Man Utd we should be giving our younger players the chance to develop. The money saved can then be used to strenghten key positions and sign a better quality player each time.
    I can fully understand Rafa’s frustration in not been able to sign the players he wants but if you were Rick Parry (for example) and considered the above which excludes signing on fees & agents commissions; at some stage one would say enough is enough. I think this is what has happened at Liverpool and personnally i am delighted. Every premier league club is in serious financial trouble and massive debt so i think we cannot afford to spend £60M plus every summer and must go back to basics to start developing our younger players.

    I hope this view starts a good honest debate.
    P.S dont get me started on the Robbie Keane thing.

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