Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has named an unchanged line-up for today’s visit to the Reebok stadium and another vital game in a season that has seen the Reds win just twice in the Premier League.
It’s 442 days since Roy won a league game away from home, a record that stretches back to his time as boss of Fulham, but today’s trip to Bolton has to be seen as a good opportunity to end that run.
Last week’s win at home to Blackburn must have brought a massive boost to the confidence of a squad that seemed to have forgotten which end of the table it should have been battling at. Much of the good work from that win has been overshadowed by speculation about the futures of key players and a week of quotes from Hodgson that have added to the fans’ discontent about his start to the season.
Without showing any disrespect to a Bolton side eight places above Liverpool in the table, at a ground where the Reds haven’t always enjoyed the fixtures, this game should see Liverpool take all three points.
Last weekend’s win was against a team now managed by Sam Allardyce, who of course made his name in management at this ground before a spell at Newcastle United that set them on the road to relegation. Bolton’s manager nowadays is the former Burnley boss Owen Coyle who succeeded Gary Megson in January.
Liverpool are only three points behind Bolton and could leapfrog Bolton in the table with a win of three clear goals or more. Depending on the result today’s North East derby that kind of win would see Liverpool in tenth, at least until Blackpool play West Brom.
Defeat would see the Reds drop one place to nineteenth, a draw would see them remain in the relegation zone, in eighteenth.
First goalscorer odds:
N’Gog, Elmander: 13/2
Gerrard, Davies, Klasnic: 7/1
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Bolton win: 11/5
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Bolton: 22 Jaaskelainen, 2 Steinsson, 4 Robinson, 5 Cahill, 12 Knight, 6 Muamba, 7 Taylor, 8 Holden, 27 Lee, 9 Elmander, 14 Davies
Subs: 1 Bogdan, 18 Ricketts, 16 Davies, 21 Cohen, 17 Klasnic, 19 Moreno, 20 Blake
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 3 Konchesky, 16 Kyrgiakos, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 4 Raul Meireles, 8 Gerrard, 10 Cole, 17 Maxi, 21 Lucas, 9 Torres
Subs: 41 Hansen, 34 Kelly, 26 Spearing, 28 C Poulsen, 33 Shelvey, 14 Jovanovic, 24 Ngog
Kick-off: 4pm GMT