Sunday 31 October 2010 – Premier League – Result
Bolton 0 Liverpool 1 (Maxi 86)
Roy Hodgson finally saw the end to his personal 442-day run without a league game as Liverpool made it three wins in ten games this season and moved all the way up to twelfth.
Once again Fernando Torres was involved in the goal, his delicate backheel setting up Maxi Rodriguez for the winning goal after 86 minutes of stalemate. Bolton ‘keeper Jaaskelainen got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
Jaaskelainen certainly had little to do the rest of the game, Liverpool rarely threatening his goal. Bolton made Pepe Reina work more often but not much harder. 0-0 would have been a fair result although a number of ignored Bolton penalty claims might give them room to dispute that.
Perhaps a key moment came in the 61st minute when Joe Cole had to depart following a hamstring injury. He walked off the field, suggesting the damage may not be too severe but he must be a doubt for the visit of his former club Chelsea to Anfield next weekend. He was replaced by David Ngog, leading to a change in shape for the Reds.
The match could have gone either way, but despite the joy of grabbing the three points and getting out of the relegation zone it seemed that Hodgson had been prepared to settle for a single point. With four minutes left and the game goalless he had only made that one, enforced, substitution.
The Liverpool boss is one of a number of people that new owner John Henry of NESV will be meeting over the course of the week and starting on Tuesday. Liverpool fans’ hopes that it’s to give him his marching orders will almost certainly be dashed, but there’s at least a chance that the NESV man will understand how fans feel by the time he flies back to the States. That’s if he doesn’t know already.
If Hodgson can keep getting three points in this manner he will at least finally meet the requirements of a caretaker manager, but the club should already be shortlisting candidates to replace him.
Reds manager Roy Hodgson: “If we had come into this game in a different position in the league table and with a few wins behind us, I think we would have settled down and been a bit more relaxed.
“As it is we are affected by the table and the fact we have started so badly.
“We have been rightly criticised for starting so badly and when that happens one of the things that goes out of the window is composure and confidence. I have been as devastated as everyone has by the lack of results but I have never stopped believing that work would pay dividends. It is just a question of timescales.
“I am still not convinced it is going to pay dividends in a short timescale, it is going to be a longer job. It is still too early to be too optimistic but at least it is a step in the right direction.
“The players now know they have got the ability to dig in, even in games like this, which is a good thing to know. It is nice to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
“We had so much of the ball, so many situations where I thought we had opportunities and we wasted them. Luckily one more came up and we took it.
“When you don’t do that you are always worried one of the long throws or long balls into the penalty area is going to bounce kindly for the opposition and you are going to lose the game.
“I was delighted that didn’t happen. I thought it was a very gritty performance from our back four.”
Bolton boss Owen Coyle: “I felt [the result] was cruel on the team given the efforts they put in. We dominated the game for large periods.
“I am loathe to sit here and moan about decisions but it is a clear penalty in the first half, where I think it was Carragher with the handball.
“We could have had a couple in the second half when Kevin Davies had been knocked to the ground as well. They say they are supposed to even themselves out. If that is the case we are probably due about 20 decisions between now and Christmas!
“I still felt in the final third we could have had moments of better quality, better finesse, but the application and endeavour the players are showing is there for everyone to see and the only disappointment is losing the game.
“We are certainly not accustomed to that given the way we have gone about it this season, but it has happened. We will take our medicine, our kick in the teeth, and look to bounce back quickly.”
Bolton: 22 Jaaskelainen, 2 Steinsson, 4 Robinson, 5 Cahill, 12 Knight, 6 Muamba, 7 Taylor (20 Blake, 88), 8 Holden, 27 Lee (19 Moreno, 74), 9 Elmander (17 Klasnic, 81) 14 Davies
Unused subs: 1 Bogdan, 18 Ricketts, 16 Davies, 21 Cohen
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 23 Carragher, 16 Kyrgiakos, 37 Skrtel, 3 Konchesky, 21 Lucas, 4 Raul Meireles (28 Poulsen, 89), 17 Maxi, 8 Gerrard, 10 Cole (24 Ngog, 61), 9 Torres
Unused subs: 41 Hansen, 34 Kelly, 26 Spearing, 33 Shelvey, 14 Jovanovic
Possession: 50% – 50%
Attempts on target: 10 – 4
Attempts off target: 4 – 6
Corners: 1 – 4
Fouls: 15 – 3
The Tomkins Times: Roy’s 10-Game Rating