Liverpool's Jermaine Pennant probably breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of New Year's Day. After having some problems settling in at Anfield and being criticised by many supporters he put a performance in he can be proud of, playing a very important part in Liverpool's 3-0 win on Monday against Bolton. It drew praise from both his captain and his manager after the game and he says it came as a real boost: "It was good to have the confidence booster of a performance like that against Bolton – maybe it was one of my best performances since joining Liverpool. It's good to get a game like that under my belt."
Pennant is a Liverpool fan himself and there was a suggestion that he was in awe of his surroundings for most of the first half of the season. That meant a lot of fans were unimpressed and couldn't work out why Rafa had paid so much for the player from Birmingham. The fans will need a lot more performances like the one against Bolton, but at least Pennant's proved just what his capable of: "I feel I'm winning more of the fans over now with performances like that. I think when I arrived everyone hoped I would kick straight into action, but sometimes it takes time to get used to playing in front of the crowd and the different players. Now I feel things are coming along better. It's a new year and I hope I'm now going to continue with those kinds of performance."
Speaking to the Echo, Pennant said he and his team-mates are looking back at the Blackburn defeat with huge regret. Liverpool squandered many chances to go ahead and ultimately lost 1-0, three points dropped when they shouldn't have been: "Things have gone quite well for the team lately, particularly in moving to third. We know some performances could have been better. That includes myself as much as other players, but we've all stuck in there and been grinding results out. If we continue to play as we are, I'm sure we'll stick around the top three. We look back at that Blackburn game now and know if we'd won that we would be right on the heels of Chelsea. That's frustrating because we were all over Blackburn on that day had enough attempts on goal."
Liverpool went on to beat Spurs 1-0 as well as that win over Bolton, a total of 9 points from 12 over Christmas.
Pennant also felt pleased that Liverpool had shown Bolton that they can be physical too if they need to be: "It was difficult at the start of the game, but we really got stuck in and showed them not only can we be a good passing team, we can be physical when we need to be as well. We stuck to passing and moving and that helped us to an important win."
With Momo Sissoko's return to action moving closer, and the possibility of Steven Gerrard being moved back out wide again, Pennant knows he's got to keep putting these performances in.