Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Battling Bolton Hold Rueful Reds

In the second of three cup ties in the space of a week, Liverpool hosted Championship side Bolton in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday evening.  Bolton's starting 11 included the veteran attacking duo of Eidur Gudjohnsen and former Reds front man Emile Heskey who would spearhead the attack at a combined age of 73.

Liverpool made a few changes from the midweek draw against Chelsea with Glen Johnson, Joe Allen, Adam Lallana and Javier Manquillo returning to the starting 11 and on a day where all of the Premier League top three exited the competition, Liverpool had to be wary of suffering a similar fate.

The home side made the better start with the first chance to score coming after 12 minutes as a long range tester from Jordan Henderson drew a save from Adam Bogdan who was called into action again minutes later by a chance from Philippe Coutinho.

Raheem Sterling had a superb chance to open the scoring on the half-hour mark when he raced down the left wing before coming inside and hitting a tame shot which was blocked strongly by the Bolton defence.

Despite all of their chances, Liverpool could have gone behind in the 33rd minute when Dean Moxey unleashed a powerful volley from the edge of the area which travelled just past the post but Liverpool countered and went close with a powerful effort from Glen Johnson which forced Bogdan into a superb save.

Bolton looked to make a good start to the second half and came close to opening the scoring when a dangerous free kick from Eidur Gudjohnsen crept over the crossbar just seven minutes after the restart. This was followed by a neat passing combination between Coutinho and Sterling which saw the latter force a save from Bogdan.

Liverpool's attacking threat seemed to focus around Coutinho who had a double shot blocked before seeing a third effort denied and followed up by a chance for Javier Manquillo which drifted wide of the target.

At the other end, Eidur Gudjohnsen shot wide before going sending an effort just over the bar after being picked out by Dean Moxey from the left wing. Liverpool were eager to avoid a replay due to a packed run of fixtures and in the final ten minutes, peppered the Bolton goal with a number of chances.

Adam Lallana attempted a chipped effort which Bogdan claimed well before Coutinho connected to Henderson's free kick with a fluke shot which Bogdan did well to keep out and in the final seconds, the last chance fell to Lucas whose shot failed to trouble Bogdan who fully deserved the man of the match award.