Monday, January 01, 2007

Liverpool Starts 2007 With A Bang

English Premiership

LIVERPOOL 3 - 0 Bolton

LIV - Crouch (61min), Gerrard (63min), Kuyt (83min);

Match Highlight:


A form team up against a form team. Third place against fourth place. And Bolton were definitely fired up for this match with Rafa Benitez’s pre-match comment about them not playing football.

In the first fixture of 2007, Liverpool showed what they’re capable of as they defeat a resilient Bolton side 3-0. The score could’ve been more embarrassing for Bolton if Peter Crouch was better with his headers.

But nobody could really complain about the qualities of the goal. All 3 goals were of the highest quality with Peter Crouch scoring yet another overhead kick. It was a reminisce of that goal against Galatasaray in the Champions League when the ball fell behind him and he did an extraordinary overhead kick.


And before Bolton could regain their composure, Liverpool struck again. This time, it was skipper Steven Gerrard. Jermaine Pennant’s cross from the right was met with the boot of Gerrard, who made the late run into the box. The ball connected with his feet so beautifully and it went straight to the top corner.

Bolton came undone. To be fair, they defended very well in the first half and kept Liverpool at bay. Goalkeeper, Jussi Jaaskelainin was on top of his form when he denied Finnan with an excellent save. But they were always in the back foot and were under very much pressure from Liverpool, who sounded their intent to play fast pace football right from the first minute, when Gerrard flashed a shot past Jaaskelainen.

And with their defence pinned back on many occasions, their attack didn’t work out like it did for the past few games, where they were on fire. With former Liverpool players Nicolas Anelka and El-Hadji Diouf on the field, they were given a ‘warm’ reception from the Anfield crowd. But the pressure on them didn’t work for them as they both had a rather anonymous game.


With the good news of Dirk Kuyt’s father with a chance of recovering from cancer, Kuyt Jnr recovered from his slump in form with a goal as well. Taking the ball into a tight corner with Ricardo Gardner following closely, he placed the ball nicely past the defender and the keeper with a reverse angle shot.

It was a fantastic win for Liverpool considering Bolton’s recent form were pretty decent. And as Benitez mentioned that this match is a very important match to the club’s Champions League aspiration, it is definitely a boost to the player’s morale and bring cheers to the fans.

One could say that Liverpool are still a little too wasteful in front of goal with Crouch being the main culprit again. But after all, it was a result that went to the Red’s way and now they will move into 3rd place, leaving Bolton a little behind now. With the quality of those goals, they certainly brought some smile to all the fans.

Drogballs' Thoughts: What a way to start the year. A revenge for that unfair 2-0 defeat against us earlier this season, we managed to keep Bolton out with only 1 pathetic shot on goal (off target even) and when it comes to attack, besides Crouch being a little wasteful, we really cranked a gear up in the second half and battered them.

Without Jaaskelainen, Bolton could've been really embarrassed today. Steve Finnan was unlucky not to get his second goal in his Liverpool career and Crouch constantly heading the ball straight at him.

It seemed like the form of last season starts to come back and players finding confidence. New players like Pennant and Bellamy finally settling in the side and Rafa not tinkering as much, now we play with more consistency and the team showed more fluidity.

The defence was at their top condition today with Hyypia putting in a towering performance and Carragher with a couple of important clearances and interceptions. Steve Finnan once again impressed with his crossing and gave Pennant alot of support down the right.

The partnership between Gerrard and Alonso looked better every passing game and Gerrard was rewarded with a brilliant goal. Alonso was unfortunate not to score as well. He played well and was up for the physical game Bolton was put out to play.

Crouch and Kuyt both worked very hard in the front lines. With the absence of Bellamy, there was a shortage of pace up front. But both of them proved that they could do without Bellamy's pace with 2 quality goals each.

All in all, a impressive second half performance for the Reds. We looked to have finally stepped out of the shadow that was cast over Anfield for the past few months and let's hope 2007 is a year of Liverpool. The thing that worries me will be Crouch's finishing and his header. Like I've mentioned after the lost at Ewood Park against Blackburn, we should always punish teams when we're given the chance and today, the finishing was poor at times.

But I'll still take the result and finally, it was satisfying to see us beat Bolton and looking at Sam Allardyce's pissed off face makes me smile.


Anonymous said...

didnt you hear anfield booing diouf whenever he touched the ball?

psychohare said...

Happy New Year!


Yes, he was booed all over the park and nice to see him sending 'kisses' to the crowd. I had nothing against Anelka. Felt sorry for him as we rejected him and signed Diouf instead.