Premier League - Liverpool leave it late
Sun, 31 Oct 17:54:00 2010
Liverpool edged out Bolton courtesy of an 86th-minute winner by Maxi Rodriguez that gave the Reds a 1-0 win in their Premier League encounter at the Reebok Stadium.
Before the Argentine struck it seemed that neither side could muster a breakthrough in a match full of energy and endeavour, but devoid of inspiration or quality in the final third.
Yet Rodriguez finally broke the deadlock with a composed finish from Fernando Torres's exquisite backheel four minutes from time.
Hodgson had previously not won a match away from home in the Premier League since the opening day of last season, but the under-fire Englishman was left to enjoy his side's third victory of the season.
Bolton began the game very brightly, and Kevin Davies was typically causing havoc in the Liverpool box from the outset.
The Reds should have taken the lead through Fernando Torres in the eighth minute as the striker picked up the ball following a sloppy pass from Zat Knight, but with the defence at his mercy the Spaniard's shoddy finish was easily blocked.
Stuart Holden almost stunned the visitors with a fierce long-range strike which dipped and forced Pepe Reina into a fine reflex save in the 22nd minute, but it was a rare chance in a cagey half that saw neither side creating clear-cut chances or looking particularly comfortable on the ball.
Bolton could have had a penalty four minutes before the break, however, when Matt Taylor whipped over a devilish delivery from out on the left, only for Jamie Carragher to deflect the ball to safety with his hand. Yet referee Martin Atkinson remained seemingly oblivious as the hosts' vehement appeals were in vain.
Neither manager deemed it necessary to tinker with their side at the break, and the second half began at an equally frantic pace with a heavily congested midfield rendering the start extremely scrappy.
Hodgson made an enforced change on the hour mark as Joe Cole sustained a hamstring injury and Liverpool's top scorer David Ngog was introduced to partner the ineffectual Torres.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos rose imperiously in the Bolton box to meet Gerrard's corner in the 65th minute, but the Greek defender headed wide of the near post when he should have at least tested Jussi Jaaskalainen.
Liverpool almost went in front in acrobatic fashion in the 71st minute as Gerrard's dinked delivery was headed back to Maxi Rodriguez by Torres, but the Argentine's dipping overhead drifted narrowly over the crossbar.
A glorious opportunity then fell to Holden at the other end, as the American ghosted in at the back post to meet Taylor's whipped delivery from a free-kick out on the right, but he inexplicably failed to make any contact from just five yards out.
Gerrard was furious with Torres for misplacing a simple through ball to him in the 86th minute, but seconds later the Spaniard produced a touch of class with a sublime backheel into the path of Rodriguez, who beat Jaaskelainen with a clinical toe-poke.
The victory sees Liverpool move out of the bottom three and into 12th spot, while Bolton remain in 10th on the same number of points.Dan Quarrell / Eurosport