Liverpool face Bolton Wanderers in the 4th Round of the FA Cup on Saturday as they look to continue their recent resurgence in from after recovering from a disastrous start to the season. The Reds put in a commanding display in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final against league leaders Chelsea and the 1-1 draw didn’t provide a fair reading in a fairly one sided match.
Bolton themselves had a dismal start to the season but have climbed to mid table after just one defeat in their last 10 league games under the leadership of Neil Lennon who was appointed in October when the Trotters were lying at the foot of the Championship table.
The former Celtic manager who claimed the scalp of Barcelona in a famous Champions League win has promised that his side will compete and try and cause the home side problems after watching Tuesday’s League Cup match at Anfield.
The two teams last met in the FA Cup in January 1993 with Bolton winning 2-0 at Anfield in the replay after a 2-2 draw at Burnden Park.
Bolton beat Wigan by a solitary goal to progress from the 3rd round while Liverpool were made to sweat before overcoming AFC Wimbledon thanks to a Steven Gerrard brace.
Brad Jones and Daniel Sturridge remain sidelined though the English striker is inching closer to a return to football having not played a single minute since August.
Joe Allen, Mario Balotelli, Glen Johnson and Dejan Lovren are all back in training and should make the match day squad at the very least.
Kolo Toure is at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast and Jordon Ibe is cup-tied having featured for Derby County earlier in the competition.
Young Jordan Rossiter is in line to make his second appearance after Rodgers confirmed the same in his pre-match presser.
Craig Davies suffered a hamstring injury in last weekend’s 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday and will miss the trip to Anfield.
Chung-Yong Lee was forced to return early from the Asia Cup after sustaining a hairline fracture on his right leg and is out for about two weeks.
Zach Clough faces a late fitness test in order to make the squad as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Paddy Kenny was released by Bolton and has joined Ipswich Town on a short-term contract.
Liverpool: 3-4-2-1: Mignolet; Sakho, Skrtel, Can; Manquillo, Lucas, Rossiter, Enrique; Lallana, Lambert; Borini
Bolton: 4-3-1-2: Lonergan; Dervite, Mills, Wheater, Ream; Feeney, Danns, Vela; Pratley; Gudjohnsen, Heskey
Last Five Meetings
21 Jan 2012 Bolton 3 – 1 Liverpool Premier League
27 Aug 2011 Liverpool 3 – 1 Bolton Premier League
01 Jan 2011 Liverpool 2 – 1 Bolton Premier League
31 Oct 2010 Bolton 0 – 1 Liverpool Premier League
30 Jan 2010 Liverpool 2 – 0 Bolton Premier League
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions, winning six and drawing the remaining three.
- Liverpool have won their last nine home against Bolton in all competitions.
- Bolton have lost just once in their last 12 matches in all competitions.
- Bolton beat Liverpool 3-1 last time they were in the Premier League, though they have lost 10 matches in a row against the Reds before that.
Liverpool: Adam Lallana
The former Southampton captain has been the epitome of Liverpool’s swing in form and had put in his best performance at the turn of the year in their 4-1 win over Swansea when he netted a brace before getting injured on New Year’s Day against Leicester City. He made his return against Chelsea on Tuesday as a substitute and came extremely close to netting a fabulous winner only to be denied by an excellent save.
He is expected to start against Bolton on Saturday and will look to add to his tally of four goals as well as two assists in a Liverpool shirt as he looks to further justify his hefty price tag. With his silky touches and Iniesta-esque half turns, Lallana will be a constant threat to Bolton and will have to be stopped at any cost.
Bolton: Matt Mills
The Bolton number four is clearly one of their most important players having more than 2300 minutes for his in the Championship, the most by a distance. The towering centreback has been in imperious form since the arrival of Lennon and marshalled the defence expertly as a previously leaky defence kept four cleansheets in a row last month. Contesting 7.5 aerial duels on an average in the league, he wins 5.5 of those while also making a staggering 7.8 clearances a game. Even more surprising is the fact that he commits less than one foul per game.
Bolton’s defensive resilience will be pushed to its extremes in order to prevent Liverpool from running riot on Saturday, and Mills’ mettle will have to come to the fore if they are to stand any chance of forcing a replay, or even causing an FA Cup shock for that matter.
Both teams come into this game having experienced an upturn in fortunes and although Liverpool remain favourites to stick a few past the Championship side, Bolton will quietly be confident of causing an upset. Injuries to key players in the forward department will however be a massive blow to the visitors, and the home side should record a comfortable victory.