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Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 16:56 GMT
Bolton hold Liverpool
Nicky Southall and Emile Heskey challenge for the ball
Southall and Heskey challenge for the ball
Liverpool 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
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Kevin Nolan's late goal earned Bolton a deserved draw with title-chasing Liverpool, after Steven Gerrard had given his team the lead with a fine solo effort.

Bolton's attempt to frustrate and smother the home team worked for most of the match, though Liverpool lacked invention and incision going forward.

  Key moments
29 mins: Jaaskelainen saves from Owen
45 mins: Dudek saves from Frandsen then Ricketts
50 mins: Gerrard scores for Liverpool
78 mins: Nolan equalises
90 mins: Dudek denies Ricketts
The result means Liverpool have twice seen their title hopes dented by Wanderers this season, after Bolton had won at The Reebok last August.

The home side were at times guilty of neglecting the simple pass in favour of over ambition and did not play like a team mounting a serious challenge for the Premiership.

They failed to kill off the game after Gerrard's goal had given them the lead and were generally unconvincing.

The Reds have now just taken six points from their last six games while Bolton can take heart from a plucky point.

Liverpool, with Michael Owen restored to the starting line up, dominated the opening exchanges, moving forward with crisp passing and intelligent movement.

Colin Hendry might have scored for Bolton after six minutes but he headed over from a corner and Liverpool continued to press forward in search of the opening goal.

A sweeping, silky move from right to left culminated in a powerful shot from an acute angle by John Arne Riise that Jussi Jaaskelainen comfortably saved.

And Owen almost broke the deadlock after 29 minutes.

We just don't seem to be getting the luck at the moment, but it will come back.
Liverpool boss Phil Thompson
The 22-year-old striker closed down and blocked Hendry's weak defensive clearance.

The ball broke to Owen but Jaaskelainen brilliantly saved the striker's right-footed dink from eight yards with his legs.

But, for all their dominance, Liverpool created very few scoring chances in the opening half and the quality of their play deteriorated as the match wore on.

Bolton's tactic of playing three central defenders and packing the midfield restricted their own attacking endeavour but frustrated Liverpool and subdued the Anfield crowd.

And the visitors created two good chances at the end of the first half.

Steven Gerrard scored for Liverpool after 50 minutes
Gerrard scores for Liverpool
Jerzy Dudek brilliantly saved to tip Per Frandsen's 30-yard lofted shot over the crossbar and a minute later Liverpool's Polish keeper caught Michael Rickett's header.

Gerrard eventually broke the deadlock shortly after the start of the second half with a stunning individual goal.

The midfielder picked the ball up on the edge of the Bolton penalty area and knocked it through the Trotters defence.

His pace took him past the Bolton defenders, who were caught with their backs to goal, before he slipped the ball past the advancing Jaaskelainen from a tight angle.

Bolton began to play with an increased sense of urgency and almost equalised straight away, but Nolan did not connect properly from Rickett's flick-on.

Owen should have doubled his team's advantage after being put clean through by Patrick Berger.

But the 22-year-old was thwarted by Jaaskelainen, who saved well diving to his left.

This could be a priceless point at the end of the season.
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
Bolton's rugged determination was rewarded with an equaliser after 78 minutes.

Liverpool's failure to clear their lines was punished when Simon Charlton's first-time cross was smashed home by an unmarked Kevin Nolan from three yards.

Nolan, a Liverpool fan, had been made skipper for the day by his manager.

Liverpool - with Owen, Heskey and substitutes Nicolas Anelka and Jari Litmanen all on the field - tried to find a late winner but were further frustrated by stubborn, gritty Bolton.

Liverpool: Dudek, Wright, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, Smicer (Anelka 67), Hamann, Gerrard, Berger (Litmanen 85), Owen, Heskey. Subs Not Used: McAllister, Kirkland, Carragher.

Booked: Hyypia.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Diawara, Hendry (Farrelly 32), N'Gotty, Charlton, Southall, Warhurst, Frandsen, Nolan, Ricketts, Holdsworth (Pedersen 72). Subs Not Used: Poole, Barness, Johnson.

Booked: Southall, Hendry, Frandsen, Nolan.

Att: 43,710

Ref: C Wilkes (Gloucester).

BBC Sport's Alan Green
"An abysmal result for Liverpool"
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"It was a resilient performance"
Liverpool assistant boss Phil Thompson
"We're still in the chase for the championship"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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