Robbie Fowler's goal proved enough for Liverpool to rack up a fifth successive Premiership win as Bolton suffered a fourth straight loss.
Fowler marked his 31st birthday with a goal
The main talking point of a tepid first half looked like being Steven Gerrard's rejected penalty claim until Fowler found the net in stoppage time.
After half-time, Xavi Alonso hit the post before Pepe Reina raced to the edge of his box to deny Kevin Davies.
As the game wore on, there was little danger of Bolton staging a comeback.
Reina was the first goalkeeper called into serious action when Stelios broke through on goal with only the keeper to beat but the Spaniard did well to get down to his right and block the shot.
Bolton just about had the better of the early exchanges, without posing too much of a threat in front of goal, as Liverpool were restricted to speculative, long-range efforts as the game failed to spark to life.
Gary Speed's challenge on Gerrard on the edge of the penalty box looked destined to be the most noteworthy event of a fairly lacklustre first half.
But in stoppage time Fowler combined well with Peter Crouch and marked his 31st birthday with a snap-shot from the edge of the box through a crowd of players, his second goal in consecutive games as he aims to earn a long-term contract at Anfield.
Liverpool scarcely deserved their half-time lead, and sent on Luis Garcia for Djibril Cisse at the interval to try and pep things up.
It seemed to have the desired effect as the home side upped their game following the restart.
Bolton defender Bruno N'Gotty was twice called upon to make vital interventions to keep the scoreline at 1-0 - Gerrard set up Crouch to put the ball in the net but the flag was already up.
Bolton rarely threatened and, although Liverpool looked comfortably in control, they did not seem unduly worried about adding to their one-goal advantage.
The visitors upped the pressure as the game moved into stoppage time but Liverpool looked assured as they moved up to the 70-point mark for the season.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez on Robbie Fowler's goal:
"I know that it means I will be answering questions about his contract situation.
"I want to see him scoring and playing well; if he does that it's good for everybody."
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce:
"We dominated the first half, and the last thing I expected was to go in at the break one down. That killed us off.
"It certainly knocked the lads back - and although they tried hard, they did not have the belief after the break to get back into it.
"We paid the price for creating chances and not taking them."
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Cisse (Luis Garcia 45), Alonso, Gerrard, Kewell (Traore 88), Fowler (Hamann 75), Crouch. Subs Not Used: Dudek, Sissoko.
Goals: Fowler 45.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, N'Gotty, Ben Haim, Gardner, Nolan, Speed, Faye (Campo 74), Giannakopoulos (Pedersen 53), Davies, Okocha (Jansen 61). Subs Not Used: Walker, Borgetti.
Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).