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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 March 2008, 15:23 GMT
Bolton 1-3 Liverpool
By Mandeep Sanghera

Xabi Alonso (left), Steven Gerrard (centre) and Ryan Babel celebrate during the win at Bolton
Gerrard (centre) and Babel (right) both got on the scoresheet
Liverpool enhanced their credentials for securing fourth place in the Premier League with a win over relegation-battling Bolton.

The Reds took the lead when Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen dived to save a Steven Gerrard shot but bizarrely diverted the ball into his own net.

Ryan Babel drove in a shot after Dirk Kuyt hit the bar and Fabio Aurelio volleyed in to extend Liverpool's lead.

Tamir Cohen headed in for Bolton but it was too late to have an impact.

The win ultimately proved comfortable for Liverpool, but Bolton had shown more urgency at the start and will have felt aggrieved at going behind after Liverpool survived two early scares.

Diouf angled in a long range free-kick for Bolton, which was missed by everyone and looked goalbound only to bounce to safety off the crossbar.


An unsettled Liverpool escaped again when Joey O'Brien headed across goal but Diouf could not react quick enough to score from two yards as the ball struck his arm and the Reds again cleared.

Bolton were undone and left stunned by Jaaskelainen's error, and the visitors nearly profited when Babel cut in from the right and saw a sweetly-struck shot saved.

Bolton gathered themselves, and Davies should have done better than to head too close to Reina from a pin-point Kevin Nolan cross.

Liverpool had struggled to deal with Bolton's threat at set-pieces and Gary Cahill could only shoulder an effort wide as he mistimed a near-post header from Matt Taylor's free-kick.

The need for relegation-threatened Bolton to push forward left them open to the counter-attack and the space they left at the back was almost exploited by the pace of Babel on the left flank.

Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen watches as his attempted save from Steven Gerrard's shot hits his head and spins into his goal
Jaaskelainen watches in horror after the ball hits his head and goes in

He burst clear and would have scored without the sliding Cahill not getting a big toe to Babel's strike to divert it over.

Bolton's cause was not helped by Nolan having to go off injured at half-time and the Reds took a firm stranglehold of the game after the break.

The lively and exciting talent of Babel finally got the goal he deserved when he powered in a shot after the ball was cleared to him after Kuyt's first-time effort had come off the post.

The strike left Bolton dejected and disheartened and Aurelio controlled a ball on his chest before volleying in from the edge of the area to add some gloss to his side's win.

Cohen nodded home late on but the visitors won at Bolton in the Premier League for the first time since September 2002.

  • Bolton boss Gary Megson:
    "We did well initially. The goal took the wind out of our sails a little bit.

    "We had to change and got caught trying to go forward.

    "If we feel sorry for ourselves then we will sink but if we roll our sleeves up we will get out of this trouble."

  • Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
    "It was a good game and great performance of the team. We worked hard, played well and created chances so I am pleased.

    "We had some problems at free-kicks but after this we controlled the game.

    "We were trying to pass the ball and go forward and we had two or three clear chances. The idea was to have a good game and get the three points."

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson (Rasiak 42), Andrew O'Brien, Cahill, Gardner, Joey O'Brien, Campo, Nolan (Cohen 46), Diouf, Davies, Taylor.
    Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Meite, Giannakopoulos.

    Booked: Rasiak, Davies.

    Goals: Cohen 79.

    Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Aurelio, Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano, Babel, Kuyt (Arbeloa 86), Torres (Riise 77).
    Subs Not Used: Martin, Benayoun, Crouch.

    Booked: Hyypia.

    Goals: Jaaskelainen 12 og, Babel 60, Aurelio 75.

    Att: 24,004

    Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard on 7.92 (on 90 minutes).

    Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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