'Outstanding' Suarez the pivot as Liverpool go on the rampage

Liverpool 3 Bolton 1
Click to follow
The Independent Football

There was a difference of only one goal between Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers on New Year's Day and their 3-1 success over Owen Coyle's team on Saturday but that cold statistic tells nothing of the transformation in the Merseysiders' fortunes over the intervening eight months.

Then there was only a disputed late Joe Cole strike to separate the sides in front of 35,400 disgruntled supporters witnessing Roy Hodgson's final home game as manager and Fernando Torres's last Anfield goal.

On Saturday, by contrast, a wave of optimism rolled around Anfield as the home side produced some thrilling pass-and-move football that suggested Kenny Dalglish's arrival and the Fenway Sports Group's plus-£100m investment in new talent since January is fast bearing fruit.

Although Dalglish says there is nothing complicated about his team-building – "good footballers can play with other people" – he must have been delighted with the evidence that his £45m British trio of Stewart Downing and scorers Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam are finding their feet.

That said, it was a player who arrived in January, Luis Suarez, who shone brightest. An under-par Bolton side had no answer to the movement and link-up play of the Uruguayan, whose superb outside-of-the-foot pass to Downing led to the opening goal, Downing's saved volley eventually leading to Henderson's top-corner finish.

"Outstanding," was the Bolton manager Owen Coyle's appraisal of Suarez, who, on another day, might have had a hat-trick. He is showing no tiredness after his Copa America-winning feats and can look forward to the company of his Uruguay team-mate Sebastian Coates; the tall centre-back was a spectator at Anfield ahead of his imminent transfer from Nacional.

Asked about Liverpool's resurgence, Coyle said: "If you want to compare Liverpool today with back then, they look a very good side. Offensively, they look like they can score goals. Having said that, if you gave me £110m I am sure I would have a team that look dangerous every time they walk on to the park," he said.

"Kenny has done that. He has signed some good players, youthful players who are going to grow and get better."

Another player whom Coyle expects to grow and get better is Arsenal target Gary Cahill but where that happens remains to be seen. Cahill's display suggested he had been affected by uncertainty surrounding his future.

"He didn't have his best game," admitted Coyle, who said Arsenal had so far made only a verbal offer last week and warned that they would not get the centre-back on the cheap. "I won't buckle. I have had a chat with Gary. He knows my opinion. The bottom line is that we don't have to be taking poor offers. If someone makes the right offer, and I am very fair-minded in this, then we can do business."

Scorers: Liverpool Henderson 15, Skrtel 52, Adam 53. Bolton Klasnic 90. Substitutes: Liverpool Skrtel 6 (Kelly, 30), Rodriguez (Henderson, 76). Bolton M Davies 6 (Muamba, 26), Tuncay 5 (Eagles, 56), Pratley 6 (K Davies, 71). Booked: Liverpool None. Bolton Steinsson, Klasnic. Man of the match Suarez. Match rating 8/10. Possession: Liverpool 59% Bolton 41%. Attempts on target: Liverpool 9 Bolton 4. Referee L Probert (Wiltshire). Attendance 44,725.

Comments