Superb Suarez inspires Liverpool's flying start

Liverpool 3 Bolton Wanderers 1: Uruguayan's trickery helps lift resurgent Reds to best start in 17 years

On the day that Liverpool's owner, John W Henry, defended his club's expensive summer outlay on British talent in a newspaper interview, Kenny Dalglish's team added their own eloquent argument.

This 3-1 success featured first Anfield goals for two of those newcomers, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam, sandwiching a Martin Skrtel header, and moreover, ensured that the Merseyside club ended the day on top of the table, ahead of Chelsea and Wolves on goal difference.

When Liverpool beat Bolton on New Year's Day there were only 35,400 fans at Anfield for a 2-1 win secured by an injury-time Joe Cole goal in the last home game of Roy Hodgson's unhappy reign. This was another victory but the manner and the mood could not have been more different as Liverpool's passing and movement left Bolton chasing shadows for much of the 90 minutes. With it Liverpool – with seven points from a possible nine – have achieved their best start since winning three in a row in 1994-95. That year they ended up fourth; a repeat would be welcome after two seasons without Champions' League football, though this flying start will have some Anfield optimists dreaming of more. Dalglish, though, merely observed: "It's better than being bottom."

Liverpool had not lost a home League game to Bolton since 1954 and that record never looked under threat. Even the visitors' first corner almost produced a Liverpool goal as Stewart Downing raced clear on a counter only to be foiled by Paul Robinson's block.

It was Luis Suarez who proved the biggest thorn in Bolton's side. Writing in yesterday's Liverpool Echo, former Anfield favourite Tommy Smith likened him to Kevin Keegan for his exceptional movement though it was a more recent Kop hero, Robbie Fowler, whom the Uruguayan was looking to emulate by becoming the first Liverpool player since the Toxteth tearaway in 1994 to score in his opening three League games.

He did not manage that but from the start Suarez asked questions with that movement – not to mention his eye for a pass and trickery in tight spaces – and it was after drifting out wide that he helped create the opening goal. From the left flank Suarez played a lovely ball with the outside of his right boot into the path of Downing in the Bolton box and although Jussi Jaaskelainen was equal to his volley, Bolton's reprieve was brief. Dirk Kuyt turned the loose ball back to Henderson and after his first shot was blocked, he duly arced a left-foot shot into the far corner.

Suarez missed a golden chance to double the lead after 24 minutes when lobbing on to the roof of the net after being put clear by Henderson. Then another move begun on the left by the South American ended with Kuyt firing over. Both managers were forced into early substitutions but it had no effect on the flow of traffic.

Suarez was unfortunate not to earn a penalty at the start of the second half as he tumbled in the box under a Zat Knight challenge – the defender using a hand to stop him as he threatened to wriggle clear – but as it was, Liverpool secured the points with two goals in a minute soon after.

"We shot ourselves in the foot," was Owen Coyle's verdict on Bolton's defending for both. Skrtel got ahead of Knight to power in a header from Adam's corner, then the Scottish midfielder got the third himself after holding off a Nigel Reo-Coker challenge before drilling a low shot through the legs of Knight and beyond Jaaskelainen from the edge of the box. Adam, like Henderson, is now up and running in a red shirt.

Yet Dalglish was quick to praise two players not on the scoresheet. "It is always nice to score your first goal but Stewart Downing never scored and was brilliant and Luis Suarez was man of the match."

Pepe Reina had made only one first-half save from a Martin Petrov volley when he was beaten by Ivan Klasnic's consolation strike in the last minute, a close-range finish after Jamie Carragher had inadvertently teed him up when halting Petrov's advance. The Croatian, not Suarez, has a goal from each of his three League outings but it is the Uruguayan's Liverpool sitting pretty this morning.

Liverpool (4-4-2): Reina; Kelly (Skrtel, 30), Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Henderson (Rodriguez, 76), Lucas, Adam, Downing; Kuyt, Suarez (Carroll, 76).

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson; Eagles (Tuncay, 56), Muamba (M Davies, 26), Reo-Coker, Petrov; Klasnic, K Davies (Pratley, 71).

Referee Lee Probert

Man of the match Suarez (Liverpool)

Match rating 8/10

scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape