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

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam