Scott Sellars has not sacrificed the chance of a championship medal with Newcastle only to hitch a lift out of the Premiership with Bolton.
A schooling under the likes of Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Howard Wilkinson is ideal preparation for a role of playmaker at Burnden Park but his new colleagues must cram their own revision if Bolton are to pass the Premiership examination.
Sharing a central midfield role with the sparkling Sasa Curcic, Sellars brought a previously rare poise and invention to the Bolton approach play. However, as their joint-manager, Colin Todd, was quick to point out, their current stock of players must be ready to adapt.
"I was disappointed with the contribution of our strikers. There was not enough movement off the ball," Todd said. Bolton looked threatening in the Liverpool penalty area, but few genuine chances were created.
The Liverpool manager, Roy Evans, might also have been bemoaning a striker's lack of contribution had it not been for one act of Stan Collymore theatre. Bolton surrendered possession on the left flank, Collymore bemused Gerry Taggart, dodged Gudni Bergsson and clipped home low and hard.
Liverpool suffered a genuine scare shortly after as Curcic danced clear into the box to hit the foot of the post. The Serb's cruel fortunes were compounded as he gifted possession for the goal, which arrived just as Liverpool were beginning to convert control into pressure.
Collymore's personal performance mirrored that of his team, initially unsure but gradually finding its feet. His goal reintroduced the swagger into his step, though.
However, the Collymore partnership with Fowler still appears to be based on frail foundations. Roy Evans may have to trade some individual trickery for a more predictable pattern.
Goal: Collymore (61).
Bolton (3-5-2): Branagan; Fairclough, Bergsson, Taggart; Green, Curcic, Sellars, Todd (Patterson 76), Phillips; McGinlay, De Freitas. Substitutes not used: McAnespie, Davison (gk).
Liverpool: (3-5-2) James; Wright, Scales, Harkness; Jones, McManaman, Clough, Barnes, Bjornebye; Fowler, Collymore. Substitutes not used: Matteo, Charnock, Warner (gk).
Referee: M Bodenham (Cornwall).
Booking: Liverpool: Harkness.
Man of the match: Barnes.
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