Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool – Match Preview

With only one home win all season Bolton won’t be taking anything for granted as they continue their fight for survival against Liverpool who are still chasing the top four.

The Trotters’ have taken just four points from a possible 30 at the Reebok Stadium is the primary reason why they are currently battling to beat the drop. Owen Coyle’s men have endured a truly awful campaign with injuries taking their toll on a threadbare squad and the managers’ dealings in the transfer market failing to pay dividends. Two wins and a draw over Christmas indicated that they might be turning a corner but defeat at Manchester United last Saturday left them rooted firmly in the bottom three. Coyle suffered another blow during the week as Gary Cahill finally completed his protracted move to Chelsea and he will be looking are David Wheater and Zat Knight to hold the back four together. Doing that at home proved difficult in the first half of the season losing eight games and conceding 24 goals. Wheater and Knight will need to be at their best to quell a Liverpool attack that his hungry for goals and provide a platform for Bolton to end their dismal form at the Reebok.

Kenny Dalglish will be expecting his players to return to reignite their pursuit of Champions League after seeing the win just one of the last five. The loss of Luis Suarez to suspension has certainly hit them hard in the goal-scoring department and they are yet to find the net in 2012. Andy Carroll has struggled to step up in the Uruguayan’s absence and his impact from the bench in last week’s goalless draw with Stoke was minimal. However Dalglish might see an opportunity for the clubs record signing to regain some of his confidence against a fragile Bolton back four. The Geordie has found it difficult to adapt to Liverpool’s playing style and the Anfield chief could consider tinkering his system to play on Carroll’s aerial strength. It could prove to be a shrewd move from the Scot as he attempts to close the five point gap Chelsea have built ahead of them. The Reds are strong on the road winning five times on their travels and will be confident of sealing sixth victory against the struggling Trotters.

Bolton Wanderers 19th : 16 points

Last six: L W D L W L

Team news: Seven first team players are missing for Bolton but Mikel Alonso could return.

Key Player: David Wheater

With Gary Cahill long departed the Reebok Stadium it’s up to Wheater to lead the Bolton back four. His strength in the air will be put under a firm examination against Andy Carroll and he’ll need to come out on top if Bolton are to avoid defeat.

Liverpool 7th : 35 points

Last six: D L W D D W

Team news: Luis Suarez is still suspended but Daniel Agger could return after picking up a knock against Stoke.

Key Player: Andy Carroll

It’s been a rough season for the Geordie striker but he’ll be determined to prove his worth to Liverpool on Saturday. The Reds know where Carroll’s strengths lie and if they get the ball into the box then expect the big striker to punish Bolton without remorse.

PREDICTION 

Bolton’s form has picked up of late but their they seem to struggle at the Reebok and Liverpool should become the ninth team to win their this season. The Reds are still chasing Champions League football and their strong record on the road should see them leave with three points.

Score 0-2