Late Joe Cole strike eases pressure on Roy Hodgson
Goals from Torres and Cole give Liverpool crucial win after Bolton had taken the lead through Davies
In the build-up to Saturday’s game Roy Hodgson’s future looked to be in the balance, with key members of the club’s board believed to be unhappy with the 63-year-old’s performance during his six months in charge of the club.
Thankfully for the under-fire manager, a last-gasp strike from Joe Cole ensured Liverpool left Anfield victorious in their first game of 2011, helping to relieve the pressure on the former Fulham boss.
Liverpool’s performance was a considerable improvement on what was offered against Wolverhampton Wanderers three days before. The Reds’ exchanged long-balls for calculated passes, with Steven Gerrard, who only featured after Raul Meireles was taken off with an injury, controlling the game throughout his time on the pitch.
It was Bolton, however, who opened the scoring, with Kevin Davies latching on to a well-placed free kick from Matthew Taylor to give the visitors the lead on the brink of half-time, much to the displeasure of the Anfield faithful, who greeted the half-time whistle with a chorus of boos as Liverpool once again looked set to drop points.
The equaliser came early in the second half with Gerrard floating a perfectly weighted pass over the top of the Wanderers defence to Fernando Torres, who produced a world-class finish to bring the home side level.
Liverpool continued to dominate throughout the second period, allowing Bolton little time and space on the ball and pressing high up the field, playing the pass and move style of football which has been lacking at Anfield since the Reds’ unsuccessful title challenge back in 2009.
In the end it was left to Cole, who Hodgson had brought on to replace David N’gog, to secure the win for Liverpool, latching on to a pass from Maxi Rodriguez and tapping in from close range.
It is yet to be seen whether this win is enough to keep Hodgson in a job at Anfield. Liverpool’s owners, the Fenway Sports Group, are known for their long-term vision and thus its unlikely principle owner John W Henry and club chairman Tom Werner will move to replace Hodgson based upon one result.
The three points will however come as a great relief to Hodgson and his players, with the win -and the confidence boost that comes with it -being valuable heading into a month which will see Liverpool face Manchester United in the FA Cup and Everton in the Merseyside derby.