Thursday 21 September 2017

Anfield revels in Dalglish effect

Liverpool 3 Bolton 1

Tim Rich , at Anfield

When Liverpool last beat Bolton eight months and an eternity ago, the photographs were of the manger embracing his assistant and the goalscorer with images of a league table that showed the club had clambered a little further from the relegation zone. Roy Hodgson lasted another eight days, Sammy Lee is gone, Joe Cole is in the departure lounge and Liverpool, however briefly it may be, are top of the Premier League. That, in short, is the 'Dalglish Effect'.

This was Liverpool's best start to a season since 1994. But just as Jamie Carragher rushed around ordering his players to get a grip of their emotions after Charlie Adam's third goal had crushed whatever aspirations Bolton might have had, they know at Anfield that nothing matters until May.

The match was a triumph for the men Kenny Dalglish has brought to Merseyside. Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam scored, Stewart Downing ought to have done while for Jose Enrique this must seem a world away from the Russian roulette of being part of Newcastle's defence. The scoreline aside, the most interesting aspect of the evening was that Andy Carroll began this match on the bench. However, what followed was a vindication of Dalglish's judgment.

Between them, Henderson, Adam and Downing produced some unanswerable demonstrations of their quality. The surprise was it produced only a single goal before the interval. It began with a wonderful cross that, delivered with the outside of Luis Suarez's boot, was met first time by Downing and pushed away high to his left by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Dirk Kuyt retrieved the ricochet, played it back to Henderson, who had his first shot blocked and thrashed the ball home at the second attempt.

Suarez, when clean through, sent his chip on to the roof of the net. Kuyt delivered a shot that careered the wrong side of the post. Martin Skrtel, on as a sub for the injured Martin Kelly, headed home Adam's corner on 52 minutes. Less than a minute later, Adam himself almost walked through what was theoretically the heart of Bolton's defence to ensure Bolton's 10th successive defeat in this fixture.

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