Date: 5th February 2015 at 12:28am
Written by:

Liverpool set up an FA Cup fifth round clash away at Crystal Palace, courtesy of two late goals to see off a spirited Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium.

Superb goals in the last five minutes from Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho cancelled out a controversial penalty from Eidur Gudjohnson on the hour mark.

On a night when the Championship side also saw Neil Dann correctly sent off for two yellow cards, the Reds hit the woodwork three times, and deservedly went through on chances created.

Brendan Rodgers made two changes from the side that beat West Ham at the weekend, with Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard coming in for Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson.

That meant Raheem Sterling continued in the central strikers role, with Daniel Sturridge once again on the bench.

It was Sterling who came the closest to breaking the deadlock in an entertaining first half, when he curled a decent strike against the post from just inside the Bolton area.

Prior to that, the England man had forced a decent save from Bolton keeper Andy Lonergan with a left footed strike, whilst Philippe Coutinho struck narrowly wide from the edge of the box with the last kick of the first half.

Bolton had looked the most likely to trouble the Reds with crosses into the box, and that is how the controversial penalty incident came about on 58 minutes. Martin Skrtel’s header only went as far as the impressive 18-year-old Zach Clough, who turned the Slovakian in the box and went to ground.

Referee Roger East pointed to the spot, although replays suggested contact had been minimal. Gudjohnson stepped up to cooly send Mignolet the wrong way.

Perhaps the turning point in the game came less than ten minutes later, when the Trotters impressive defensive midfielder Neil Dann was shown a second yellow card for a cynical foul on Allen.

Eidur Gudjohnson had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 with a header from six yards, but the former Chelsea man headed straight into the grateful arms of Simon Mignolet.

Brendan Rodgers threw Fabio Borini, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge into the action, whilst Emre Can pushed into a midfield role as the Reds searched for that equaliser.

It looked as if it was going to be one of those nights, when Henderson’s strike deflected off David Wheater onto the post, before a stunning strike from Can was tipped onto the bar superbly by Lonergan.

But Liverpool eventually found a way past the Bolton defence after almost three hours of trying – when you consider the goalless first game at Anfield – and it was a special goal that did so.

The excellent Emre Can played a delightful chipped ball into the path of Raheem Sterling, who calmly side-foot volleyed his ninth goal of the season through the legs of Lonergan.

The goal seemed to suck the life out of Bolton, who had battled so hard for so long.

So it came as little surprise when the Reds scored a second, with the manner of the goal worthy of winning any cup tie.

Philippe Coutinho – who has been a thorn in the Bolton side all night – collected the ball from Jordan Henderson, cut inside and curled a delightful strike in off the underside of the bar to send the away fans wild, and Liverpool into the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Fabio Borini almost added a third after a superb exchange with Daniel Sturridge, but Longergan produced another fine save. It mattered little in the end, as Bolton were flat out by the time Coutinho had celebrated a week in which he signed a long term contract at Anfield in the best possible fashion.


Comments are closed.