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Player Ratings: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Liverpool

Bolton crashed out of the FA Cup last night, but not with out a fight or a spirited performance.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Despite missing fourteen senior players, Bolton still managed to match an extremely expensively assembled Premier League team for nearly every kick in the game, with only two moments of brilliance managing to help Liverpool finally overcome the ten-manned Wanderers, and see the Whites knocked out of the FA Cup.

The game, for the most part, was a carbon copy of the original game at Anfield: Bolton chose to surrender possession to the technically superior Reds, in order to make an incredibly solid back line which Liverpool would find difficult to break down, then hopefully catch them out on the counter.

The game plan was going exactly as hoped, with Liverpool constantly being left frustrated at being unable to get past the resolute Bolton defence, with the Trotters looking dangerous on the counter.

It seemed too good to be true when the referee gave a penalty for a 'foul' on Zach Clough in the area, and Eidur Gudjohnsen stepped up to calmly put Bolton into the lead. And it did prove too good to be true, as eight minutes later, Neil Danns was handed a second booking for a reckless challenge and Bolton were reduced to ten men.

Despite contnuing to attack and creating some great chances to double the lead, the inevitable was always glooming. So when Raheem Sterling finally managed to score past Bolton, and then Philipe Coutinho scored yet another late, late winner for Liverpool, it was hardly surprising. But that didn't make it any easier to take, and as I write this the morning after, I still feel pain in my heart.

Regardless though, I am incredibly proud of my team for their performance against one of the best teams in the country. They took them to the very death playing with ten-men, and with a centre back & a 36 year old leading the line. It certainly wouldn't have been a cruel miss justice had we managed to hold on.

Sidenote: I missed the first twenty minutes or so of the game due to the rage inducing traffic.

Bolton Wanderers:

Andy Lonergan - 7

I'm sorry to beat this drum again, but Lonergan is really starting to worry me. He made some very good saves on the night yes, especially when he tipped Emre Can's shot onto the crossbar, but as I've said many time: we know he's a good shot stopper and it was the rest of his game that he'd improved so much in recent months.

My main problem with Lonergan's performance against Liverpool was his positioning for when Sterling went through on goal; he had no idea whether he was coming or going, and if it hadn't have been for a superb challenge by Dervite, we'd have gone a goal down then and there.

Before you read any further, yes, all three centre backs have got a nine rating from me because they were all bloody excellent.

David Wheater - 9

Starting with David Wheater, it looked at one point that his time at Bolton may be coming to an end, but I've been incredibly impressed with his performances since he started coming into the team again - last night was no exception.

He was a giant at the back, winning countless headers every time Liverpool foolishly crossed into his domain. He was also very composed at the back and cut out several attacks with persistent and well timed tackling.

Dorian Dervite - 9

After a slight wobble in form lately, Dervite was back to his best against Liverpool with a fantastic display.

His last ditch tackle on Sterling, when the youngster was destined to score, had me up cheering over its perfectness - and he played in a similar vein for the rest of the match. He threw himself in front of countless shots and, at points, was defying the laws of actual life in the way he prevented chances from going in.

Tim Ream - 9

I lost count of the amount of times I shouted "REEEEEEAMMMMMMMMM!" at the top of my lungs last night, because my boy was brilliant in the back line.

He was composed as ever on the ball, and his defensive game was even better than it has been in recent games.

He was great in the air and won back possession for the Trotters on several occasions, turning Liverpool attacks into a Bolton counters.

Liam Feeney - 8

Feeney has been stuck in a bit of a rut of form recently.

He's played a lot of football and has worked tremendously hard every time he's taken to the pitch, that resulted in him looking rather spent with a lot of time to go against Wolves.

But he responded very well and put in one of his best performances in a White shirt. He, as always, was up and down the pitch for the entirety of the match, limiting the pacey Alberto Moreno to very little and making some excellent crosses of his own up the other end.

Neil Danns - 6

Whilst I don't believe Danns being sent off was the main factor in our late demise (I actually think not replacing Clough's pace was) it certainly played a part by adding to the load on an already weary set of legs. It was a foolish challenge from Danns, one that shouldn't really be made anyway, let alone when on a yellow card.

But I think you can put it down to the crowd fuelling him on to win the challenge, and his own genuine belief that he would have been able to reach it.

I only really fault him for not hitting the player hard enough. His energy and composure in the midfield will be sorely missed when we travel to play Derby on Saturday, but at least he'll finally get a rest.

Josh Vela - 8

I was talking to a fella on Twitter before the game who said something along the lines of "Bolton's team is really dull, no stand out players there" and I replied with "wait until you watch Josh Vela and Zach Clough".

I'm happy to report that neither let me down, and Vela especially, did our club and all the work that's gone into our academy very proud. He combated hard in a midfield that was playing very deep and constantly trying to block off Liverpool's route to goal, and he played with a level of maturity that is way beyond his tender years.

Going forward, his passing was once again immaculate, with several defence splitting through ball leading to chances for the Whites. One incredible piece of skill, when he flicked the ball over his head over by the byline, nearly led to Bolton opening up the Liverpool defence.

He even managed to outplay Steven Gerrard.

Dean Moxey - 7

We're seeing somewhat of a renaissance of Dean Moxey's career at Bolton. At one point it did seem as if he'd never play for the club again, but lately he's proved to be a very useful asset for Neil Lennon.

His height and no-nonsens approach to defending was well welcomed at the back, and he wasn't shy at going forward and trying to help the team out in that regard - even coming close to scoring against Liverpool once again.

Zach Clough - 7

This young man is going to be a star for this club. He looked completely at ease against top quality opposition, in only his third game for the club.

His drive and skill on the ball was vital to Bolton's plan, and once he was taken off we desperately missed his pace on the counter.

Oh, and he won a penalty completely fairly after doing a brilliant piece of skill.

Eidur Gudjohnsen - 7

It was a mixed game for Eidur. Whilst on the ball he was breathtaking at times, easily beating players with his unmatched skill and control and moving Bolton forward with his passing.

He also lived up to his name of the 'Iceman', as he cooly dispatched a penalty when all the pressure in the world was upon his shoulders.

However, he still hasn't managed to find his shooting boots in open play - with him being guilty of missing a glorious chance from Feeney's cross, when he headed straight into Mignolet's arms.

Matt Mills - 7

When the team news was finally announced it left fan and pundit alike scratching their heads, Neil Lennon's line up was rather hard to decipher.

But it became apparent once the teams took to the pitch, that centre back Matt Mills would be leading the line up front. I'd be hard pressed to falter him for his performance or his effort in such an alien position, he was a constant ariel menace to the Liverpool back line, won countless headers, and was surprisingly good on the ball.

Lets be honest, as a striker, he was kind of ineffective, with most of his headers sailing gently into Mignolet's arms and him not really knowing what to do with the ball at his feet. But as I said, I'm not complaining because as a defender playing upfront he did a sterling job. Also helped out a lot at defending set pieces too.


Liam Trotter - 6

I don't really get why Trotter is being made out to be the scapegoat. He came on to offer fresh legs and provided that, making a couple of brilliant tackles and making some neat passes.


Simon Mignolet - 6

I find it insane that Liverpool didn't sign Victor Valdes, because Mignolet is incredibly dodgy and is constantly one weak punch away from conceding a goal.

Emre Can - 8

I was really impressed with Can, at the back he was composed and strong, and going forward he was almost unstoppable - it took a good Lonergan save to deny him a goal after a mazy run. I can't help but feel he's wasted at the back however, and would certainly be better used in the midfield as he's more effective than Liverpool's other players there. It was his brilliant cross to Sterling that finally managed to break the resilient Bolton defence.

Martin Skrtel - 7

Run ragged at times by Matt Mills, Skrtl was the worst of the three Liverpool defenders. He was sucked into Zach Clough's plan to draw a foul, and was generally quite panicky on the ball.

Mamadou Sakho - 9

I've been extremely impressed by Sakho in the past two games. Whilst liable to a clumbsy mistake from time-to-time, it's startling how good he is on the ball. He controlled the pace of the game for Liverpool by using the ball intelligently and continuously restarting moves.

Lazar Markovic - 6

Definitely an exciting player who's very good on the ball, but he found his opportunities to express himself limited against a stubborn Bolton back line. His game was cut short due to injury.

Steven Gerrard - 5

L.A. can't come soon enough for Stevie G, playing in the holding midfield role, he was utterly dreadful and found it hard to compete with his far superior Josh Vela.

Joe Allen - 4

Completely ineffectual in every aspect of the game, Liverpool missed the solidity which Lucas offers.

Alberto Moreno - 5

The Spanish speedster was no where near as dangerous as I thought he'd be and, a couple of crosses aside, was marshalled very well by Feeney. Surprisingly, the left wing-back also found Feeney difficult to cope with, as the winger managed to supply several great crosses from his side.

Adam Lallana - 3

Genuinely forgot Lallana was even on the pitch. Awful.

Philpe Coutinho - 9

Easily Liverpool's most dangerous player in attack, his quick feet and sharp mind led to most of Liverpool's chances and his, quite inevitable, goal was a thing of beauty.

Raheem Sterling - 7

It only took him 176 minutes of football and about 47 chances, but Sterling finally managed to score against Bolton, and it was a very good finish. He's so much better in the space behind the striker, instead of up front on his own, as his goal proved.


Jordan Henderson - 7

Used the ball intelligently upon his introduction, and was unfortunate to see an effort deflect on to the post.

Daniel Sturridge - 6

Sturrdige returned to the Macron to a standing ovation, but soon spoiled it by acting like a big man and squaring up to Josh Vela for no apparent reason. Shite house. Had one smart flick which played through Borini and looked threatening.

Fabio Borini - 6

Made a few good runs but his finishing was unintelligent, bizarre that he's on the bench instead of Balotelli.