Bolton Wanderers 1, Liverpool 2
Macron Stadium, Horwich (22,171)
Liverpool scorers: Sterling 86′, Coutinho 90′
Bolton scorer: Gudjohnsen 59′ (pen)
Simon Mignolet – 7
Had to be alert early on, and was in the right position to save a Wheater header. Passed all the tests Bolton threw at him, even if there weren’t any difficult saves to make.
Emre Can – 8
Set up Sterling for the equalising goal with an inventive lofted pass. Ran the game once he moved forward into midfield, and had a rasping left foot shot well saved by the Bolton keeper Lonergan.
Martin Skrtel – 5.5
Even though the Bolton player dived, his sloppy challenge gave away the penalty from which Bolton scored. Looked less comfortable on the right of the back three.
Mamadou Sakho – 6.5
Another solid game from Liverpool’s best defender.
Lazar Markovic – 6
Steven Gerrard – 5.5
Was ineffective in his central midfield position alongside Allen, but was better when pushed further forward late in the game.
Joe Allen – 5.5
Another poor performance from the Welshman, who’s struggling to find form in his bit-part role.
Alberto Moreno – 6
Had plenty of opportunities to cross from out wide, and mixed them well with cut-backs to Coutinho.
Adam Lallana – 5.5
Like Allen, Lallana doesn’t impress when given his chance in the first team, but this could change given the heavy fixture schedule in the coming months.
Philippe Coutinho – 8
Another good performance from the Brazilian was capped off with an outstanding long range goal to win the game for Liverpool. More strikes like this will see him up there with the best in Europe, never mind the Premier League.
Raheem Sterling – 7.5
Created a good chance for himself early on, turning Wheater inside out, but his left foot shot was weak and poorly executed. Was unlucky with a good right-footed effort from just in the area which hit the post. Finished excellently with a left foot volley, after being put in on goal by Emre Can.
Jordan Henderson – 6
(Lallana 54′) Added the bite in midfield which Allen and Gerrard couldn’t provide.
Fabio Borini – 6
(Markovic 65′) Made some good runs but was often crowded out by the opposition, or even his own team-mates.
Daniel Sturrudge – 6
(Allen 70′) Like Borini, he came into the game when Liverpool were in all out attacking mode and struggled to find space, but their presence made room for Sterling and Coutinho to work their magic.
Liverpool stuck with the now familiar 3-4-2-1 formation, but the centre of midfield was shook up as Allen and Gerrard formed a new, and ultimately ineffective pairing.
Can moved central in the second half, as he did against West Ham, but this move only became effective when he was pushed forward into midfield.
With the team a goal down against ten men, they were able to take more risks and revert to a back four formation, with Can moving forward into a roaming midfield position through the middle.
Gerrard moved forward, and became slightly more effective linking up play, but the main difference was the introduction of Borini and Sturridge, who made space for Coutinho and Sterling. The latter pair now had more of the one-on-one opportunities against opposition defenders, which is something they thrive on.
Henderson added an engine in midfield, and kept things ticking over with Gerrard. Borini acted as a very attacking right winger, using his energy and speed to retreat to a wing-back position when the team were defending.