Several years ago this was a regular in the Premier League schedule and there were years where Bolton put up an almighty resistance against their “bigger” rivals. However, there’s no doubt that Liverpool are firm favourites this time around and Brendan Rodgers will be hoping for a straightforward win, to at least give his side some chance of silverware this term.
It would be fair to say that the league certainly has gone out of the window for Liverpool, with the Reds now sat in 8th and a mammoth 17 points behind leaders Chelsea. The campaign has been poor to say the least and several questions have been hanging over Rodgers’ future as manager. For now, he’ll just be happy that he’s been able to resurrect his teams form over recent weeks. Following a comprehensive loss to Manchester United in mid-December, the Anfield outfit are now nine games unbeaten and this has come despite fixtures against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea. They’ve also managed to win three from their last four and when you again consider that their most recent game was against the Blues, this is sufficient evidence to us that they are in very good form at the moment.
However, Bolton also approach this game full of form and there certainly aren’t any suggestions that the Trotters will roll over for their opponents. Since Neil Lennon took over, the club have gone from strength to strength and have now lost just one of their last twelve games. Additionally, they’ve won two from their last three, while on the road they’ve suffered just the one defeat from their last five. Whether or not such a record can be replicated now Premier League opponents have entered the picture remains to be seen – but judging by the past few weeks, Bolton shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Liverpool are not expected to risk Steven Gerrard for the clash, as they bid to preserve their skipper for their league campaign. Instead, they may turn to some fringe players, with Jordan Rossiter, Joe Allen and Mario Balotelli all tipped to be involved in some capacity. The big news for Bolton meanwhile revolves former England and Liverpool striker Emile Heskey. He is almost certain to start against his old club, although Neil Lennon won’t be able to call upon Craig Davies, Marc Tierney, Mark Davies, Max Clayton and Lee Chung-yong due to injury.
Even though Bolton have a sterling record over recent weeks, we just don’t think they have what it takes to dislodge their opponents. Liverpool have also improved drastically over the last couple of months and armed with the home advantage, our tip will be a 2-0 win for Brendan Rodgers’ team.