Spyin' Kop - Liverpool v Bolton - 27/8/11

Posted by SalisburyRed on August 26, 2011, 02:18:29 PM

During the interregnum at Anfield, a handful of names were bandied about as potential successors to Roy Hodgson. The return of the King made this discussion moot, but it is worth remembering that Owen Coyle’s name cropped up fairly regularly in conversation on account of his age and his apparent willingness to turn Bolton from a rough-and-ready bunch of bruisers to a slick, passing outfit. It would be interesting to see whether, some months on, those who spoke positively about Coyle have revised their opinion. Not only has his side retained a style of play centred on Kevin Davies’ aerial ability, but last season ended poorly. Seven defeats in the final nine games, including losses to Birmingham, Blackburn, Sunderland and Blackpool, show that Coyle still has much to prove.

As the season drew to a close, Liverpool had much more to be cheery about. With new owners and a new manager, the club was gripped by a new sense of purpose. This positivity has continued into the current campaign. Few expect Dalglish’s team to be title-winners by the end of the season, but if they are to finish in the top four, games like this need to be won.

Liverpool were victorious in this fixture last year, winning 2-1 in what proved to be Hodgson’s penultimate match in charge. The mood will undoubtedly be brighter this time around, although perhaps not for the visitors, who have lost their last nine Premier League games against the Reds. Bolton may have won at Anfield in the League Cup in 2003, but you have to go back to 1954 for their last top-flight win on the road against Liverpool.

Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Saturday, August 27
Anfield, Liverpool
Kick-off: 5.30pm

Bolton Wanderers honours

Football League Second Division/Division One (both second tier) champions – 1908–09, 1977–78, 1996–97.

Football League Division One (second tier) play-off winners – 1995, 2001.

Football League Third Division (third tier) champions – 1972-73

FA Cup winners – 1923, 1926, 1929, 1958.

FA Charity Shield winners – 1958

Football League Trophy winners – 1989

This week, Spyin' Kop spoke to a few of the regulars at The-Wanderer.co.uk. They were mainly sound, although there are certainly some who have no time for either Liverpool or RAWK. Anyway, read on...

1. Two games into the league season and there have certainly been plenty of goals for Bolton fans to see. What are your thoughts on your team at this early stage of the season? What are realistic end-of-season expectations?

Verbal - Very pleased so far. We were quite naive against City but they are a top team, so hopefully not many others can expose the space we leave as much.
Wire.Wanderer - Happy so far we played very well against QPR and with a bit more luck we could of took a point against City imo. Would be very pleased with a top ten finish.
LiOC - Good going forward, dodgy at the back. Any improvement on last year, top ten is realistic I believe.
Harry Genshaw - Happy so far but I'll be pleased when we've added a couple more. I see us finishing around 14th.

2. Who are your most important players going to be? Are there any youngsters at the club who we should be looking out for this year?

Verbal - Cahill, if he stays. We'll need him to combat Suarez at the weekend anyway. Apart from that Nigel Reo-Coker I feel is going to be very important to us this season...as is Klasnic, easily one of the best finishers in the league. Tuncay's arrival is some shrewd business, too. Joe Riley looked composed in the Carling Cup so hopefully he'll be alright.
Wire.Wanderer - I think for us I'd have to say Cahill if we can keep hold of him and Klasnic if we can keep him fit because he is always able to nick a goal. As for youngsters maybe Joe Riley if he gets a chance.
LiOC - Davies, Klasnic and Petrov. Riley who if Steinsson is injured will play on Saturday.
Harry Genshaw - A fit Klasnic will take some stopping. Our record at producing youngsters is god awful so I'm reserving judgement for now

3. Who are your worst players, the ones whose mere presence on the team sheet - let alone their performance - makes you groan?

Verbal - Zat Knight. Can block all day but then again so can a brick wall in the right place. Which Zat hardly ever is. And for a big lad he ain't half weak in the air, and in the tackle.
Wire.Wanderer - Marcos Alonso and Zat Knight always prone for a mistake.
LiOC - I close my eyes when the ball goes to Zat Knight.
Harry Genshaw - On a good day they all bring something to the table

4. Do you have any particularly strong memories, good or bad, of meetings between Liverpool and Bolton?

Verbal - Beating you in the Carling Cup a few years back 3-2 at Anfield, seeing Youri (I think) roll that penalty in in the last minute. Oh happy school days.
Wire.Wanderer - The League Cup game when we won 3-2 with Jay-Jay scoring a lovely free kick.
LiOC - No.
Harry Genshaw - The FA Cup win was at the start of our long awaited climb back up the divisions. A great night. Sadly, I was also at Anfield when Robbie Fowler ran riot against us bagging 4.

5. What kind of team do you expect to field on Saturday?

Verbal - Full strength apart from our crocked midfielders. Will be interesting to see who starts up front now Tuncay has arrived. Whatever it'll be a 4-4-2 with Mooamba and NRC in the middle.
Wire.Wanderer - The same team from the last 2 games I think.
LiOC - A pretty predictable line-up.
Harry Genshaw - It would be nice if we turned up for once. I suspect we will try and keep it tight at the back and nick one on the break.

6. Tell us what you think of Liverpool. How well do you reckon we'll do this season, and which player(s) of ours do you fear facing the most?

Verbal - Bit overhyped, some good buys and some bad. Carroll and Henderson were an embarrassment against Exeter. Skrtel is also a walking disaster. You still have Suarez though, who is so good that he's in my fantasy league team. Zat Knight will have him though.
Wire.Wanderer - I think you'll be in the top 6 to be honest and definately fear Suarez the most.
LiOC - What I think of Liverpool as a team? You've spent too much money on average players imo, although you'll probably finish 4-6th. Though if it was up to me you'd be relegated just to bring your ridiculous "fan" base down a few thousand pegs.
Harry Genshaw - I've always liked Liverpool. You've had some great players down the years and you hate the Manc scum as much as we do. I still think you're a way off a title winning side though. Can see you finishing 4th or 5th this year.

7. That drummer at the Reebok - I've never met anyone who appreciates his contribution to the atmosphere? Is he generally liked by the home crowd?

Verbal - Honestly could not give a shit. They are most effective when we are visited by wild tribesmen, or Blackburn fans, and use the drums as a method of communication.
Wire.Wanderer - It dosen't really bother me.
LiOC - No. I don't understand why they are there to be honest.
Harry Genshaw - Not fussed either way personally.

8. Jussi Jaaskelainen didn't have his best game against Man City. Has Owen Coyle made a mistake keeping him but letting Ali Al-Habsi go?

Verbal - Al Habsi didn't have his best game for Wigan against Norwich either. Jussi is a fading force but still by far our best keeper. Bogdan is one to watch but his mistake against Macclesfield shows some inexperience.
Wire.Wanderer - Al Habsi is a good keeper but is prone to a mistake like all goalkeepers are. I wouldn't call it a mistake for letting him go.
LiOC - Of course not. Jussi made one mistake, but has frequently over the years put in match saving performances. £4m was good business.
Harry Genshaw - There is a feeling amongst some that Jussi is on the slide. However, it's hard for a club of our limited means to hang onto 2 well paid players when there's a £4million carrot shoved under our noses.

9. On the subject of Coyle, what do you think of him as a manger?

Verbal - Good. Gets the most out of his players. Can be inflexible tactically at times but I guess that will come with experience. Is hit and miss in the transfer market, but I'll take it if for every Marcos Alonso we also get a Stuart Holden.
Wire.Wanderer - Very good, positive in defeat and he gets the most out of his players. Gives younger players belief, look at Jack Wilshire for example.
LiOC - He's great, enthusiastic, but tactically naiive at times. Will improve.
Harry Genshaw - He's great. Fact. As one of your ex bosses would say.

10. Finally, give us a score prediction.

Verbal - Score draw, with Suarez scoring for you and Davies penalty for us. Probably because Skrtel fouled someone.
Wire.Wanderer - Score draw.
LiOC - 2-2. Davies and Petrov to score for us.
Harry Genshaw - 2-0 to you men.

Many thanks to the quartet of contributors.

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