Bolton V. Liverpool : Reds Player Rankings and Post Match Analysis

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Bolton V. Liverpool : Reds Player Rankings and Post Match Analysis
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Crucial Clash of Today's Game?

It is not often that Liverpool FC visits the Reebok Stadium to face Bolton Wanders while being below their hosts in the Premier League Table.

However, that is exactly what Roy Hodgson's Liverpool team does today. Taking the short trip from Liverpool to Bolton, the Reds find themselves still in the relegation zone, eight places below their opponents.

The only consolation for Hodgson is that getting a win and three points would see Liverpool climb out of the bottom three. Yet they would still not leap-frog today's hosts. Because of a dismal goal differential, the Reds would rise up only into the mid-table.

But Liverpool does come into the game on the back of a desperately needed win last week against Blackburn Rovers and a far more encouraging performance. This win was attributed to the Liverpool manager finally shuffling his pack into a more balanced hand, with the correct players playing in their appropriate positions.

Since this game is on the road, Hodgson needs to maintain this formation going into this game and not go back into his defensive shell.

Arguably, the one player that did not perform as well as some of the others was Joe Cole. Although he did gain an assist from a cross to Fernando Torres for his goal, Cole was a peripheral figure for a lot of the game.

To really get the most out of his mercurial talent, Cole must play behind Torres, letting captain Steven Gerrard slip into midfield. This would in no way curb his attacking instincts but allow him to ghost into the box on occasions and more importantly to control the midfield.

Raul Meireles was a revelation in the center of midfield. He was a completely changed player to when he was played out of position on the flank. Liverpool fans got to see what he could do last week and they hope that Hodgson has learned his lesson.

What a formidable midfield partnership Gerrard and Meireles could make!

On defense, it is likely that goal hero and defensive rock Sotirios Kyrgiakos will retain his place. Bolton will pump balls into the box as Blackburn did, and the big Greek is our best defense in these sorts of attacks.

The fullback positions are the problems for Liverpool. With Glen Johnson in doubt and Daniel Agger likely to be out, it is likely that Jamie Carragher will once again fill in at right back.

On attack, fans hope that Torres' goal last week can be a springboard that launches his season. Certainly, the Spaniard looked a lot more lively and interested in the game last time out, and if given the service he should deliver.

Liverpool must build on last week's encouraging display and three points must be earned once again. But against a tough and battling Bolton, led no doubt by Kevin Davies, any victory will be hard fought.

Roy Hodgson cannot afford anything less than a win again, or the wolves will be back closer to his door come the final whistle.

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