Liverpool 3-1 Bolton

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport
Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson
Adam and Henderson both scored their first goals for Liverpool

Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam scored their first goals for Liverpool as they went top of the Premier League with a deserved victory over Bolton.

Defender Martin Skrtel netted their other goal, a powerful close-range header from Adam's whipped corner.

Henderson opened the scoring by curling a left-footed strike into the top corner of the net, while Adam found the target with a low shot from 18 yards.

Bolton scored a consolation through Ivan Klasnic's close-range strike.

In the corresponding fixture last season on New Year's Day, Liverpool were in the midst of a crisis. Roy Hodgson was in charge and the public voted with their feet as just 35,400 turned up - their lowest Premier League attendance for almost seven years.

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Fernando Torres scored his last goal for Liverpool at Anfield that day, and after a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn four days later, Hodgson was sacked with the Reds 12th in the table, and Kenny Dalglish installed in temporary charge.

Less than eight months later, the mini-revolution under "King Kenny" is well under way.

Torres may have left, but in Luis Suarez the Kop have a new hero and with new signings Henderson, Stewart Downing and Adam all influential against Bolton, there is every reason to believe they have the nucleus of a side that is capable of firing them into the Champions League and beyond.

All three were superb against Bolton, as was Suarez, and victory was thoroughly deserved and superbly achieved with steel in defence, craft in midfield and menace in attack.

Bolton offered the occasional glimpse going forward, with Martin Petrov's volley palmed behind by Pepe Reina and Mark Davies' tame shot easily collected by the Spanish keeper.

But by and large the first half was one-way traffic, with Liverpool the dominant force.

Downing could have got Liverpool off to a flyer only for his control to let him down at the crucial point, but it was not long before the deadlock was broken and the former Middlesbrough winger was again involved.

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Suarez sent over a fine cross from the left flank with the outside of his right foot and Downing met it with a stunning volley that Jussi Jaaskelainen superbly kept out at full stretch.

But the pressure was relentless and the ball fell to Henderson, who at the second attempt found the top right-hand corner of the net from 12 yards with a fine left-footed curling strike.

Petrov then had Bolton's best chance of the half before Jaaskelainen prevented Suarez from getting on the scoresheet, while Dirk Kuyt was inches away from making it 2-0.

Suarez's movement was a constant menace to Bolton and the Uruguayan was found by Adam with a fine ball over the top which he latched onto with ease.

However, having done the hard bit in beating Bolton's offside trap, he casually dinked the ball over Jaaskelainen's crossbar from 18 yards when one on one with the keeper.

Davies then went on a surging run through the heart of Liverpool's midfield from his own half but his dragged shot from the edge of the area was straight at Reina.

Substitute Skrtel - on for Martin Kelly - doubled Liverpool's lead minutes after the break, powerfully heading in Adam's whipped corner from close range.

A minute later it was 3-0, with Adam joining Henderson in scoring his first goal for the club, beating Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area with a low right-footed shot that found the corner of the net.

Liverpool were then denied a penalty when Zat Knight tripped Suarez with his hands but with the game all but over, the intensity dropped considerably.

Klasnic saw his effort well blocked by Skrtel but Bolton did manage a late consolation.

And it was Klasnic who scored it, beating Reina from close range after Jamie Carragher's mistake let Petrov in.

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