Match Preview: Bolton (h)

It’s a north-west match up in this year’s Boxing Day fixture at Anfield, with the possibility of Sammy Lee sending out the team against his former club.

However, Rafa Benitez is expected to have recovered in time for the festive fixture after missing Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal whilst recovering from his recent kidney operation.

Defender Martin Skrtel is another one hoping to make a return, after missing the last two and a half months through injury. But the Slovakian international is expected to be rested until New Year, to ensure a full recovery.

Fernando Torres and Fabio Aurelio remain on the sidelines, although both are expected to return over the festive period. Full back Alvaro Arbeloa has picked up a hamstring injury ruling him out and opening the door for youngster Stephen Darby. Left back Andrea Dossena remains an injury doubt meaning Emiliano Insua is likely to continue where he left off against Arsenal after an impressive performance.

Midfielder Javier Mascherano is available again after suffering from flu at the weekend.

The corresponding fixture between the two sides was just last month, with Liverpool enjoying a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard. This fixture last season saw Liverpool run out 4-0 winners.


Liverpool: Reina, Darby, Carragher, Agger, Hyypia, Insua, Dossena, Babel, Benayoun, Gerrard, Alonso, Lucas, Mascherano, Riera, Keane, Torres, Kuyt, Cavalieri, Skrtel, El Zhar, Ngog.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, A O’Brien, Samuel, Nolan, Riga, McCann, Muamba, Gardner, Taylor, Davies, Elmander, Al Habsi, Shittu, Smolarek, Basham, Fojut.

Referee: Alan Wiley