After Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at home to Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup, Jack Lusby assesses each Reds’ contribution on the night.
LIVERPOOL 0-0 BOLTON
FA Cup Fourth Round – Anfield – Saturday, 24th January 2015
Simon Mignolet (out of 10) – 6
With Bolton primarily focussed on defending their keep, Simon Mignolet had little to do in goal on Saturday. The Trotters had no shots on target at Anfield.
Barring one hairy moment, when the No. 22 chested the ball out from his box and dawdled in possession with Eidur Gudjohnson bearing down on him, Mignolet coped excellently.
Glen Johnson – 5
Rodgers had hinted at a right centre-back role for Glen Johnson prior to the game, but if Saturday’s performance is anything to go by the England international may fare better in his natural right-back role.
While not wholly troubled by Bolton’s attack, Johnson’s failure to perform the role required—create play from the back and bring the ball into midfield—underlined his misery.
To his credit Johnson grew into the game as Liverpool threw everything at Bolton towards the end of the game, but his conservative display arguably helped the Reds into that desperate position.
Emre Can – 7
Johnson’s involvement saw Emre Can take the rested Martin Skrtel’s place in the centre of the defensive three, and saw his attributes stymied in a limited defensive role.
Nevertheless, on the whole Can completed his duties with ease and distinction.
Vitally, the 21-year-old was consistently available as an outlet for Mignolet, Johnson, Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho when any of Liverpool’s other defensive players were under pressure.
Mamadou Sakho – 8
Sakho was interestingly targeted by Lennon’s side, with former Red Emile Heskey persistently challenging the French centre-back in the air and in possession.
A defensive behemoth, Sakho dealt with the threat of Heskey and, barring one sloppy back-pas s—cruelly latched onto as a “nervous prod” by BT Sport’s co-commentator Gary McAllister — was an ensured presence at the back for the Reds.
Javier Manquillo – 4.5
Brought into the side in place of Lazar Markovic, on-loan right-back Javier Manquillo faced a difficult challenge in replicating the majestic Serb’s attacking thrust, and duly faded.
Manquillo should be limited to a defensive role at full-back.
Substituted on 67 minutes.
Joe Allen – 5
With Lucas Leiva relegated to the bench for this tie, returning midfielder Allen could have made a statement against Bolton as a contender for Liverpool’s defensive midfield role in the future.
Unfortunately, so soon after recovering from injury, Allen struggled to grasp the occasion and, while his pressing play in midfield did add intensity, the midfielder managed to produce little of note.
Substituted on 67 minutes.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Alongside Allen in midfield, Jordan Henderson was stuck in a piggyback role much like when supporting Steven Gerrard in central midfield earlier this season.
This stymied the Liverpool vice-captain’s ability to support the attack, and the side notably struggled.
With the introduction of Lucas Leiva, Henderson blossomed, with his passing crisp, while he came close to providing a winner late on after a neat one-two with Lallana inside the Bolton penalty area.
Jose Enrique – 5
Much like Manquillo, Jose Enrique failed to replicate the devastating attacking forays of Liverpool’s regular left wing-back, Alberto Moreno.
While Enrique was a useful outlet moving forward, and supplied some dangerous crosses, his overall output left a lot to be desired—his tactical ability let him down on this occasion.
Substituted at half-time.
Adam Lallana – 5
Returning to the side in place of Steven Gerrard, after a spell out with injury, Lallana failed to grasp the pace of the encounter, often slowing down moves when on the ball—although his ability in possession was useful.
It was a surprise that the former Southampton man lasted the full 90 minutes.
Philippe Coutinho – 6.5
After achieving such impressive consistency as Liverpool’s primary playmaker in recent weeks, Philippe Coutinho failed to hit the heights against Bolton.
Closed down swiftly and starved of time in possession, Coutinho was continually frustrated by a committed Trotters back line.
He remained Liverpool’s most dangerous creative outlet however, with six key passes.
Raheem Sterling – 5.5
Operating again in a lone striker role, Raheem Sterling—like Coutinho—struggled to find space between a solid Bolton back three.
He endeavoured to twist away from the clutches of centre-back Matt Mills, but with just one shot on target Sterling failed to trouble Bolton’s goal.
A switch to a right wing-back role on further marginalised a player who would have benefited from a rest at some point during this tie.
Lazar Markovic, on for Enrique, 45’ – 7
Arguably Liverpool’s most effective attacker, Markovic made a significant impact on the game in his 45-minute display, but lack a vital end-product.
Lucas Leiva, on for Allen, 67’ – 6
Helped to steady the ship and provide Henderson with more license to support the attack, came close with a long-range effort that soared too close to goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
Fabio Borini, on for Manquillo, 67’ – 5.5
Made little improvement on Sterling’s contribution in the lone striker role, and his glancing headed effort should have tested Bogdan.
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