We round-up the best newspaper reaction from Liverpool’s dramatic 2-1 win at Bolton in the FA Cup fourth round replay at the Macron Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Reds looked to be heading out of the competition for so long, as they simply couldn’t respond to Eidur Gudjohnsen’s penalty- harshly given by a consistently woeful Roger East.
Shots were coming back off the woodwork, defenders were blocking everything, and it looked set to be a miserable trip home for the away faithful. That is until Brendan Rodgers’ two young gems, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, turned the game on its head.
The Englishman fired home a nerveless volleyed finish four minutes from time, before the Brazilian curled in a majestic, dipping effort in stoppage-time. Rodgers’ men are now through to the fifth round, where they face a tough trip to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Ian Herbert of the Independent praised Liverpool’s team spirit on the night, and the impact of Coutinho in particular:
The resuscitation of Liverpool goes on. The football has been returning for weeks and here was as good a measure as you will find that there is spirit to go with it, too.
There was a calmness and presence of mind from Liverpool’s galaxy of talents, who threatened all night, and it was all the sweeter that Philippe Coutinho, the man Brendan Rodgers suggested this week should look for more goals, should finish the night off in such a spectacular way.
The Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce was critical of the Reds’ lack of ruthlessness, despite eventually coming away with the victory:
As has been the case so often this season, there was plenty to admire about the Reds up to the edge of the opposition penalty box but no ruthless streak.
Gerrard threatened early on. After some neat build up play, Adam Lallana teed up the captain but he fired too close to Lonergan. Coutinho was at the heart of everything best about Liverpool with his trickery and eye for a pass. One mesmerising run threatened to find a way through but David Wheater’s last-ditch challenged denied him.
The chances kept on coming. A left-footer from Sterling was spilled by Lonergan but the keeper recovered to prevent Lallana from tucking away the rebound.
Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail agreed with Pearce, comparing Rodgers’ side with Arsenal of years gone by:
Rodgers spoke in the run-up to the game about the manner in which his team had improved in recent weeks. It was easy to see his point but it is not an observation that extends to Liverpool’s work in front of goal.
They do have mitigating circumstances – their centre forwards are either not good enough or rarely fit enough – but they are in danger of becoming a little like the Arsenal side of a few seasons ago. Lovely to watch but inadequate at the art of scoring.
Will Burton of the Mirror questioned whether captain Steven Gerrard is now a part of Rodgers’ first-choice starting eleven, ahead of Saturday’s clash with Everton:
For the vast, vast majority of Steven Gerrard’s 17-year Liverpool career the 34-year-old has been the first name on the team sheet. But as the midfielder stepped out for his 700th appearance in the famous red shirt, have we finally received confirmation that Stevie G is no longer top dog at Anfield?
With the Merseyside derby in just three days time Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was always likely to rest his best players so seeing Gerrard named in the starting eleven was somewhat of a surprise.
First choice regulars Henderson, Lucas and Sturridge were all either on the bench or rested altogether so it’s likely that Gerrard is not only no longer Rodgers’ first choice, but he will not start in his last derby on Saturday.
Next up for Liverpool is Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton (5:30pm kick off GMT), followed by the visit of Tottenham next Tuesday.