Liverpool face Bolton in the fourth-round replay after the Championship side held the Reds to a draw at Anfield.
The Premier League side created enough chances in the previous leg but couldn’t get past Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan who had an outstanding game. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will most likely play a weaker side as they have a derby coming up and that could provide Bolton the chance for an upset which has been a feature in this season’s FA Cup.
Lineups and Tactics
With a Merseyside derby looming in the weekend, Liverpool manager might be forced into making changes so that the players will be in peak condition to play their rivals. We could see some of the fringe players get a chance against Bolton including youngster Jordon Ibe who was brought back from Derby County. However, it could be a chance from the bench for the youngster as he hasn’t played in the three at the back system that Rodgers has used since December. Fabio Borini could lead the line for Liverpool with Adam Lallana and Steven Gerrard playing behind him.
Rodgers could go with Jose Enrique and Javier Manquillo in the wingback positions with Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson playing as the double pivot in front of the defense. Emre Can had a tough time against West Ham and having played almost all the games in January, we could see Dejan Lovren returning to the starting lineup and playing alongside Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson.
Despite playing away from home, Liverpool will be expected to have bulk of the possession against Bolton who have struggled this season in the Championship. Their only hope could be the counterattacks to which Liverpool are susceptible at times considering the amount of space they give their opponents thanks to their formation.
Fabio Borini impressed against Aston Villa and his movement will be key in the game. Daniel Sturridge could be called upon if things aren’t going Liverpool’s way as he is expected to be on the bench.
Probable XI: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren; Manquillo, Allen, Henderson, Enrique; Gerrard, Lallana; Borini
Neil Lennon’s side are winless in three games after their draw against Wolves last week and if they are to cause an upset then goalkeeper Adam Bogdan will have to be at his best again. Bolton’s problem this season has been conceding goals, something that they managed to rectify against Liverpool, but it would be too much to ask Bogdan to repeat his heroics again.
Bolton have persisted with a 4-2-3-1 formation more often this season with Emile Heskey and Eidur Gudjohnsen playing upfront as the strikers and the center forwards. Robert Hall and Liam Feeney will be expected to play wide to support the attacking duo. Darren Pratley and Neil Danns have played as the double pivot in front of the leaky defense. Bolton
Bolton haven’t found scoring easy either as Matthew Mills and Darren Pratley are their top scorers! Teenage striker Zach Clough could be used as an impact player after making his Championship debut recently.
Probable XI: Bogdan; Ream, Mills, Dervite, Vela; Pratley, Danns; Hall, Gudjohnsen, Feeney; Heskey
- Bolton have won just one game in their last five matches and have conceded eight goals.
- In their last five games, Liverpool hold the edge as they have won three drawn one and lost one against their opponents.
- Steven Gerrard will make his 700th appearance for Liverpool if he plays.
Liverpool got a good lesson from West Ham about the physical game which could have prepared them for the upcoming game. Even their second string side looks stronger than Bolton, and the Merseysiders will be favourites to qualify or the next round.
Full-time score: Bolton 1-3 Liverpool