In some ways, Saturday's result against Bolton included what's become the status quo of late. Strong performances from the likes of Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho in defense, increased confidence from Simon Mignolet in goal, promising cameos from Lazar Markovic and Lucas, and glimpses of excellent linking play in attack between Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling despite the fact that the final touch was missing. Jordan Henderson was also among the standouts, continuing his superb play since shifting more permanently to a role in central midfield.
For Henderson, who served as captain in the absence of Steven Gerrard, there was disappointment in the result of a match Liverpool largely dominated, but survival will have to do for now:
"To be honest we were pretty focused on what we were doing but the results came on the tannoy and one or two players might have heard but at the same time we just focused on what we needed to do.
"We've seen it for many years, lower league teams have beaten Premier League teams and Saturday was no different but we have shown good character to not lose the game and that is the main thing. We are a bit disappointed we didn't win but we are still in the draw and are looking forward to the game on Tuesday."
Tuesday is, of course, the second leg of their League Cup semifinal tie with Chelsea, who lost their first match of the season at Stamford Bridge yesterday against a resilient Bradford City side. To stay in the FA Cup after Saturday's results is, relatively speaking, an achievement regardless of the fact that Liverpool would have expected to beat Bolton comfortably. For all the talk of losings its luster, yesterday proved that there's some surprises left, and if the extent of Liverpool's surprise was a home draw with Bolton, that'll do for now.
The impact it will have later is yet to be seen, and the draw tomorrow will determine what the fifth round will look like if they manage to win the replay in a week and a half. We do know that the replay comes at an inconvenient time, interrupting what would otherwise be a full week off for Rodgers' squad ahead of the Merseyside derby. Now they'll three days between West Ham's visit and the short trip to Bolton on February 3, with the visit to Goodison four days later and Europa League participation to follow nine days later after a crucial midweek date with Spurs.
It makes for another busy month for Rodgers and company, but hopefully one that a squad nearing full fitness can cope with as they look to make progress in four competitions.
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