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Bolton 1, Liverpool 2: First Thoughts

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Liverpool score two dramatic late goals to advance to the next round of the FA Cup.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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Bolton 1 Gudjohnsen 59'
Liverpool 1 Sterling 86', Coutinho 90'

  • Pre-Match thoughts: It looked like Gerrard would drop back and play in a double pivot with Joe Allen. On most occasions this would be a cause for concern, but against Bolton there was hope that they could control the midfield. Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson highlighted Liverpool's bench, while Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren remained absent from the squad.
  • Liverpool began with a patient approach, calmly trying to play the ball out of the back with short passes as Bolton looked to pin them in their own half. Whenever Liverpool broke into Bolton's half, horizontal passing avenues opened as Bolton collapsed hard onto one side of the pitch.
  • In the 12th minute, Philippe Coutinho found some open space outside the box and unleashed a strike that trickled wide of the post. Soon after, Liverpool attacked Bolton on a quick counter attack and Sterling put a shot on target after outfoxing his defender at the edge of the area.

  • Bolton came close to a goal in the 20th minute, as David Wheater directed an open header right at Simon Mignolet on a set piece.

  • Neil Danns looked like Bolton's best attacking threat early on, as his neat dribbling skills seemed to catch Liverpool off-guard on multiple occasions.

  • Bolton started to stretch Liverpool by launching long balls into the box, executing their initial game plan well.
  • Yellow for Danns after he clattered Allen in the midfield.
  • Raheem Sterling hit the post after Adam Lallana set him up following a lovely spin move. After Bolton's brief spell of control, Liverpool jumped back onto the front foot by picking up their attacking pace and urgency.
  • Half-time thoughts: Lots of almost-but-not-quite's for Liverpool in the first half. There was a period in the middle of the half that was cause for concern for the visitors as Bolton nearly found success through their aerial game, but besides that, Liverpool looked comfortable. The Allen-Gerrard midfield pivot was not a complete disaster, but a possible second half introduction for Henderson seemed to make sense.
  • Sterling limped around after a tough challenge, but moments later he was able to break forward on a counter attack.
  • Sterling was put clear through by Coutinho, but a poor touch allowed defender Dorian Dervite regain position and touch the ball away. On the regather, Sterling tested goalkeeper Andy Lonergan with a curling shot aimed at the upper right corner of the net.
  • Henderson replaced Lallana in the 54th minute to strengthen the central midfield.
  • Bolton were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute, but it looked like Martin Skrtel made minimal if any contact on Zach Clough. Eidur Smari Gudjohnsen converted from the spot, and Bolton led 1-0.
  • In the 65th minute, Fabio Borini replaced Lazar Markovic.
  • Danns was sent off for Bolton, as he put two feet through Allen. Liverpool were already looking sharp enough to possibly equalize, and the red card gave them even more space to attack in.
  • Immediately following the red card, Bolton elected to drop deep to defend their lead. In an effort to overcome the host's defensive structure, Brendan Rodgers brought Sturridge into the match.
  • Bolton almost scored a second in the 71st minute, but Gudjohnsen's far post header was powered straight into Mignolet's grasp.
  • Painful for Liverpool as Henderson hit the post with a swerving firecracker from outside the box. They were so close there once again.
  • Sturridge burst into the box with immense pace and nearly created a goal. Liverpool followed that up by winning a string of corners that amounted to very little.
  • Liverpool hit the bar again! Emre Can rocketed a long range effort towards goal, but Lonergan denied him with a fingertip save onto the woodwork.
  • 1-1! Can lofted a ball over top for Sterling who finished first time with his left foot.
  • 2-1! Coutinho netted the winner with a sublime curler from far out. The shooting practice looks to have paid off.
  • Full time thoughts: What a game that was. Liverpool recovered from a controversial penalty to win the match with two late goals. The red card helped their cause, but it was a still a brilliant comeback victory.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.