Jussi gaffe gifts Reds win
Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a torrid own goal to help Liverpool secure a 3-1 away win.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 02/03/08 6:22pm
Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a torrid own goal to help Liverpool move up to fourth in the Premier League with a 3-1 win at the Reebok Stadium.
The Trotters had dominated the opening stages, but on 12 minutes Jaaskelainen fumbled a low 25-yard drive from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, which was heading wide, into his own net.
Things then continued in flowing style with the visitors looking dangerous on the counter-attack, while Bolton were only denied an equaliser when Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina expertly saved from the head of Kevin Davies.
Liverpool, though, then dominated after the interval and on 60 minutes Ryan Babel - who impressed throughout - was on hand to drive in after Dirk Kuyt had hit the post and Gary Cahill failed to clear.
Fifteen minutes later Fabio Aurelio scored his first for Liverpool, and the Merseyside outfit's third, as the Brazilian volleyed in from the edge of the area after a Xabi Alonso corner.
Bolton substitute Tamir Cohen also opened his account as he headed in a 77th minute consolation from a precise Matt Taylor corner.
The home side could have been two goals to the good inside the first 10 minutes.
El Hadji Diouf's free-kick beat Reina in the fifth minute only to come back off the post and four minutes later Ivan Campo swung in a corner from the left and Joey O'Brien peeled away from his marker.
O'Brien managed to get in a shot at the back post but Gerrard made the clearance.
Liverpool made the breakthrough in bizarre fashion after 11 minutes when Gerrard's effort appeared to be going wide. However, Jaaskelainen made a hash of it and inexplicably turned the ball into his own net.
Jaaskelainen redeemed himself in the 18th minute by turning over a rasping drive from Babel after he had latched on to a good ball from Gerrard.
Bolton almost drew level in the 27th minute when Kevin Nolan picked out Davies with a marvellous cross, but Reina made a superb save low down to his left.
Davies turned provider two minutes later. He clipped the ball through to Nolan, who had sprung the offside trap, only for Reina to make the block.
Babel was a threat every time he had the ball and stung Jaaskelainen's hands with a powerful effort a minute before the break.
Liverpool were in the ascendancy and it was little surprise they extended their lead in the 59th minute.
Jamie Carragher whipped in a cross from the right and found Kuyt only for his smart volley to come back back off the post.
Cahill got the ball away but only as far as Babel, who swept his effort beyond Jaaskelainen.
It was now an uphill task for Bolton given that they had scored only two goals in their last four games in all competitions.
Liverpool made it 3-0 in the 75th minute with a superb strike from Aurelio when there seemed little on. He took the ball on his chest before smashing a shot beyond Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area.
Bolton to their credit, however, refused to lie down and pulled a goal back four minutes later.
Cohen, son of former Liverpool favourite Avi, ghosted in to head home a corner from Taylor.
Bolton may be in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup but the prospect of second tier football next season is all too real as Gary Megson's team are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.