First ever Premiership defeat under new manager Benitez

Preview and match report by Robbie Amins at talklfc

The Reds will be looking to bounce back after the disappointing defeat in the Champions League qualifier at Anfield in midweek.

Liverpool fans are eagerly awaiting the start of tomorrow's clash at the Reebok. Signing the highly-rated Spanish duo of Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia is definitely a major coup for the Reds. Nobody knows how fast they will adapt to the Premiership but many fans agree that they are indeed the quality players that Liverpool needs.

They are expected to feature for the first time in a red shirt tomorrow.

Bolton will be searching for their first win in five attempts against Liverpool as they look to maintain their impressive start to the season.

Rafael Benitez as usual has done his homework on his team's next opponents and expects a better showing from his team than in the defeat against Grazer AK.

Benitez said, "Bolton is a new game and different because we will have Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia available."

Jay-Jay Okocha is in good form for Bolton and the Trotters also have Spaniards, Fernando Hierro and Ivan Campo on their books.

"I have watched videos of their matches and I have the reports. Jay-Jay Okocha is a very good player and I like him but we have to close the space down to him. I know Ivan Campo, Fernando Hierro and Julio Cesar. We know about all the teams. Alex Miller and Hughie McAuley have been watching Bolton and I have been talking to them."

"We know how they play and we will try to control the game and work hard."

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce is expected to stick with the same side and he is confident that an upset is on the cards.

"Everybody is whining and groaning Liverpool didn't play well on Tuesday," he said.

"A new manager with new ideas needs time to bed those ideas in, and maybe with a bit of luck Liverpool won't function as we know they can."

"If we can get on top of our game and expose that little bit of disruption, hopefully we can get a result."

Liverpool no doubt have gotten the better of Bolton in recent games, especially in winning 3-1 at Anfield on Boxing Day before snatching a 2-2 draw in February this year.

However, the Trotters will be tough to crack at home, so it will be interesting to see what tactics Benitez employs tomorrow.

Liverpool's Probable Line-up:

Dudek(gk), Josemi, Carra, Hyypia, Riise, Garcia, Alonso, Gerrard, Kewell, Cisse, Baros

Match report

Liverpool succumbed to their first ever Premiership defeat under new manager Rafael Benitez. Bolton moved to third place in the Premiership courtesy of Kevin Davies' goal, although the visitors were unlucky not to earn a point after Garcia's late effort was wrongly ruled out for offside.

Benitez started with five men in midfield and Milan Baros alone upfront. New signings Luis Garcia on the right side and Xabi Alonso in the centre of midfield. Liverpool lost Sami Hyypia early in the game after he was forced off the field. Kevin Davies breaking the Finn's nose after an aerial challenge after just two minutes.

Djimi Traore who was a surprise addition to the Liverpool bench replaced him. Sam Allardyce took full advantage of the absence of Hyypia and instructed his team to pump more long balls into the Liverpool box.

The impressive Warnock caused danger inside the Bolton penalty area on 26 minutes with a fine run and cross right across the face of goal, but there was no one in a Liverpool shirt in the box to take advantage of the cross.

The goal this drab encounter so desperately needed arrived ten minutes before the interval. A low Henrik Pedersen centre was missed by a clutch of Liverpool defenders and found Davies unmarked by the far post. He made no mistake from close range despite the best efforts of Riise and Carragher to keep the ball out.

The Liverpool defence clearly struggling to cope in the absence of the influential Hyypia, became increasingly flustered as half-time approached.

Benitez decided to boost his attacking options at the start of the second half by bringing on Djibril Cisse with the £14M man replacing Stephen Warnock and Garcia switching to the left flank.

Liverpool created the first chance of their second half on 63 minutes with Gerrard picking out Luis Garcia unmarked wide on the left, but the Spaniard drove his volley wide of the target.

The Reds felt aggrieved eight minutes from time when Garcia had a goal disallowed for offside after a clever flick from Xabi Alonso had played the Spaniard in on goal.

It was a very good finish from the former Barca winger and television replays showed that the referee made the incorrect decision.

Djibril Cisse was gifted a golden opportunity to draw Liverpool level three minutes time with Jaidi failing to cut out Garcia's pass allowing Cisse through on goal, but the Frenchman lifted his shot high and wide.

That miss probably summed up Liverpool's week. A disappointing few days for the Merseysiders, who slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Graz AK in midweek.

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