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Liverpool travel to Bolton, hope for repeat of August victory

Liverpool head to the Reebok Stadium on Saturday to face Bolton, hoping for a repeat performance of the reverse fixture in which the Reds walked out of the Anfield clash with a 3-1 victory.

On that occasion, both Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam opened their Liverpool accounts – each with opposite foot strikes – and Martin Skrtel headed home an Adam corner to give Liverpool a comfortable win. Ivan Klasnic gave the Wanderers a late consolation goal after a gift from Jamie Carragher.

This time, however, will see slightly different sides marched out.

For Liverpool, Luis Suarez, who was a menace all match long in August, will miss out as he continues his suspension. Jay Spearing, who suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the 1-0 Carling Cup semi-final first leg match at City, is 50-50 to play. According to manager Kenny Dalglish, the club will “need to have a look at Jay, see how he goes.”

Daniel Agger, who missed out in the scoreless draw with Stoke, could also not make the trip.

“I said the injury was on-going last week, so we’ve just got to manage it,” Dalglish told his pre-match press conference Thursday when asked about Agger’s injury.

Bolton will be without CB Gary Cahill, who completed a £7 million move to Chelsea at the weekend. The 26-year-old England international, who was out of contract at the end of the season, made 147 appearances for the Wanderers over the course of five seasons, scoring 15 times.

One player who came to Bolton was David Ngog, who moved to the Wanderers from Liverpool on Aug. 31. The former PSG striker said he was looking forward to playing his old side, but insisted it’s just another game.

“I’m playing against my old club, but as a professional you have to have the feelings that it is nothing different and that it is like any game on a Saturday,” Ngog said to Bolton’s official site. “It’s one we want to win, like any other match.

“I’m looking forward to playing against Liverpool. I’m good friends with everyone at Anfield, particularly Martin Kelly and Martin Skrtel,” he said.

Liverpool come into the match still struggling to find the back of the net, yet still find themselves in 7th place – 5 points shy of fourth. Having spent over £55 million last season on Suarez and Andy Carroll, the Reds continue to be one of the lowest scoring sides in the league, having only scored 24 this season. Only twice in Liverpool history have the Reds scored fewer goals after 21 games: 1923-24 (23 goals, 16th place) and 1970-71 (23 goals, 6th place).

The Reds will have to find a way to both find the back of the net Saturday against the side sitting one point from the bottom, and keep an eye on two big fixtures coming up: the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City, and the FA Cup fourth round against Manchester United – both at Anfield.

With one leg already in the Carling Cup final (up 1-0 on aggregate), it’s a mystery whether Dalglish will play his stronger side Saturday, or save them up for Wednesday night.

But no matter what side Dalglish uses against Bolton, Liverpool need to come out and bang in a few goals – especially against a side struggling this season. A balanced squad might be on the books, with Maxi Rodriguez potentially coming into the side after not making the bench against Stoke.

Predicted lineup:

Reina

Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique

Henderson, Adam

Downing, Shelvey, Maxi

Carroll

A repeat of the reverse fixture, with both Maxi and Carroll getting on the scoresheet. Give Agger and Steven Gerrard the rest they need for the upcoming fixtures with both Manchester clubs, and let youngster Jonjo Shelvey play as an attacking mid, where he did an excellent job against Aston Villa last month.

Prediction: Bolton 1-3 Liverpool.

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