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Liverpool to start New Year against sixth-placed Bolton

Both Liverpool and Bolton will start 2011 fresh off the back of 1-0 defeats; however it is Bolton who can hold their heads high going into the match six places and seven points above a tame Liverpool team.

Under-pressure boss Roy Hodgson is rumoured to have been given a mere two weeks to rescue his job and Liverpool’s season, following a shocking 1-0 home defeat to Wolves in midweek. Hodgson will not need to be told that their current points total at this stage of the season is their lowest since 1953/54 - a season which ended in relegation for the Reds.

The Reds are, however, only five points down on this stage last season, when they eventually finished seventh under Rafa Benitez, who has recently been sacked from his post at Inter Milan. In this fixture last season, Liverpool won 2-0 with a strike from Dirk Kuyt and an own goal from Kevin Davies.

In what must appear as more bad news for the Liverpool faithful, they may head into this important match without both Joe Cole and Steven Gerrard – the former irritated an ankle injury in training yesterday, whilst the latter is said to be “extremely tired” after completing the entire 90 minutes in midweek. The reds are also still without veteran defender Jamie Carragher in what could be a pivotal month for the Merseyside club.

The good news for Roy is that he has history on his side; Liverpool have been victorious in their last eight Premier League matches against Bolton. A 1-0 win is currently priced at 11/2, however it is not surprising that the half time score odds are a little more favourable – that same scoreline coupled with a 0-0 half time prediction is currently a very attractive 8/1.

Bolton have a large amount of absentees themselves; Stuart Holden is nursing a thigh strain, whilst Gretar Steinsson may miss out with a knee injury. Left-back Paul Robinson is suspended, whilst influential midfielder Chung-Yong Lee is on Asian Cup duty. Tamir Cohen is still in Israel on compassionate leave after the sad death of his father.

Should Bolton manage to repeat the midweek result and record a 1-0 victory at a ground that once was considered an impenetrable fortress, odds of 12/1 look tempting, especially considering Liverpool’s current record.

Bet Highlight

A choice of two: Liverpool with a winning margin of one is an okay 3/1, whilst Torres to score the first goal after 46 minutes is 14/1. £5 on both could return a nice amount.

Premier League 09/10:

Liverpool 2-0 Bolton
Bolton 2-3 Liverpool

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