Bolton Wanderers 2 Liverpool 2

Last updated : 02 January 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Substitute Luis Garcia netted a late equaliser to spare Liverpool's blushes away to fellow high-flyers Bolton.

Earlier, Radhi Jaidi gave Bolton a 10th-minute lead before Steven Gerrard equalised from the penalty spot for Rafael Benitez's team, only for El-Hadji Diouf to re-establish the home side's slender advantage after some good play from Kevin Davies.

But despite the hosts having the better of the chances Garcia grabbed Liverpool a point just as it looked as they were going to slip to defeat at the Reebok Stadium.

Liverpool started slowly, which helped Bolton in the opening exchanges as they dominated possession.

As early as the seventh minute Diouf, playing against his former club, crossed from the left wing and Davies' header was saved by visiting goalkeeper Jose Reina.

Three minutes later the deadlock was broken as Liverpool gifted their hosts the softest of goals.

Stelios Giannakopoulos whipped in a curling free-kick from the left, Reina fumbled, centre-back Sami Hyypia managed to get a toe on the ball, but only succeeded in pushing it in front of Jaidi, who headed home inside the six-yard box.

To their credit Liverpool, inspired by captain Gerrard, came close to equalising in the 24th minute. Harry Kewell headed into the midfielder's path, but his powerful volley was charged down inside the penalty area.

A minute later, Dietmar Hamann unleashed a fierce 30-yard drive, but Bolton shot-stopper Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a brilliant block, diving to his right.

Liverpool were lucky to keep their captain Gerrard on the pitch on the half-hour mark after what looked to be a deliberate stamp on opposing captain Kevin Nolan.

The Bolton skipper was left with three big cut marks across his chest, but Gerrard escaped completely unpunished.

Six minutes before the interval Nolan had a penalty claim turned down after a clumsy challenge from Jamie Carragher. However, a spot-kick would have been a harsh decision.

On the stroke of half-time Liverpool nearly grabbed an equaliser when Djimi Traore saw a powerful left-foot strike acrobatically tipped over the bar by Jaaskelainen.

At the other end, Stellios had a penalty appeal turned down, although Liverpool had one more chance to share the spoils at the break when Jaaskelainen was nearly caught napping.

The goalkeeper raced off his line, but thankfully Jaidi got back in time to head clear after Kewell had sent the ball towards goal.

Liverpool were the better side in the second half and Hamman, Kewell and Gerrard all went close before the skipper equalised.

At the other end Stelios shot over but the best chance for a winner came in the 87th minute when Gerrard crossed for second-half substitute Djibril Cisse.

But the replacement striker saw his angled header hit the foot of the right-hand post and Bolton were thankful to take a point for their efforts.