Liverpool down Bolton to end Reebok hoodoo
( dpa ) - Liverpool brought a winless run at the Reebok Stadium stretching back almost six years to an end Sunday as they beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1.
The victory, secured thanks to an own goal from Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and second-half strikes from Ryan Babel and Fabio Aurelio, strengthened their bid for Champions League qualification, but the performance was as ugly as they come.
In fairness, a blustery wind and Bolton's uncompromising approach militated against attractive football, but still, this was a far from aesthetically pleasing game.
Bolton had started much the brighter as El-Hadji Diouf struck the post with a free-kick that arced awkwardly through the box, and Joey O'Brien had a header from Ivan Campo's cross cleared off the line by Steven Gerrard.
But it was the away side who took the lead after 12 minutes, largely thanks to a terrible error from Jaaskelainen.
Gerrard is noted for his long-range shooting, but there was little of any venom in his 22-yard drive, which looked to be drifting wide when the Finnish keeper intervened.
As the ball bounced in front of him it skipped up, clipped his elbow and spun cruelly back over the line.
Jaaskelainen went on to make two fine save from Babel, but that could not deflect the blame.
A Kevin Davies header from Matt Taylor's cross produced an excellent low save from Jose Reina, but it was Liverpool who continued to have the better of what few chances there were.
It took a superb challenge from Gary Cahill to deny Babel towards the end of the first half, but the young Dutchman was not to be thwarted.
With an hour played, Dirk Kuyt struck a post from Jamie Carragher's cross and as Cahill cleared the loose ball fell for Babel, who hooked the ball low inside the near post.
From then on it was simply a matter of how many Liverpool would score, and they added a third with Aurelio's first goal for the club, the Brazilian lashing in a volley from 25 yards with quarter of an hour remaining.
Tamir Cohen, the son of the former Liverpool player Avi Cohen, headed one back from a Matt Taylor corner, but Bolton remain deep in relegation trouble, just one place above the drop zone.