The FA Cup, in fact all the cup competitions are important to me, I think it is maybe an age thing but I always see the FA Cup as a major competition and one that Liverpool should take very seriously. Having said that the league is important as well and players sometimes need a rest, we as a club need to find the best times to give players a game off and in the case of some give them minutes on the pitch or valuable experience to younger members of the squad, so when the team for this one showed that several changes had been made I was not too disappointed. I possibly didn't agree with some of the players who had come in to the team I would rather some younger ones got a chance but players certainly needed resting and one or two coming back from injuries needed game time.
As is always the case in cup matches the opponents especially if they are from lower leagues, along with their supporters come fired up and Bolton were no exception, they started the quicker and for the first few minutes they were asking questions of the Liverpool defence. Recently however, our defence has looked stronger and today with Sakho taking the lead we held out when a few weeks ago we would possibly have conceded, we have been struggling against strong powerfully forward lines, set plays and teams who put our defence under pressure, Heskey is certainly strong and powerful, they definitely put, or tried to put us under pressure and they had the set plays. Today we came through it relatively comfortably and after around ten minutes or so were starting to create.
Bolton defended with a high line allowing the pace of Sterling to be a problem, we were finding it easy to play him in behind the defence but not so easy to get up and support him meaning that the Bolton defence despite being stretched to the limit at times always managed to block him out even if at times they had to resort to giving away free kicks.
In the second half we pushed up more ourselves, making it easier to get support to Sterling and making us more of a threat. Liverpool looked very dangerous right up to the final ball or shot that, time and again was blocked out by the narrow Bolton three man central defence, Bolton gave us the wings and blocked out the middle and we failed to find a way through. The creativity was there the finishing was missing and despite several superb saves by the keeper we today missed a natural striker and in my opinion shows why we should be spending money in this area, we missed Sturridge desperately, yes he is due back but we need cover, he needs help, Sturridge will not be able to do it on his own.
Only one goal conceded in the last four games is a definite improvement, especially from where we were. We look solid at the back for me with teams now not creating any chances against us, many not even getting any shots, even Mignolet appears to have recovered his form, coming off his line more, appearing to have more confidence and controlling his box better. He still has problems with distribution but even this is improving, we still have a lot if work to do but at least we can see things moving in the correct direction.
Against Bolton I thought we played OK, probably deserved the win but we're lacking in front of goal and with our decisions around the box. A great performance from Bolton defence and keeper foiled us but we are still in the hat for the next round so not all bad.