Kenny Dalglish's men were bettered throughout by their spirited hosts and sparked only briefly after Craig Bellamy's cool finish had given them hope before halftime.BOLTON - Bolton climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with an impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool at the Reebok Stadium.
A coolly taken opener from Mark Davies gave the Trotters the lead before Nigel Reo-Coker doubled it after an identically slick build up from the home side.
Craig Bellamy provided hope of a comeback before halftime but this was quickly extinguished by Gretar Steinsson’s volley early in the second period.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle chose to stick with the same side which was so comfortably beaten at Old Trafford in the Trotters’ last outing as former Liverpool striker David N’Gog led the line for the Lancashire side.
Meanwhile, opposite number Kenny Dalglish rang the changes after a frustrating home draw with Stoke City in his side's last fixture. Bellamy, Maxi Rodriguez and Andy Carroll formed the basis of a potent looking attack while Daniel Agger made his return from injury. Defenders Sebastian Coates and Jamie Carragher missed out in the reshuffle as did forwards Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt.
The visiting side had looked comfortable in the opening exchanges, passing the ball with familiar vigor but the team was to be stung in ruthless fashion by its host’s first attack.
A ball inside to N’Gog saw the Frenchman flick brilliantly first time to the onrushing Davies who took two touches into the box before firing past a helpless Pepe Reina.
The early goal understandably buoyed the home crowd and the visiting side seemed rocked as moments later Jose Enrique gifted the ball to Chris Eagles only for the winger’s ball across goal to be left agonizingly untouched.
Dalglish’s men had an opportunity to hit back on the counter just moments later but Rodriguez could only control a lofted ball with his hand in the opposition box and wasted a chance at goal.
The chance spurned Liverpool into further action and only desperate defending could prevent Bellamy driving home from a Rodriguez layoff in the box.
Henderson’s drive from distance, after a trademark Agger run from defense, was then well stopped by Adam Bogdan as the Merseysiders cemented their hold on the game, if not the scoreline.
If the Reds had been looking more impressive than their opponents, they had infinitely less cutting edge as Reo-Coker proved by giving his side its second goal with its second clear chance.
In an almost mirror image of the first goal, a flick allowed Eagles to burst from midfield but instead of the late-runner going alone, he passed to Reo-Coker who confidently smashed past Reina to give his side an unlikely two-goal lead.
Given the terrible start, Liverpool barely deserved a chance to get back into the game but the club got just that with eight minutes of the first half remaining. A wonderfully controlled header from Carroll allowed Bellamy through on goal and the Welshman’s touch to take him away from defenders was equally impressive, leaving him to dink over Bogdan and give his side hope.
A late free kick from Petrov underlined the possibility of a Bolton third as Liverpool went in perhaps the more dominant side, but a goal down.
As the second half began, Dalglish’s men asserted their dominance. A clever passing exchange allowed Charlie Adam to fire at goal. Although the shot was blocked well, it provided ample confidence to a side hoping to get back into the game.
However, this wasn’t set to last for long, as Bolton extended the lead with just five minutes of the second half gone.
A ball into the box was brilliantly won by David Wheater and dropped to fellow defender Greta Steinsson who produced a striker’s finish to put his side two goals to the good.
Liverpool pushed even harder after conceding the third goal but the toothless forward line continued to provide more problems than answers as the Trotters held out resolutely.
This led to the manager producing a double substitution which saw the woeful Adam and ineffective Rodriguez replaced by Kuyt and Downing.
The changes did little but solidify the poor state of affairs for those in Red as Coyle’s men dominated.
That the game was not going to change in Liverpool’s favor was then further emphasized as Agger drove onto the bar 20 minutes from time after a brilliant run.
A Bellamy strike from distance, well collected by Bogdan, simply compounded what was a damaging night for a side chasing Champions League qualification.