Liverpool cruise to win over Bolton

Liverpool stayed one point clear of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League thanks to a 3-0 win over Bolton at Anfield.

A second-half brace from Robbie Keane and a first-half strike by Albert Riera secured the points for the hosts, who had earlier seen both their title rivals, Chelsea and Manchester United, win.

It was the first time in 20 days that any of the top three secured maximum points, although United have two games in hand after Club World Cup duty, and it was fitting that all three should win simultaneously.

Liverpool totally controlled the first half but only had one goal and one good chance to show for 75 per cent possession.

The visitors barely passed the halfway line, while Liverpool's back five were redundant.

Despite this it took a set-piece on 26 minutes to create the first meaningful opportunity, which Riera took with aplomb.

Steven Gerrard's corner was sent near post and, after whisper from Dan Agger, the Spanish winger raced across the area to prod the ball home as Johan Elmander recoiled instead of making a challenge.

Yossi Benayoun went close with a half-volley 11 minutes later but otherwise Liverpool were as toothless as they were dominant.

The second half was a different story as the hosts earned the score-line they deserved through two Keane goals in four minutes.

Keane had been heavily-criticised for a lack of goals in his short Liverpool career but, after his equaliser against Arsenal the previous week, he seems to finally be hitting form - and the back of the net.

On 53 minutes, Gerrard went on a driving run through midfield and spotted Keane move into space just to the left of the area.

Keane raced on to the through-ball and rifled a left-foot drive into the roof of the net past the helpless Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The Irishman's second - which sandwiched a great chance for Kuyt who mis-timed a diving header from Riera's superb cross - came from a similar counter-attack.

Pepe Reina released Xabi Alonso with a quick throw, the Spaniard went wide right to Benayoun and the Israeli pinged a low, first-time ball which Keane finished with ease.

The Reds were cruising and eased off their visitors, and they rested Riera, Gerrard and Kuyt while knocking the ball out with ease.

Substitute Ebi Smolarek almost grabbed a late consolation for Bolton when he fired inches wide after good midfield play by Fabrice Muamba, while Liverpool came close to extending their lead in the closing minutes but had to settle for a succession of corners and a spectacular double-save by Jaaskelainen deep into injury time.

The three-goal win also meant that Liverpool now have the same goal difference as third-placed United, who are seven points off the lead but with a maximum of six in hand.

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