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Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Liverpool: Four things we learned

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Liverpool battled back from a goal down to beat Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the Macron Stadium to set up a fifth round clash with Crystal Palace.

It was the Trotters who took the lead in the 59th minute, when Martin Skrtel brought down Zach Clough and veteran striker Eidur Gudjohnsen slotted his penalty home. 

Another FA Cup upset looked to be on the cards, but after plenty of late pressure the Reds finally broke down Bolton's defence as Raheem Sterling smartly converted his volley past Andy Lonergan.

Coutinho screamer makes the difference

As the tie looked to be going to extra time, Philippe Coutinho stepped up to the plate when he struck his effort from outside the box that left Lonergan stranded and gave Brendan Rodgers' side the victory.

In what was a thrilling game there were several things that can be learned from the game. When it was announced that Liverpool had won the race to sign Emre Can in the summer, it was music to many-a Kopites ears.

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Emre Can Is fast improving

The German had a massive reputation for someone just 20-years-old after impressing for Bayer Leverkusen last season and the prospect of Can pulling a Red shirt over his shoulders gave Liverpool fans plenty to be excited about.

We're over halfway through the season and powerhouse has impressed more than many expected. For someone such a young age, moving to a new country, playing a contrasting style of football to at the BayArena, Can has come into his own.

Against Bolton he started on the right-hand side of the three centre-backs and used the ball well to feed Coutinho and Lazar Markovic.

After the break, Rodgers switched Can with Martin Skrtel and the former Bayern Munich man commanded Liverpool's defence with maturity and style.

Playing at the heart of the defence, it allowed Can to drive at Bolton with the ball at his feet and did so just after half-time and almost created a chance for his side.

This happened more and more as the Reds desperately searched for an equaliser as they trailed with Can showing his passion and desire to win the game.

As the clock ticked, he almost forgot his defensive duties and became part of the midfield - a position which is his natural trade.

Can displayed all of his attacking abilities - firstly when he outstanding 20-yard effort was tipped onto the crossbar.

Then, as times were becoming desperate, the Germany U21 international showed his composure to perfectly weight his aerial ball to find Raheem Sterling.

It was a fantastic performance for Can who has become a vital member of the Liverpool side and looks a natural to replace Steven Gerrard when the 34-year-old leaves for LA Galaxy at the end of the season.

Lazar Markovic needs A rest

Similar to Can, Lazar Markovic arrived on Merseyside with a massive reputation at the same age.

The Serb has too done well since he signed for £20 million from Benfica and excelled in games against Sunderland, Arsenal and FC Basel.

Markovic has enjoyed a rich streak of games within the Liverpool starting line-up operating as a right wing-back and brought stability to his side.

However, his form has fell frighteningly in recent weeks and has not impressed at all.

Against Bolton, Markovic struggled to inflict his pace on the game and drive forward with the ball, losing it far too often.

A lot of responsibility has been placed on the youngster and it could be a case that he is beginning to feel a little fatigued.

After all, he just one year the elder of Raheem Sterling who was granted a mid-season holiday during the Christmas period.

Markovic is playing a role that involves a lot of responsibility and a lot of running.

Clearly, he is beginning to get tired and needs a spell out of the side to was again regain top form.

Joe Allen does not cut the mustard

This is an issue that keeps being raised when Joe Allen is given the nod by Rodgers.

The Welshman has now been at Liverpool for three years but does not look like he is ever going to fulfil his £15 million price-tag.

From the start of the game, Allen looked a lost boy in the centre-of-midfield as he was out-muscled, out-battled and completely out-played.

Whereas many of Rodgers' signings who started slowly have improved, Allen is the complete opposite and has went backwards since moving from Swansea City.

He is still just 24 and could improve, but he has very much fell out of favour at Anfield. If Liverpool could get £8 million in the summer, I'm sure they would snap a club's hands off.

Brendan Rodgers is taking the FA Cup seriously

When a top Premier League team meets a lower league side in the early rounds of the FA Cup, so often a weaker side is played.

However, with the exception of Joe Allen, Rodgers played his strongest team available at the Macron Stadium.

With the Reds meeting bitter rivals Everton on Saturday as well as playing Tottenham Hotspur next week which could determine who finished in the top four this season, it was a surprise how strong a side the Northern Irishman lined up with the likes of Sterling, Coutinho and the aging Gerrard.

Since Rodgers took the helm at Anfield in 2012, he is yet to capture a piece of silverware.

Prior to this season, he got no further than the fifth round of the FA Cup and Kopites have been desperate to get back to Wembley.

If the former Reading boss wants to create a legacy on Merseyside, it will be determined by winning trophies.

Rodgers may have Liverpool playing attractive football that is great on the eye, but success is judged on filling the trophy cabinet.

The Reds just missed out on the League Cup this season, just being knocked out by Chelsea in the semi-final.

However, the FA Cup is the better of the two competitions and with Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton out, it is wide open for Liverpool to win.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
FA Cup
Bolton Wanderers
Liverpool

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