Liverpool will head into their FA Cup fourth-round assignment buzzing from their midweek Capital One Cup exploits against Chelsea, but with one eye on the second leg of that tie, Neil Lennon’s revitalised Bolton can run them very close.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are 33/100 favourites to dispose of Wanderers, who are a lengthy 13/2 to prevail on their first visit Anfield since 2011, while the draw can be backed at 9/2.
Yet, despite the Liverpool’s heavy favouritism, this tea time tussle is expected to be the kind of close encounter that could see Bolton prevail on the +2 handicap at tasty 19/20.
The Merseysiders are slowly coming to the boil after a disconcerting start to the campaign, going nine games unbeaten, yet they’ve seldom been pulverising their opposition.
During that sequence six of their adversaries would have triumphed with a hypothetical two-goal cushion while they would’ve overcome a handicap of commensurate size just once.
That was against a Swansea outfit that have shown far less relish for road-going defensive duties than the Whites under Lennon too.
After losing two of his first three away games in charge the Northern Irishman has got Bolton’s hatches battened down.
They’ve lost just once in the subsequent five road fixtures, with that trip to Huddersfield the sole outing during that run in which they conceded more than once.
In fact, a +2 handicap would have seen Bolton win all 16 of their fixtures so far under the only manager in this fixture with Champions League experience on both sides of the touchline.
Wanderers are sure to be aided in their attempts to land the odds by the prospect of Liverpool’s impending Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg visit to Stamford Bridge.
Rodgers will rest Steven Gerrard with that fixture in mind, while it’s expected he will further dilute his line-up by affording the likes of Mario Balotelli and 17-year-old midfielder Jordan Rossiter game time.
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