Keane double sees Liverpool back to summit
Liverpool 3 Bolton 0:Robbie Keane's barren spell seems well and truly behind him after the Republic of Ireland striker bagged a double to help Liverpool regain the lead at the top of the Premier League at Anfield. Rafael Benitez's men had dropped to second after Chelsea's win over West Brom earlier, but Keane's brace and a first-half strike from Albert Riera was enough to see off Gary Megson's side.
The win meant Liverpool have completed all of 2008 unbeaten at home in the league.
Keane's goals seem to have wiped away the doubts and criticism of the 28 year-old, who now has seven goals for the season.
Liverpool assistant manager Sammy Lee, still standing in for boss Rafael Benitez was full of praise for Keane.
He said: "Robbie Keane scored twice, that's terrific, but I just like seeing any Liverpool player scoring goals.
"We don't feel that Robbie has been out of form, despite what people keep saying.
"He has been working hard, tirelessly for the team, and that is the measure of the lad that he has kept on going.
"People have said things about him, but we know why we brought him to the club and we have had no problems at all with him, whatsoever.
"I do not feel he has ever lacked confidence here, he has kept going and done well.
"We have had no doubts in Robbie's ability or his work-rate, and what he adds to this club is immense.
"We know the quality of the boy, we know what he is capable of and what he is doing for us and what he adds to the club. There is no problem with him here."
Missing Alvaro Arbeloa with a hamstring injury, Benitez re-jigged his back line, moving Jamie Carragher to right-back with Sami Hyypia slotting into the centre of defence.
Liverpool also restored Yossi Benayoun to midfield at the expense of Lucas, who was joined on the bench by fit-again Javier Mascherano, now recovered from an illness which meant he missed last weekend's game against Arsenal.
Benitez sat in the directors' box after missing the game at the Emirates Stadium while recovering at home from a kidney stone operation. And he looked to have second-guessed Bolton boss Gary Megson.
In Liverpool's win at the Reebok earlier in the season, Steven Gerrard was man-marked by Fabrice Muamba.
But Gerrard was playing much deeper in an orthodox 4-4-2, away from the attentions of Muamba.
Riera opened the scoring when he poked in a Gerrard corner after 26 minutes.
Trailing by that single goal at half-time, Bolton sent on Kevin Davies for Jlloyd Samuel and Gretar Steinsson was cautioned within a minute of the break for a foul on Xabi Alonso.
The defender then flattened Riera seconds later, and referee Alan Wiley dished out a long lecture.
But all Megson's half-time words were wasted after 53 minutes when Keane grabbed the second. Gerrard fed a fine pass into his stride to score past Jaaskelainen.
Daniel Agger was booked for a foul on Johan Elmander after 57 minutes, and 60 seconds later Keane hit his second and Liverpool's third.
Alonso broke from his own half, fed Benayoun on the right, with the wide man playing the ball straight into Keane's path to sidefoot home.