Calm Down Dear, It’s Only An Epic Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers Preview…

This is a bit of a strange one, but has Jussi become Bolton's Weakest Link?
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This is a bit of a strange one, but has Jussi become Bolton's Weakest Link?

Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers Preview

So Michael Winner didn’t get down on one knee when he proposed to what must be one of the bravest (or barmiest?) women in the country recently as he feared he might not have been able to get up again? Well I’m willing to bet he’d have moved a damned sight quicker than Jelly Legs Jussi did for David Silva’s first goal last Sunday. And before all you Bolton fans rush off to build a wicker man especially for me, hear me out. Yes, I believe that Jussi has been an absolute legend over the past 13 years. But I also live in the here and now, a mystical place where players should actually be judged on form rather than misty-eyed reminisces of yesteryear. If that were the case Rod Stewart would still be with Britt Ekland and Russ Abott’s Madhouse would be dominating the Saturday night schedules rather than the X-Factor. But back to the point – Jussi has looked dodgier than ever before over the past 12-18 months. I’m not saying he’s suddenly turned all Massimo Taibi all of a sudden – far from it. But I do have doubts over how long he has left at the top level.

Yes, I believe that Jussi has been an absolute legend over the past 13 years. But I also live in the here and now, a mystical place where players should actually be judged on form rather than misty-eyed reminisces of yesteryear

A couple of mates shot me down in flames when I suggested selling Ali Al Habsi to Wigan was a bad bit of business but I still firmly believe that to be true. Al Habsi will be a top keeper for another decade yet and as far as I’m concerned that should be in a Bolton shirt. But hey-ho – Owen Coyle I ain’t and I’m not going to tell the gaffer (as I’d imagine the more clichéd players call him) how to do his job just yet. Actually, that’s a lie. The whole point of writing these posts is in telling OC how to do his job. So get Al Habsi back and give Jussi a gold watch, a big pat on the back and a nice spread of sandwiches and cream cakes on his last day. Problem solved.

An Idiom Abroad
When it rains, it pours. There’s your idiom. What a painful set of fixtures these are at the moment. Hot on the heels of taking on a sumptuous Man City team last weekend (and I have to begrudgingly admit, it was a joy to see Silva in the flesh – the man is a magician) comes a very testing away game against a resurgent Liverpool. And that’s just for starters – add a main course of Man United, a side order of Norwich (thank God for Norwich!) an Arsenal dessert and a Stamford Bridge liqueur coffee and that’s the September specials menu over and done with. It’s enough to make a grown man weep. But why the ‘Idiom Abroad’ reference? Well, it’s now time to come up against the Premiership’s answer to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (if Luis Suarez put on a bit of weight and Andy Carroll cut his hair and wore some comedy goggle eyes that is). It’s a shame Jason McAteer is no longer on the Anfield books (or the Bolton ones, for that matter) as he’s a prime candidate to step into Karl Pilkington’s shoes. Anyway, I digress. Enough has been written about Suarez recently so I won’t regurgitate it all, except to say that he is an undoubted class act and, if he remains free from injury, he’ll be one of the players of the season. But what of Carroll? Is it just me and King Kenny who don’t think he’s severely overpriced? And don’t take the handbrake in that big white van off just yet - the defence, m’lud, is as follows:

But what of Carroll? Is it just me and King Kenny who don’t think he’s severely overpriced?

Oh Carroll, you are not a fool
A nice little twist on a Neil Sedaka lyric for everyone there. Just the kind of reference the Sabotage Times demographic will really identify with. Anyway, here’s why, in a nutshell, Andy Carroll isn’t an overpriced oaf.

1. He can actually play a bit. Yes, his aerial prowess is an undoubted asset but he’s also quite canny when the ball’s on the deck. Look at some of his Newcastle efforts before he moved – some very tidy finishes in amongst them.

2. Dalglish isn’t an idiot (despite looking as though he’s left some remote Scottish village lamenting the loss of  their regular straw chewing bumpkin). He didn’t buy Carroll simply to head long balls into the path of an onrushing Suarez. He recognises the potential to form a devastating partnership right there.

3. He’ll save the club at least £300 on doormen when it comes to the Christmas do. Seriously – would you mess with him? He could bus his mate Joey down and really endear himself to the Liverpool faithful. Like a 21st century Hale & Pace. ‘We are duh management….’.

So there you have it. Cast iron proof that Andy Carroll is a veritable bargain, following in the hallowed footsteps of Rush, Fowler, Owen and Sean Dundee.

But what about the game?
Oh yeah, there’s a game to preview. Well, Bolton will give it a good fist but, not for the first time this week, will be outdone by a classier outfit. Tuncay should make his league debut, which is exciting given his MOTM performance in the Carling Cup win against Macclesfield, Cahill will no doubt still be on board but will N’Gog and Wright Phillips be joining them?  Regardless of who plays, it won’t be enough to stop Enrique, Downing and Adam, who all look as though they were born to be Liverpool players, whilst I expect both Suarez and Carroll to start this one. The Liverpool defence still doesn’t look like the strongest in the league so Bolton will score. Unfortunately Liverpool will score 3 times as many. 3-1 to the Scousers.

3 things the ESPN commentators will say (and what they will really mean)

1. He reminds me of a young Ian Marshall. (Fabrice Muamba is having a mare).

2. As sure as the ocean meets the sky. As sure as night turns to day. As sure as the salmon returns upstream. As sure as Louis Spence is gay. (Suarez has scored again).

3. The defence certainly aren’t suffering as a result of recent departures (Kyriagkos was about as much use as a cock flavoured lollipop).

(With thanks to Rip Torn for that wonderful quote from ‘Dodgeball’).

Lessons learnt from Bolton vs Man City

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