Maxi strikes late to stoke Reds revival


LIVERPOOL manager Roy Hodgson insists it is too early for optimism at Anfield after his first back-to-back league win lifted the Reds out of the relegation zone.

An 86th-minute winning goal from midfielder Maxi Rodriguez downed stubborn Bolton and hoisted Hodgson’s men from 18th to 12th in one fell swoop.

But after overseeing the club’s worst start to a season in almost 60 years, Hodgson is in no mood to celebrate and warned that further improvements would take time.

“I have been as devastated as everyone has by the lack of results but I have never stopped believing that work would pay dividends. It is just a question of timescales,” he said.

“I am still not convinced it is going to pay dividends in a short timescale, it is going to be a longer job. It is still too early to be too optimistic but at least it is a step in the right direction.

“The players now know they have got the ability to dig in, even in games like this, which is a good thing to know. It is nice to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”

Liverpool’s first away win since April follows last week’s home victory over Blackburn and leaves them just three points behind fifth-placed Tottenham. Bolton lie 10th, above the Reds on goal difference.

Striker Fernando Torres wasted two early chances to put Liverpool in front, heading over the bar from a Steven Gerrard corner and then being denied by goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen after dithering.

But the Spanish World Cup winner demonstrated his class when the visitors needed it most, his cute backheel nutmegging Gary Cahill and teeing up Rodriguez to poke the winner.

The only blot on Liverpool’s afternoon was a hamstring injury to Joe Cole that may keep the England midfielder out of Sunday’s home clash with former club Chelsea.