x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Liverpool want home comfort

If there is a time for the Liverpool faithful to ignore their displeasure and frustration, and get behind the side, then this is it.

Liverpool's Robbie Keane celebrates his spectacular equaliser during the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates.
Liverpool's Robbie Keane celebrates his spectacular equaliser during the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates.

Anfield has always been a cauldron of noise, a place to fear, where players can wilt under the spotlight. But that has generally been the case for the opposition, not the home team who normally use the crowd to inspire them. If there is a time for the Liverpool faithful to ignore their displeasure and frustration, and get behind the side, then this is it.

The Reds go into the game against Bolton sitting on top of the table and unbeaten in the Premier League at home in 2008. That is the message they will be trying to convey to any dissenting voices. The title is within reach and Sammy Lee is convinced they can be there at the end. As his former club Bolton come to Merseyside, he will hand back the managerial duties to Rafa Benitez as the Spaniard is expected to be in the dugout after a kidney stones operation.

"He is a hands-on manager, it is hurting him more being away from the training ground really," said Lee. "There are no easy games and we don't put any emphasis on any team, it's just the next game. "We know what we have to do, the game plan is there, it is business as usual. We are top. We would like to stay there and every single one of these lads is working hard to make sure we maintain that position."

Robbie Keane will hope it is business as usual too. The Irishman has felt the pressure more than most at home. Just three league goals have come his way, but he will be hoping to follow up on his fine strike against Arsenal last Sunday. "We know why we brought him here, we see every day in training how hard he works and what a good player he is," added Lee, who suffered from a lack of patience when he was sacked after just six months at Bolton.

Bolton have not won at Anfield since 1954, but will look to match the efforts of Fulham, West Ham and Hull, who ground out the recent draws against Liverpool. But Gary Megson's side are on an excellent run of five wins in eight, including thumping away victories at Sunderland and Middlesbrough. They only won two of their first ten games and the defender Jloyd Samuel explained the turnaround: "The difference is belief. Things were not falling for us before."

akhan@thenational.ae