Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson hailed a “famous victory” at Bolton yesterday that lifted the Reds out of the relegation positions in soccer’s Premier League.
Maxi Rodriguez’s 86th-minute goal at the Reebok Stadium secured a 1-0 win to lift the Reds six places to 12th in the 20- team standings. The club has now recorded back-to-back wins, and taken three points on its travels for a first time since April.
“Today was a famous victory because we hadn’t won more than once away in the whole of 2010,” Hodgson told Sky Sports. “When you’re down the bottom, and keep being reminded you’re down the bottom, anxiety kicks in.”
Liverpool -- bought last month by Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry -- joins Bolton, Villa, Sunderland and Fulham on 12 points. Newcastle, now in seventh on 14 points, yesterday defeated 10-man Sunderland 5-1, while Aston Villa tied 0-0 against Birmingham City. Defending champion Chelsea tops the league with 25 points.
Liverpool scored at Bolton during a period of concerted pressure late in the game as Hodgson’s team looked for back-to- back wins.
Both teams had created several opportunities, with Torres wasting a couple of chances for Liverpool. The Spain forward raced toward goal on eight minutes, but delayed his shot and then failed to connect cleanly with the ball.
Bolton also had good efforts, with Kevin Davies heading inches past the post, and Stuart Holden testing Jose Reina with a long-range shot.
Hodgson said his squad “certainly needs strengthening” and that there is plenty of hard work still to be done.
“I now need the team to produce more wins, home and away, to turn the year around and hopefully get closer to where we want to be,” he said.
Kevin Nolan got three goals, while Shola Ameobi scored twice at St. James’ Park as Newcastle ended a seven-match unbeaten league run by its northeast neighbor Sunderland.
Nolan gave Newcastle a 26th-minute lead with an overhead kick and scored again eight minutes later to put the home team in control. Sunderland’s chances of a comeback were then hit just before halftime when Ameobi netted from a penalty kick.
Sunderland’s ex-Newcastle defender Bramble was dismissed early in the second half after bringing down Andy Carroll as he ran at goal. Ameobi and Nolan each scored again to seal the win.
Bent replied in injury time with his eighth goal of the season, two-thirds of his team’s total in all competitions. Asamoah Gyan is the only other player to score for the Black Cats, excluding own goals.
Newcastle manager Chris Hughton said he would have settled for a “scrappy 1-0 win.”
“It is about the three points, which sees us go up a couple of places in the table, which is a really nice feeling at this stage,” Hughton told Sky Sports. “It was an outstanding performance.”
The scoreless Midlands derby ended a run of six straight wins by Villa against its local rival, which is still without an away victory this season.
Chelsea maintained its five-point lead at the top of the standings following a 2-1 win at Blackburn two days ago. Second- place Arsenal beat West Ham 1-0, while Manchester United defeated Tottenham 2-0 to join the Gunners on 20 points.
Elsewhere, Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Manchester City 2- 1, Fulham defeated Wigan 2-0, and Everton won 1-0 against Stoke City. Blackpool hosts West Bromwich Albion tonight.
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