Gerrard 60, Torres 82, Voronin 90.
Santa Cruz 90.
I suspect when you read this the match will have taken second place to more revelations and reactions to follow those in yesterday’s papers. How sad that all the parties involved should see fit to behave in this way on the day the 96 Hillsborough victims were remembered. Respect and integrity are words that seemingly do not apply here anymore, at least behind the scenes anyway.
Rafa’s team selection saw Carragher moving back into the centre with Skrtel. Arbeloa moved to right back. Ryan Babel was recalled and Lucas replaced the suspended Mascherano.
The opening passages of play were subdued in took nine minutes before Torres glanced a header wide. Our one, and the only chance of the game so far. However, after that we slowly began to assert ourselves. Most of the action seemed to involve Steven Gerrard. The most debatable point was a penalty claim. With the ball going nowhere Gerrard chanced his luck by going to ground from Friedel’s “challenge”. Although there was some contact it was minimal. Gerrard also left his foot in as Friedel came out. The referee, probably correctly, decided not to give a penalty but also didn’t give Gerrard yellow card for the simulation it must therefore have been? Confusing!
Later Gerrard was clean through only to be barged by Samba on the outside of the area. No card, yellow or red, was shown. Before Gerrard had time to mull over this he was involved again. Torres and Kuyt exchanged passes and Dutchman squared to him but his shot was skewed horribly wide. Later Kuyt missed a decent header from only six yards out on the far post.
A decent but quiet first half. So much so that you hear the players shouting!
The second half saw more of the same and we were finally rewarded. Santa Cruz lost the ball in a crowded midfield, Benayoun collected found Gerrard who had four Blackburn players between him and the goal. He exchanged a one two with Lucas, slotted the ball through Samba’s legs, and suddenly found himself one on one with Friedel, the rest was easy. Gerrard then turned provider slinging in a deep cross for Torres to head in his thirtieth of the season. Next he should have had a penalty, who says we a re one man club, when he was clearly upended by Samba. Ditto Torres in an exchange with Emerton. At the death Voronin slid in to make it three from Riise’s unselfish pass. Santa Cruz’s consolation for Blackburn was probably the goal of the day.
A decent, routine win which could have been much more had Alan Wiley done his job. However, it sees us five in front of Everton, nearly there but we must still be cautious. By the way its official, we cannot win the Championship this year! It is now mathematically impossible!
Despite the game inevitably it will be the off the field issues that will attract the headlines. We now learn from Tom Hicks that he and Gillett AND Rick Parry interviewed Klinsmann. Said Rafa
“I want to clarify the situation, not just about the meeting but the people who were in that meeting. I will ask some questions; I will talk about things with them. That means as soon as possible – days, maybe hours.”
I’m surprised that when the Klinsmann story initially broke Benitez wasn’t told who attended the meeting. Did he ask, or was information not volunteered? What is annoying that Rafa has been dragged back into the dispute again thanks to Hicks cumbersome size tens. Thinking he could paint Rick Parry in a bad light via a Sunday paper hatchet job and saying he was at the Klinsmann meeting all he has done is antagonise Rafa and prompt more unneeded and untimely speculation about this future once more.
What will the outcome be? Who knows. The anti appears to have been upped over the last few weeks. Surely something will have to give soon? Let’s hope it’s in ours, and ultimately the clubs, favour.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio, Lucas, Alonso (Riise 88), Kuyt, Gerrard, Babel (Benayoun 59), Torres (Voronin 85).
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Hyypia.
Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Vogel (Dunn 73), Reid, Pedersen (McCarthy 73), Santa Cruz, Roberts.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Ooijer, Mokoena.