Gerrard 20, Torres 44
Blackburn Rovers 1
Andrews (pen) 40
So, another win which now takes us to one defeat in ten. Pleasing stuff even though, it is “as you where” re the top four. The return of Torres, with a goal to boot, together with another effort from Gerrard, gives good grounds for optimism although it was against a Blackburn side whose style of play, after a good start, ended up as tedious, depressing, one dimensional and unimaginative as their manager’s pre and now post match comments.
After the game Sam Allardyce suggesting that the crowd swayed the referee to give Blackburn five yellow cards and then suggested they would have won if they’d had a goal scorer! A puzzling, nonsensical assertion that is akin to saying that I could have erected a shed in my garden if I where a carpenter or I could have been in a band if I could play a musical instrument!
Blackburn had their chances and if they had taken them perhaps we won’t have heard such nonsense however, as usual, the daft man has to erect a smoke screen to mask his inefficiencies again. Rafa’s quotes sometimes leave a lot to be desired and some of them after the game about Blackburn’s style were a little unnecessary, there is room for all sorts in this league, but there was one directed at Allardyce that hit the nail well and truly on the head….
“Some people need to talk before and after games because it is more difficult for them to do a football job.”
Ouch… nice one!
Rafa took the chance to field Torres from the start but more interestingly reshuffled his defence, due to the injury to Skrtel and the suspension of Kyrgiakos. As in keeping with Rafa’s team selection it contained a surprise. Carragher was moved back into the centre and, of all people, Mascherano was drafted into the right back role. Insua was dropped to the bench and Aurelio started but then went off for the Argentinean almost immediately. Kuyt and Maxi were recalled meaning Ngog sat it out along with Babel.
The start of the game saw Blackburn having good efforts from Olsson, Pedersen and Kalinic. However all these were from long range and were wide, high or easily dealt with by Reina. After a period of finding our feet we went ahead with almost the first attacking move we managed to produce. Gerrard exchanged passes with Kuyt in midfield and took the ball towards the danger area before passing wide to Benayoun. The return was easily despatched with a cool clip over the onrushing Robinson. A nice move and a good finish.
Despite edging in front Blackburn responded well with Pedersen producing a good double save from Reina. Then they won a penalty after Carragher on the deck handled during another attack. The correct decision? Yes, ‘fraid so. Andrews converted a poor kick to punch a hole through our defence at home for the first time in six and hours. At this stage perhaps one would have some praise for Blackburn. They started well, were positive and, on more than one occasion, tested us. Their equaliser was a deserved one however, such has been the mealy mouthed piffle spouted by their manager over the years that such words stick in the throat.
Before we had time to contemplate the equaliser, and Blackburn had time to build on it, we were back in front. It wasn’t exactly the most beautiful of goals but the source, in the context of our season, could be significant. Reina’s long clearance was eventually played into Torres’ path by Lucas. The Blackburn defence managed to thwart the Spaniard for the first time but, after Maxi and crossed the resulting loose ball, they were unable to stop him from tapping into and empty net with Robinson going walkabout.
The second half began with afters resulting from Douif’s first half challenge on Gerrard. Although no contact was made it was high and had studs showing. Anfield has a tradition of welcoming ex players back however, it is measure of Doiuf the man, and the way he has behaved since leaving us, that he was offered no such reception. Slowly Blackburn began to run out of ideas and resulted to route one. The game having been competitive but fair (ish) degenerated. Cards were thrown around like confetti Blackburn were lucky to finish the game with eleven men with Nzonzi, for throwing Lucas to the deck by grabbing his face, and Chimbonda, with a stud high poke at Maxi’s chest, the worst offenders. It was ugly and depressing but when they could bothered with matters on the pitch Blackburn did manage to test Reina occasionally most noticeably a decent effort from Roberts which was brilliantly saved with a full length dive to the left.
So a win with Torres and Gerrard back in tandem and at a crucial time in the season. Blackburn had their moments and perhaps on another day might have had taken more from the game however, above all, lets hope that Sam Allardyce, after suffering yet another defeat to Liverpool, even though he seems to think he has the Indian sign over us, will cease embarrassing himself and his club with such silly, childish nonsense the next time we play each other?
Liverpool: Reina, Agger, Aurelio (Insua 38), Mascherano, Carragher, Gerrard, Benayoun (Babel 81), Maxi, Lucas, Torres (Ngog 89), Kuyt Substitutes: Cavalieri, Insua, Kelly, Ayala, Aquilani, Babel, Ngog
Blackburn: Robinson, Samba, Givet, Olsson (Chimbonda 51), Salgado, Pedersen, Nzonzi (Grella 60), Andrews, Hoilett (Roberts 64), Diouf, Kalinic Substitutes Brown, Chimbonda, Emerton, Dunn, Grella, Roberts, Di Santo