Blackburn Rovers 2
Yakubu (36), (61) (pen)
Maxi (13), (16), Carroll (90)
Well what can you say?
A ding dong game which had it all. Plenty of shortcomings on our side which elicited more head shaking and hand wringing moments however, despite everything, the manner of the win and the fortitude and determination we showed to rekindle three points at the end, when we looked to have frittered them away, was a lift to all things red. Above all, I guess, it is a much needed boost given the close proximity of the FA Cup semi. It is amazing what a win can do and perhaps we have timed this one just right?
Kenny made six changes from the Villa game. In came Johnson, Coates, Maxi, Spearing, Bellamy and Carroll. Earlier on this week I listened to Steve Keen, the Blackburn manager making one of his many positive takes after another defeat and suggesting that his side “normally” defended very well This was something of an eye opener given that fact that they’ve conceded seventy goals this season, more than anyone in the league. Perhaps this, despite Keen’s unusual take on things, was opportunity to address our weakness, sticking the ball in the back of the net?
After sixteen minutes this proved to be the case. Maxi, doesn’t play for us that often but when he does he always seems to score, (discuss?) made an excellent case for inclusion on Saturday with two well taken goals. The first appeared to expose Keens “bluff” that this side were defensive stalwarts. Skrtel’s long raking ball from the heart of defence found Bellamy on the right with the Blackburn defence absolutely nowhere. You can’t give Bellamy that much space and it was all too easy for him to centre to Maxi who did well to keep the ball down and steer it home. Three minutes later Maxi was at it again after the Blackburn defence sat back and admired Jonjo Shelvey’s long from his own half. His shot was saved and although Carroll’s attempt to follow up was thwarted, Maxi stuck home the resulting loose ball. Remember those hat tricks last season but Kenny still doesn’t play him – again discuss?
So a nice lead and something to build on for the rest of the game? On the other hand there is a theory that says when you are down and something comes along to buck you up there is always something worse waiting around the corner? Hoilett has been very effective for Blackburn this season unlike Yakubu he is not a big lump and possesses the guile and nimbleness to get round Doni who was put in a predicament via Flanagan’s short back pass. Instead he chose to fall over Doni’s body which was simply in he way as result of attempting get the ball. The referee, I suppose had no choice but to show red which will no doubt add much to Kenny’s conspiracy theory, he’ll checking under his bed next in case Mike Riley’s there!
Brad Jones came on and easily saved Yakubu’s spot kick. Barring an appeal he now looks certainty for Wembley which, given his tragic loss, will give the newspapers plenty to hang their hats on. Yakubu made amends almost immediately by nodding home after Johnson and Carroll had left him in the box, welcome back Glen, we’ve missed you!
The second half was always going to be backs to wall stuff particularly given the fact that Blackburn do score goals at home. They pressed but it took another lapse of concentration to let them back in. Jones’ clearance was charged down by Yakubu and then, in his attempt to put things right, he ended up felling the striker. Thankfully Yakubu was looking away from goal and the lose ball was picked up by Coates so no goal scoring opportunity. This time Yakubu’s spot kick found the net.
Perhaps this was when we decided enough was enough and that we were tired of being everyone’s punch bags, everyone’s “unexpected opportunity” and objects of ridicule In the previous piece I said disappointment I can take but expectation is the killer however when things exceed expectation it’s fantastic. Andy Carroll’s swallow dive header from Aggers’ knock on did just that, making Saturday look a more appetising prospect.
And on that subject a word about the following Alan Davies quote which you will no doubt here or read over the next few days.
“Liverpool and the 15th, that gets on my tits that shit, What are you talking about, ‘We won’t play on the day’? Why can’t they? My mum died on 22 August. I don’t stay in all day on 22 August. Do they play on the date of the Heysel Stadium disaster? How many dates do they not play on? Do Man United play on the date of Munich? Do Rangers play on the date when all their fans died in that disaster whatever year that was – 1971?”
This is the “comedian” who appears as the “resident idiot” on the TV programme “QI”, enough said!
Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Olsson, Dann, Orr, Hanley,Dunn (Lowe – 75′ ),Formica (Rochina – 73′ ), Nzonzi, Ms Olsson, Hoilett, Yakubu Substitutes: Kean, Givet, Pedersen, Petrovic, Lowe, Rochina, Goodwillie
Liverpool: Doni, Johnson (Agger – 53′ ), Coates, Skrtel, Flanagan (Jones – 26′), Maxi (Jose Enrique – 77′ ), Henderson, Spearing, Shelvey, Carroll, Bellamy Substitutes: Jones, Jose Enrique, Agger, Aurelio, Carragher, Suarez, Kuyt