Saturday, 6 December 2008

Liverpool Keep Rockin' Beat Blackburn 3-1

After a turbulent week which had seen his side dumped out of the Carling Cup by Manchester United and speculation mount that he would lose his job, a visit by league leaders Liverpool was the last thing Paul Ince would have wanted.

Liverpool Beat Blackburn To Pile Pressure On Ince

Yet the Rovers boss appeared relaxed ahead of kick off, making one change to the side that lost to Portsmouth last weekend with Matt Derbyshire coming in for Benni McCarthy.

Yet, despite topping the league, Liverpool had problems of their own with Fernando Torres out injured, Robbie Keane out of sorts and goals proving elusive.

Thus, Rafael Benitez started with Dirk Kuyt up front supported by Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun with Emilia Insua also making a rare start and £20.3 million man Keane relegated to the bench.

Rovers, unsurprisingly short of confidence having gone eight league games with a win, began the game looked more than a little shaky and the visitors had the first clear chance of the afternoon.

The recalled Benayoun was sent through by Steven Gerrard but the Israeli was denied by a wonderful challenge by Stephen Warnock.

Ince’s men slowly grew into the game and had the best chance of the first half through Morten Gamst Pederson.

The midfielder tried his luck from range with a superbly struck shot which a diving Pepe Reina did well to tip onto the bar.

Yet that was as close as anyone came in a tight first half with Rovers working hard and quick to close down the visitors.

The second half began in scrappy style but just shy of the hour mark Liverpool had the best chance of the afternoon.

A Xabi Alonso strike from range looked to be destined for the back of the net before Paul Robinson parried the ball away to deny the Spaniard the opener.

Minutes later and Benyanoun ought to have opened the scoring. Babel laid the ball off to Gerrard whose shot was spilt by Robinson. The ball fell to Benayoun but he couldn’t slot the ball home into an unguarded net and Rovers survived.

A frustrated Benitez opted to changes thing but it was Nabil El Zhar, rather than Robbie Keane, who replaced Babel yet minutes later the Reds had their goal.

Gerrard’s cross fell to Alonso in the edge of the area and he kept his head to slot home the opener from all of 20 yards.

The goal stunned Blackburn yet they did have a chance to equalise through Roque Santa Cruz, yet the Paraguayan uncharacteristically headed Andre Ooijer’s cross wide of the goal when well placed.

That miss what to prove crucial as with ten minutes to go Liverpool had their second of the afternoon.

Kuyt found Benayoun with a superb pass and the former Hammer beat Warnock before shooting low across Robinson and into the corner.

The goal looked to have finished off Rovers but minutes later they were back in it through Santa Cruz.

A Brett Emerton corner was flicked on by Ooijer and this time Santa Cruz made no mistake, heading past Reina to give Ince’s men hope.

Yet despite the late goal, Rovers couldn’t find an equaliser and Gerrard finished them off with a late strike for Liverpool’s third.

The result keeps the visitors top, whilst Blackburn remain mired in trouble and yet another defeat leaves manager Paul Ince looking nervously looking over his shoulder.

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Andrews, Kerimoglu (Vogel, 84), Pedersen (McCarthy, 81), Roque Santa Cruz, Derbyshire.

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Insua, Benayoun (Riera, 87), Mascherano (Lucas, 83), Alonso, Babel (El Zhar, 64), Gerrard, Kuyt.


1-3 Liverpool (Gerrard, 90 + 5)

1-2 Blackburn Rovers (Santa Cruz, 86)

0-2 Liverpool (Benayoun, 79)

0-1 Liverpool (Alonso, 69)

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