Wednesday 29th October 2003 (8pm)
Ewood Park, Blackburn

Murphy equalises from the spot

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MATCH REPORT - Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Liverpool

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Yorke 34
Murphy 39
Heskey 48
Heskey 60
Kewell 78
Ferguson 80
Yorke 90

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Emile Heskey scored twice as Liverpool extended Blackburn's miserable run of form with a comfortable win in the Carling Cup.
The Reds striker should have completed his hat-trick but failed to convert his team's second penalty of the game.

The first spot kick had been converted by Danny Murphy after a foul by Lucas Neill that saw the defender sent-off against Liverpool for the second time this season.

Blackburn had taken the lead through Dwight Yorke but Liverpool took advantage of their numerical advantage after Neill's dismissal and Harry Kewell scored Liverpool's fourth to take the game beyond Rovers.

The home team kept going and Barry Ferguson and Yorke scored again but Liverpool held firm.

In a game of many chances, the scoreline could have been much higher but for some abysmal finishing from both teams.

David Thompson almost opened the scoring with a powerful long-range drive that drifted narrowly wide of Chris Kirkland's goal.

Ferguson went even closer, shaving the top of the Liverpool crossbar with a neat free-kick that wrong footed Kirkland.

But Blackburn eventually broke the deadlock after 35 minutes..

Yorke, back in the Blackburn starting line-up, superbly heading home a Thompson cross from the right after the Rovers winger had easily eluded Sami Hyppia.

Liverpool equalised shortly afterwards with a superb penalty from Murphy.

The spot kick had been awarded after Lucas Neill clipped Florence Sinama-Pongelle's back leg with the Reds striker through on goal and poised to shoot.

Referee Mike Riley wasted no time in sending Neill from the field for a professional foul.

The match was Neill's first after completing a three-match suspension for his challenge that broke Jamie Carragher's leg the last time Liverpool met Blackburn.

Heskey should have put Liverpool in the lead shortly after half-time but, clean through on goal, lost his composure and blazed wide of the target.

But minutes later Heskey atoned for his miss with a superb header, guiding El Hadji Diouf's cross past Brad Friedel.

Heskey almost scored again after 54 minutes, but the striker shot over after latching onto a low cross at the near post.

Kewell spurned an excellent chance to put the visitors further ahead after 60 minutes but drilled the ball wide of the target when clean through.

But the miss did not prove costly, with Heskey once again converting a Diouf cross shortly afterwards.

Blackburn had opportunities to force their way back into the game, with Andy Cole particularly guilty of a glaring miss.

The Reds should have then sealed their win when they were awarded a second penalty after Vratislav Gresko was adjudged to have fouled Kewell in the Rovers penalty area.

But Heskey spurned the chance to complete his hat-trick with a weak penalty the Friedel easily saved.

Heskey missed another great chance before Kewell eventually scored Liverpool's fourth, converting another Diouf cross.

Ferguson scored with 10 minutes left, his first goal for Blackburn giving the home team a glimmer of hope.

But although Yorke scored again to give the scoreline a respectable look, the goal came with virtually the final kick of the game.

BBC Sport

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Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Babbel, Martin Taylor, Gresko, Reid, Ferguson, Tugay, Thompson, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Jansen, Johansson, Gallagher, Emerton, Yelldell.

Sent off: Neill (professional foul on Pongolle, 39)

Liverpool: Kirkland, Biscan, Henchoz, Hyypia, Traore, Le Tallec, Gerrard, Murphy, Diouf, Heskey, Sinama Pongolle. Subs: Finnan, Kewell, Hamann, Riise, Dudek.

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

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Match Report filed: 29th October 2003