Blackburn 1-3 Liverpool

Premier League
Saturday 06 December 2008 - 3:00 pm
Ewood Park
Blackburn1
3Liverpool
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19'Babel
41'Arbeloa
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Liverpool maintained their position at the top of the Premiership with a vastly improved last 25 minutes against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Some surprised glances were exchanged amongst Liverpool fans enjoying the pre-match atmosphere in the crisp sunshine of Blackburn as Insua was given a long overdue game at left back in the Premiership and Robbie Keane was left on the bench.

Daniel Agger, reported to be at the centre of a ‘double my pay or I’m off’ rumour, was also left out for the star of Monday night – Sami Hyypia.

Dirk Kuyt was select to play up front and Albert Riera, another player who’s form has dipped was replaced by Ryan Babel on the left.

With all the changes and around 7,000 Liverpool fans hoping to stay top of the league, the game started well and the reds saw a lot of the ball, but quickly it became apparent that the players were still suffering from nerves.  Kuyt looked isolate up front and both Babel and Benayoun failed to control the flanks – either breaking inside losing the ball or opting to pass back.

Even Captain Steven Gerrard had a miserable time.  None of the reds seemed keen to over-commit and Blackburn had the chance of the half when they struck the cross-bar. Liverpool had the lions share of possession but failed to register a single shot that trouble the Blackburn keeper.

As the half wore on, even the reds support was feeling the pressure. Would the goals ever start to flow.

There wasn’t much improvement in the second half.  Alonso tried his luck with one of his trademark ‘shoot from my own half’ routines, and then Babel made his first decent move of the game when his pace and skill helped him to fashion a great chance for the reds.

Unfortunately for Ryan, he was already earmarked to make way for Nabil El Zhar who came on to replace him.

Then the game turned.  A move saw Kuyt unable to control the ball and Xabi Alonso step up to place the ball in to the corner as cool as you would expect from the Spaniard.

The reds got a second reward when Benayoun created a bit of room for himself and fired in from a tight angle.

Blackburn threatened to spoil the party with a goal from Santa Cruz in the final five minutes, but the reds held their nerve and on a counter attack – Steven Gerrard carefully placed the ball in the net after Robinson had been caught out of position.

Not pretty, not the best but three more goals and top of the league, still.

Post Match Reaction

Rafa Benitez

“We have shown we can manage the pressure. When you have a game like this, you know you might have problems.”But we were more clinical than other days and that is important with the Christmas programme coming up.

“We are in a very good position so it is vital we play with confidence and that the players pass the ball well.”

Paul Ince

“It was an exceptional performance. We have not got the three points but we have to take some positives from the game.”It is always difficult against Liverpool but we matched them for long spells and that was pleasing.

“The scoreline was harsh and this might be the step we need to push on and get up the table.”

Teams

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

Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Agger, Keane.

Booked: Babel, Arbeloa.

Goals: Alonso 69, Benayoun 79, Gerrard 90.

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Andrews, Kerimoglu (Vogel 84), Pedersen (McCarthy 81), Roque Santa Cruz, Derbyshire (Treacy 90).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Villanueva, Simpson, Fowler.

Booked: Andrews, Warnock.

Goals: Roque Santa Cruz 86.

Att: 26,920

Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

Match Thread, video clips of the game and post match discussion here

Match Stats

Liverpool Possession: 62%. Shots:  9 (On target = 6 ). 491 accurate passes. 59 bad passes.
Blackburn Possession: 38% Shots:  7 (On target = 2).  247 accurate passes.  34 bad passes.

Updated Player Stats

Updated League Season Comparison

5 comments on
Blackburn 1-3 Liverpool

  1. This is our best ever start to a premiership campaign so we must hold on to our first position we must try and win more matches if we are to put to end our 18 year title drought the premiership is more important than champions league for the now,l think this is more important for us.

  2. Agree with Jeffslad: not counting the Carling Cup, Liverpool have let in two goals this season from set pieces – thats 16 league games and 7 European games. Only one of these two was from an opponent – Santa Cruz (the other was by Jamie Carragher). I’d say zonal marking is working…

  3. Dear Alex,

    We’ve had 1 goal put passed us in the last 6 hrs of premiership football
    I think the players know their “holding postions” mate!

  4. Well done lads excellent performance now this can boost your confidence. December is a very important month for us because of all the games. the key is beating the top 4 clubs to win the title. It will be interesting to see what Rafa does in the transfer window. Good to see other players scoring. This made my day thanks for the win

  5. I wish Rafa would start placing two defenders on either side of Reina when we are defending corners!

    We are becoming very vulnerable at set pieces. It also seems that the players do not know their holding positions in such case.

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