I haven’t said this in a long long time but we came off worse in a game which we truly deserved to win, unfortunately we were undone by a bit of luck and a bit of class. The display that Blackburn put on was by far the best we have performed this season and shows why we are in a false position in the league; the players showed passion, determination and even Pedersen who has been terrible for a long time now, had a fantastic game. So, overall, we should be proud of the way our team performed and give Ince some credit for being able to raise the morale in such a dire situation.
The game started in great anticipation as Ince had encouraged the fans during the week to get behind the team and rally on. The atmosphere only picked up once Pedersen had lunged into a tackled to set the tone for the match. It took until the 19th minute for Liverpool to have their first chance where Dirk Kuyt put a fantastic ball through to Yossi Benayoun who was foiled by Warnock who made an excellent last ditch tackle.
Just before the half hour mark, Pedersen had an absolute screamer of a shot from 30 yards out saved by Reina who tipped it onto the bar, then only a couple of minutes later he had a bouncing free kick stopped by Reina who put it out for a corner.
Robinson wasn’t tested at all the the first half and Blackburn should really have been in the lead. Tugaybossed the midfield along with Emerton and Pedersen. I have to say, it is a joy to see Tugay outclassing Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso in the centre of the field.
Just before the hour mark, Samba headed the ball straight to Xabi Alonso on the edge of the box and Robinson made an excellent save to stop Liverpool going in front. However, in the 69th minute Xabi Alonso scored a scrappy goal after it had fell to him from a blocked shot he gently side footed the ball through defenders blocking Robinson’s view. 1-0 to Liverpool, an undeserved lead.
Blackburn then tried to go level bu Santa Cruz had a dismal effort which went extremely wide. We were then left to rue that chance as Yossi Benayoun turned Samba and fired it across Robinson for 2-0.
We finally got a goal in the 86th minute which we had deserved all match. Emerton took a quick corner, which Ooijerheaded across the box where Santa Cruz was there to finish with a diving header at the back post. 2-1.
As Blackburn were piling forward in the dying minutes of the match, they were caught out by Riera’s ball the El Zhar which saw Robinson the come out leaving an open net for Gerrard to slot the ball into 3-1.
Paul Robinson 7- consistent throughout the match and didn’t put a foot wrong until the last minute.
Ooijer6- didn’t have one of his strongest performances as he had to deal with the pace of Ryan Babel.
Samba 5- Gave the ball away too much in dangerous positions
Nelsen 7- Foiled many Liverpool attacks and consistent throughout the match
Warnock 8- Made a crucial tackle early on in the match and carried on recent form
Emerton 8- Gave the Liverpool left-back a nightmare and put in the cross for the beginning of the goal.
Andrews 6- Didn’t really get into the game but worked well with Tugay
Tugay 9- Bossed the midfield, outclassed Gerrard and a vintage Tugay performance
Pedersen 8- Much improved and worked hard lunging into many tackles
Derbyshire 7- Tormented the Liverpool defence but didn’t really get into the game
Santa Cruz 6- Looked like he was carrying an injury, looked sheepish and missed best chance of match.