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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Match Report: Liverpool 1-1 Blackburn Rovers

By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin

With Liverpool drawing at Wigan through the week in a match the felt they should have won, it was back to Anfield for two home games in a week. A home banker on most peoples coupons with Blackburn in so much trouble at the wrong end of the table and decimated with injuries for this match not helping their cause. Liverpool looking to improve their home form with five draws at Anfield this season.

THE TEAM

Kenny made one change to the side that drew with Wigan with Andy Carroll replacing Dirk Kuyt. Great news for the home support was the name of Gerrard included as a substitute. Maxi once again started on the left for Liverpool with Downing on the right and Adam and Henderson in the middle with the formidable defence remaining unchanged with Carragher once again having to play patience.

THE MATCH

Not surprisingly Liverpool started the match attacking and Suarez went close with a free-kick in only the second minute before Adam brought out a save from Bunn. But apart from a few set-pieces it was a rather low key start to the match.

In the 19th minute Suarez fired a shot into the side netting from an acute angle before curling an effort wide from inside the box as Liverpool struggled to break down the Blackburn defence. The best chance of the first half came from an Enrique cross which fell to Carroll inside the six yard box but his prodded effort was superbly saved by Bunn.

Enrique and Downing were making good runs down either flank but the strikers were not getting on enough of their crosses. Carroll had the ball in the net in the half hour mark but it was ruled out for offside, then Maxi was brought down by Bunn and Liverpool thought they had won a penalty but the referee’s assistant once again saved Blackburn.

Then right on the stroke of half-time Liverpool were stunned when Charlie Adam diverted a Pedersen corner kick past Reina at the near post.

Liverpool came out for the second half looking sharper and moving the ball around quicker as they set about getting back into the match. After some sustained pressure they deservedly drew level when Maxi headed past Bunn from close range from a Skrtel lofted cross.

The home support was aroused from their slumber with the goal and roared their side on for more goals. Suarez and Carroll went close with aerial efforts as the pressure mounted on the visitors. Then Dalglish brought on Gerrard for Adam with 20 minutes remaining to try and inspire his troops and his first touch almost created a goal when his free-kick was headed by Maxi.

Then Suarez wasted a header off target from a Johnson cross. Blackburn almost stole it when Dunn danced into the Liverpool box but he lost his footing at the vital moment. The chances kept coming and going for Liverpool as they remained frustrated and in the final seconds Carroll prodded an effort from close range but Bunn made an unbelievable save and then from the resulting corner Skrtel’s header was cleared off the line as time ran out.

SUMMARY

Once again I was left frustrated with the amount of missed chances. I was pleased to see Carroll starting and was hoping he would score but things are not going his way. He was very unlucky not to score. But we started off a bit lethargic in the first half as we never created enough chances, but the second half was far better and we should have won the match. Adam made a very poor mistake for the Blackburn goal and his passing was a bit off today. I thought Maxi, Downing, Enrique and Johnson made great efforts to get down the flanks, just not enough support in the box to meet their crosses. Surely we are due to hammer somebody soon but at least we are still in the running for a top four place so hopefully our form will pick up soon. Great to see Gerrard back and he looked pretty sharp to me, oozes class.

Man Of The Match- Enrique – it had to be one of the wide players and Enrique just edges it for me another superb performance.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News

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