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Monday, 25 October 2010
LIVERPOOL 2-1 BLACKBURN ROVERS MATCH REPORT
Every match report I seem to say how big a match this is for Liverpool and I am not changing my words for this one. After the poor start to the season and after the way that Liverpool were convincingly beaten in last Sunday's derby match there has been many supporters calling for Hodgson's head already, and with new owners coming in there has certainly been a feeling that results had to improve fast for Hodgson. Liverpool being at home for this one against a Blackburn side that is struggling to find the net away from home this season had to be a win for Liverpool as nothing less would do as the next fixtures are away to Bolton and at home to Chelsea, so confidence needed to be regained for those fixtures.
After the good result in Napoli in midweek with Hodgson resting some key players, Hodgson brought them back fresh for the Blackburn game. I was a little disappointed with Roy's team however. The defence was ok with Carragher still having to deputise at right back with Johnson still not fit enough, so Hodgson had to play Skrtel with Kyrgiakos in central defence with Agger still injured. My concern was the midfield selection I was not happy with Lucas being selected especially after his performance against Everton which I was very critical of. I was hoping to see Gerrard play beside Meireles in central midfield with Jovanovic out on the left after having a good game in Italy midweek, and I was hoping Cole would play just behind Torres, but Roy is the manager not me.
A win was the only option for Liverpool, nothing less would do and even Gerry Marsden was called upon to lift the team for this vital match with a rendition of his famous anthem which had everybody including the new owners singing along to. After the rousing rendition from the sixties legend I was expecting Liverpool to come flying out of the blocks, but the game started quite quietly and at a slow pace as both teams tried to settle into the game and maybe with a bit of nerves from Liverpool with their recent form. The game livened up as Liverpool started to take control and a great give and go with Torres and Maxi created a chance for Joe Cole which was brilliantly saved with Robinson sticking out a foot. The chance though seemed to galvanise Liverpool and they built on this chance. For the majority of the first half Liverpool were camped in the Blackburn half. Liverpool really were showing a commitment that was lacking last week against Everton, Blackburn resorted to getting men behind the ball and trying to frustrate Liverpool. The best chances being a Torres header on 12 minutes past the post from a Carragher cross, then on 16 minutes Kyrgiakos had a good header tipped over from Robinson who had a great game, The best chance of the first half came when Reina started a break which Gerrard took on surging through the middle before getting a return pass which he hit first time with that man Robinson made a fine save from.
Liverpool went in at half time wondering how they were not in front. But in a mad few minutes at the start of the second half Liverpool took the lead from a Gerrard corner which Kyrgiakos met powerfully with his head only to be deflected into the Blackburn net by a defender on the post. But before the celebrations had died down Liverpool found themselves all square as Blackburn had their first shot on goal as Diouf scuffed his shot goalward only to be cleared of the line by Konchesky but unfortunately for Liverpool it hit Carragher who was in close attendance and rebounded into the net. You just had the feeling that this could be another bad day for Liverpool as for all their domination they found themselves level.
But 2 minutes later Liverpool regained the lead as Cole sent over a delightful cross which Torres side footed into the Blackburn net from close range ending his goal drought and hopefully lifting his confidence for future matches. The closest Liverpool came to scoring after taking the lead was when Kyrgiakos headed into the ground only to see the ball go over the bar. But as the game moved into the latter stages you could sense the tension in the Liverpool team and the supporters as Blackburn tried to press. In fairness Liverpool never had any major scares in the latter stages as Blackburn won a few corners and pumped everything into the box. But Liverpool hung on for 3 priceless points and hopefully the start of something.
Liverpool played really well, there was a better attitude and desire in this match as I was beginning to wonder if the players were playing for Hodgson. There was a hunger from the players which has been lacking for most of the season. I can't criticise any players in this one, I even thought Lucas played well. The pleasing thing was the chances that Liverpool created and the desire shown. Special mention to Maxi who I thought had one of his best games since coming to Liverpool. Meireles was also involved in most good things. Torres looked more commited probably because he was seeing more of the ball. Cole was instrumental and produced a great cross for the second goal. Gerrard was immense leading by example, fully commited, driving his side on. Kyrgiakos, superb at both ends and opened the scoring, I would play him every week with his desire alone but he offers so much at both ends of the park. We can't get carried away yet but its a start in the right direction.
Man Of The Match - Kyrgiakos Superb match, defended brilliantly and looked like he would score at every corner. Deserved his goal.