On a sunny yet cold afternoon at Anfield, Blackburn were somewhat unlucky but ultimately not good enough to defeat Liverpool in a 3-1 loss woth Roque Santa Cruz’s late strike the only thing to show for a somewhat sloppy performance.
In the first incident of note, Jason Roberts was blatently onside when through on goal and denied a clear shooting chance by the linesman who must of saw something that no-one else did.
The Reds dominated the first half without threatening too much.However, much of the attention surrounded referee Alan Wiley as he waved away appeals for a penalty when Gerrard went down after knocking the ball past goalkeeper Brad Friedel, replays suggested no penalty was the right decision as Gerrard actually aimed for Friedel’s knee on the way past him.
However, Christopher Samba was fortunate not to be penalised for a clumsy foul on the England midfielder later on.
The first actual chance came after nine minutes when Steven Gerrard, saw a whipped in cross flicked narrowly wide by Torres.
A great challenge by ex-Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock then stopped a raid from Fernando Torres down the Liverpool right.
Kuyt then saw a 25-yard shot held by Friedel before the Dutch forward headed just wide from a Gerrard free-kick.
A great moment was to follow, as Stephen Warnock received a tremendous reception from the Kop at the start of the second half, for which the Kop must be credited as most arrogant Arsenal and Man United fans would be booing old players. The consistent full-back having played 67 games for Liverpool before moving to Ewood Park 15 months ago.
Morten Gamst Pedersen saw two free-kicks saved by Jose Reina as Rovers started to pepper the Liverpool goal.
However just as Blackburn looked like getting on top, Roque Santa Cruz gifted Liverpool the lead with an inexplicable pass to Lucas in his own half, Steven Gerrard cut into the box and side-footed the ball past Friedel.
Jason Roberts then went looking for a penalty in a clash with Martin Skrtel, however it looked more six and half a dozen.
But when the same pair clashed again a minute later with Roberts about to go clear on goal, Skrtel was booked when he was the last man and players have been sent off for less.
Rovers, who sent on McCarthy for Pedersen a minute later, were far from out of it and David Bentley sent a 25-yard free-kick just wide.
But again Blackburn were their own worst enemy, as they gifted Liverpool their second 8 minutes from the end.
Ryan Nelsen, who up to that point had been Rovers best player, mis directed a pass to Liverpool’s Lucas, he then fed Gerrard on the right. When his cross curled into the box, Torres was there to head past Friedel.
Gerrard then fell absolutely ridiculously in the box under no pressure from Samba. Raising questions about why such a great player needs to act like a 4 year old girl when in the penalty area.
However, in the final minute Voronin slid home the third from substitute John Arne Riise’s low cross.
In injury time Roque Santa Cruz volleyed home on the turn after a long ball into the box, but by then the points had been well won by Liverpool. It must be said though that the finish, although far too late was excellent.
On the whole though, Rovers were well beaten.
Friedel – 7
Absolutely no chance with the goals. Let down by the defence twice and did pull of some good saves.
Emerton – 4
His passing was woeful and cost Rovers good positions more than once. His running was good but he needs to be a lot better than this.
Samba – 6
Lucky to avoid punishment for his challenge on Gerrard. Apart from that looked solid and made some timely interceptions.
Nelsen – 8
Solid, won headers and kept the back four organised. If it wasn’t for him Liverpool would of scored more than 4 as he made 3 great last ditch tackles.
Warnock – 6
Looked solid on his return to Anfield and given emotional ovation at the start of the second half. Will have better games and will have worse. One moment of note though was his outstanding tackle on Torres in the first half.
Reid – 6
Made some good runs but does look short of confidence. Will be better off for the summer off. A good player but needs a boost.
Bentley – 6
Looked overrun at times. He showed class on the ball and always suggested a threat but was crowded out in midfield at times.
Vogel – 5
Looks a decent player but is blatently short of fitness. He should be playing in games against Derby, Birmingham etc but not against Liverpool. Play Tugay.
Gamst – 7
Quietly the most threatening midfield player on Rovers’ side. Made good runs and looked dangerous and assertive form set plays. Keep it up.
Roberts – 7
Unluky not to be clean through and denied a shooting chance through a stupid linesman in the first half. But was mainly shackled by a well orgainsed Liverpool defence.
Santa Cruz – 6
Was kept quiet even if he did hold it up well at times. Great goal though at the end. No-one can moan about his work rate.
McCarthy – 6
Ran a lot and looked like scoring when he was on and deployed in a deeper lying role. Why isnt he like this when he starts!??!
Dunn – 5
Didn’t really offer too much but we need him at 100% fitness as he can be a difference on his day.