Saturday, December 5, 2009

Blackburn 0 - 0 Liverpool

What a boring match to watch and it ended up with goalless. Liverpool's hopes of a top-four finish suffered a further setback as Blackburn produced a resolute defensive display to hold the Reds to a goalless draw.
After a dour first half, Blackburn's Franco di Santo and Nikola Kalinic both hesitated when played through on goal.
Steven Gerrard had chances to break the deadlock and a penalty shout turned on his 500th appearance for Liverpool.
And they should have won it late on, but David Ngog could only turn Glen Johnson's cross on to the bar.
The result, allied to victories for Aston Villa and Manchester City in the evening match against Chelsea, dropped Rafael Benitez's side to seventh in the table.
But Blackburn were good value for their point, which keeps them 12th and extends a run of just two home defeats in 25 home games since Sam Allardyce took charge.
Rovers came into the game buoyed by Wednesday's Carling Cup quarter-final victory over Chelsea.
They were also boosted by the return to work of Allardyce following heart surgery.
But despite featuring four changes from the side that beat the Blues on penalties, they looked slightly off the pace early on as a number of passes went astray and Liverpool enjoyed plenty of possession.
Although the visitors were without Fernando Torres for a fifth successive game, Gerrard was fit to make his landmark appearance against the club he faced on his debut in November 1998.
In Torres's absence, Dirk Kuyt was deployed as the lone striker with Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera providing support. But, of that quartet, only Gerrard looked even remotely dangerous in the opening exchanges.
Blackburn draw delights returning Allardyce
Well-organised and physically imposing, Blackburn's back four repelled everything Liverpool had to throw at them and gradually their midfield and attack began to grow in confidence.
A couple of mistimed tackles by Daniel Agger gave Blackburn free-kicks in promising positions on the right but both set-pieces were comfortably repelled.
Gerrard almost broke clear when he capitalised on a sloppy piece of control by Pascal Chimbonda but then lost out to Christopher Samba, while at the other end Samba headed straight at Pepe Reina from an unmarked position.
The best chance of an error-strewn half fell to Gerrard, who received possession from Riera on the left, opened his body and attempted to place his shot into the far corner, only for Samba to deflect the ball behind.
Samba was again on hand to deny Gerrard with a perfectly-timed sliding tackle at the start of the second half and, moments later, Blackburn might have taken the lead.
Benitez frustrated with draw
Di Santo was released by Steven N'Zonzi but seemed surprised that he had not been flagged offside, delayed and enabled Jamie Carragher to get back with a covering challenge before he could shoot.
Fortunately for all, the tempo increased after the break and Gerrard fizzed a drive straight at Paul Robinson before having a penalty shout rejected after a coming together with N'Zonzi.
The arrival of Ngog in place of Riera gave Liverpool greater presence up front and the Frenchman ought to have opened the scoring when Glen Johnson burst to the byeline and squared from the right.
Ngog came storming into the six-yard box but, faced with an open goal, contrived to shin the ball against the crossbar, with Kuyt's follow-up diverted to safety.
Blackburn threatened sporadically on the counter-attack - Benni McCarthy and Vince Grella drilled wide before Kalinic tentatively prodded wide when one-on-one with Reina.
Gerrard assumed a growing influence on proceedings but Liverpool lacked the finishing touch that Torres so often provides and were forced to settle for a point.

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