‘Captain Fantastic’ began the proceedings with a left-footed shot past the ‘keeper, but a handball from Jamie Carragher allowed the visitors to equalise from the spot. A goalkeeping error coupled with an easy finish from Torres ensured three points for the hosts.

The Reds were experiencing some problems in defence due to injuries and suspensions, as Martin Skrtel succumbed to a broken metatarsal in the Europa League fixture against Unirea Urziceni. Sotirios Kyrgiakos was still serving a suspension, while Glen Johnson – who recently resumed light training – was not fit enough to be given a spot on the bench. Manager Rafael Benitez consequently started with Javier Mascherano in a right-back position, with Carragher, Daniel Agger, and Fabio Aurelio making up the rest of the back-line. The Spaniard also chose to field Dirk Kuyt alongside fellow-striker Torres, as opposed to a position on the right.

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce had to make do without his captain Ryan Nelsen, who is out with a knee injury, while defender Chris Samba made a return after serving a suspension.

The travellers began the game on a positive note by winning a corner in the second minute. E-Hadji Diouf – a former Red – took an in-swinging corner that was met by Chris Samba, but the header lacked power and produced a simple save from goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Meanwhile, the Merseysiders were having a little trouble settling down with a tentative style of play, but were keen to get Torres involved at every given opportunity. But unfortunately for them, the Spaniard’s first shot was closer to the stars than the goal.

With 15 minutes gone, midfielder Lucas was robbed of the ball in his own half, and Morten Gamst Pedersen fed the ball to Nikola Kalinic, whose shot missed the right of the goal.

However, the hosts were slowly growing in the game all this time, and Gerrard – who had seen very little of the ball until then – sent a pass to creative midfielder Yossi Benayoun, who in turn passed it back to the skipper, who timed his run to perfection and got past Samba to eventually send in a left-footed shot into the middle of the goal.

The visitors instantly came up with a positive response, as Pedersen forced Reina into a double save and won a corner in the process. But Allardyce’s charges were unable to capitalise on the situation, and parity was not restored.

Benitez’ defence woes increased after 38 minutes, when Fabio Aurelio had to be substituted owing to a thigh injury. Emiliano Insua was introduced in place of the crocked left-back.

A defensive error allowed the visiting side to draw level, when Carragher slid in for a tackle, but slipped and ended up handling the ball in the process. The centre-back’s sense of guilt made him look towards referee Alan Wiley as soon as he had handled the ball, and the man in charge had no problem in pointing to the spot. Andrews stepped up to the hot-plate and fired the ball hard and low past the ‘keeper to put his side on level terms.

However, the Reds responded well to reclaim the lead within three minutes, when Maxi Rodriguez played Torres in down the middle, but a tackle from Samba saw the ball come back to Maxi, who only had to pass the ball back to the Spaniard, who in turn sent it into the open goal. Interestingly, goalkeeper Paul Robinson was several yards off his line on that occasion, and status quo may have been maintained if he had not rushed out towards the Argentine.

The second period began with the hosts looking to increase their lead right from the moment the referee got things under way, but Blackburn were keen on adding some emphasis to the physical aspect of their game in an effort to prevent attacks. In a span of 60 seconds, Martin Olsson and Steven N’Zonzi were cautioned by the referee as the Reds continued to push forward.

Rovers did see enough of the ball to try and change their fortunes, but the home side’s defences were hold their ground to clear the ball every time they were threatened.

However, Allardyce’s men found a weakness as the Liverpool defence was having some trouble dealing with high balls into the box. The men in blue-and-white tried to capitalise on this, but despite the back-line somehow managed to thwart the attacks to make sure the score line remained unchanged.

Deep into stoppage time, a header from Samba saw Reina produce a full-stretch save to keep his side in the lead. Without the heroic effort from the ‘keeper, the home side would have certainly dropped two points on the day.

As the referee blew the whistle to signal full-time, Liverpool ran away with the three points to continue their hunt for fourth place.

Read the article on Goal.com

Liverpool 2-1 Blackburn Rovers: Kop Favourites Steven Gerrard & Fernando Torres Ensure Victory At Anfield

‘Captain Fantastic’ began the proceedings with a left-footed shot past the ‘keeper, but a handball from Jamie Carragher allowed the visitors to equalise from the spot. A goalkeeping error coupled with an easy finish from Torres ensured three points for the hosts.

The Reds were experiencing some problems in defence due to injuries and suspensions, as Martin Skrtel succumbed to a broken metatarsal in the Europa League fixture against Unirea Urziceni. Sotirios Kyrgiakos was still serving a suspension, while Glen Johnson – who recently resumed light training – was not fit enough to be given a spot on the bench. Manager Rafael Benitez consequently started with Javier Mascherano in a right-back position, with Carragher, Daniel Agger, and Fabio Aurelio making up the rest of the back-line. The Spaniard also chose to field Dirk Kuyt alongside fellow-striker Torres, as opposed to a position on the right.

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce had to make do without his captain Ryan Nelsen, who is out with a knee injury, while defender Chris Samba made a return after serving a suspension.

The travellers began the game on a positive note by winning a corner in the second minute. E-Hadji Diouf – a former Red – took an in-swinging corner that was met by Chris Samba, but the header lacked power and produced a simple save from goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Meanwhile, the Merseysiders were having a little trouble settling down with a tentative style of play, but were keen to get Torres involved at every given opportunity. But unfortunately for them, the Spaniard’s first shot was closer to the stars than the goal.

With 15 minutes gone, midfielder Lucas was robbed of the ball in his own half, and Morten Gamst Pedersen fed the ball to Nikola Kalinic, whose shot missed the right of the goal.

However, the hosts were slowly growing in the game all this time, and Gerrard – who had seen very little of the ball until then – sent a pass to creative midfielder Yossi Benayoun, who in turn passed it back to the skipper, who timed his run to perfection and got past Samba to eventually send in a left-footed shot into the middle of the goal.

The visitors instantly came up with a positive response, as Pedersen forced Reina into a double save and won a corner in the process. But Allardyce’s charges were unable to capitalise on the situation, and parity was not restored.

Benitez’ defence woes increased after 38 minutes, when Fabio Aurelio had to be substituted owing to a thigh injury. Emiliano Insua was introduced in place of the crocked left-back.

A defensive error allowed the visiting side to draw level, when Carragher slid in for a tackle, but slipped and ended up handling the ball in the process. The centre-back’s sense of guilt made him look towards referee Alan Wiley as soon as he had handled the ball, and the man in charge had no problem in pointing to the spot. Andrews stepped up to the hot-plate and fired the ball hard and low past the ‘keeper to put his side on level terms.

However, the Reds responded well to reclaim the lead within three minutes, when Maxi Rodriguez played Torres in down the middle, but a tackle from Samba saw the ball come back to Maxi, who only had to pass the ball back to the Spaniard, who in turn sent it into the open goal. Interestingly, goalkeeper Paul Robinson was several yards off his line on that occasion, and status quo may have been maintained if he had not rushed out towards the Argentine.

The second period began with the hosts looking to increase their lead right from the moment the referee got things under way, but Blackburn were keen on adding some emphasis to the physical aspect of their game in an effort to prevent attacks. In a span of 60 seconds, Martin Olsson and Steven N’Zonzi were cautioned by the referee as the Reds continued to push forward.

Rovers did see enough of the ball to try and change their fortunes, but the home side’s defences were hold their ground to clear the ball every time they were threatened.

However, Allardyce’s men found a weakness as the Liverpool defence was having some trouble dealing with high balls into the box. The men in blue-and-white tried to capitalise on this, but despite the back-line somehow managed to thwart the attacks to make sure the score line remained unchanged.

Deep into stoppage time, a header from Samba saw Reina produce a full-stretch save to keep his side in the lead. Without the heroic effort from the ‘keeper, the home side would have certainly dropped two points on the day.

As the referee blew the whistle to signal full-time, Liverpool ran away with the three points to continue their hunt for fourth place.

Read the article on Goal.com

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