Reds v Blackburn – post-match reaction

Rafael Benitez, talking about Djbril Cisse scoring return to the Reds starting line-up: "It is always important for a striker to score goals. People talked a lot about what was said in midweek and to score a goal he must be happy. We shook hands after his goal because he is a professional, we are both professionals. He worked hard, scored the goal and got us the win. And for him, after he broke his leg at Blackburn last season, this was a better outcome."

Rafa talking diplomatically about Blackburn’s expected game plan and their loss of a player:
"We knew we would be playing against a tough team today, we tried to continue the same way, play football, win the second ball and at set-pieces. You can score in the first minute or the last minute and it’s the same. It’s normal to create so many opportunities against ten men. We scored one goal but if it finished three-nil it would have probably been normal for playing against ten."

Blackburn boss and ex-Manc Mark Hughes talking about referee Mark Halsey’s red card for Zurab Khizanishvili: "I’d like him to look at that decision again because it changed the outcome of the game. After he originally gave the penalty he told my players it would probably be a yellow card, but after his linesman buzzed him and rightfully told him the ball was outside the box he showed him the red card. Would he have given a red card if it was a penalty or did he change his mind because it was outside the box?"

Hughes on how he felt they would have won with eleven men:
"It was hard to take, we started the game brightly and were the more dominant team, the sending-off changed the complexion of the game. Having spoken to the lads, the referee’s initial decision was that it was a penalty and he was pushed into seeing that was incorrect and when he goes over to the linesman he is saying it was likely to be a yellow card. But then he asked for clarification from his assistant and he is told the tackle was outside the box, then he comes back and gives him a red card."

Hughes, continuing to talk himself into an FA disciplinary hearing: "If he had given the penalty, would he have sent him off? The fact he didn’t give a penalty seemed to change his mind and give our lad the red card. It wasn’t a goalscoring opportunity, he wasn’t bearing down on goal and he was actually going away from the goal. There were players getting back and the referee needs to look at the decision because he has affected the outcome of the game and we will appeal."

Hughes on the sending off. Still: "If we don’t appeal we will lose him and also Lucas Neill at right-back, and that’s our cover taken out in one go. It changed the game. I thought we were excellent all day, we had to be determined and resolute and as the game went on I felt the only way we would concede was a set piece. Liverpool didn’t create anything in open play. You fear when they get a free kick on the edge of the box that something will happen but I can’t fault my players."