Match report to follow…
Liverpool went into this game trying to play down numerous rumours about imminent departures of the manager and the captain. They said they’d do the talking on the pitch and didn’t really want to discuss the rumours.
Unfortunately the talking on the pitch was far too quiet. Very few shots on goal, practically none on target, and a quite disjointed performance. For 90 minutes Liverpool just did not seem to show any creativity, and without threatening too often it was once again a night where Blackburn always seemed to be capable of winning the game.
Liverpool’s second-half performance was better than their first, but that wouldn’t have taken much. Mark Hughes, former player for both of Liverpool’s biggest rivals Manchester United and Everton, brought a team to play aggressively, defensively, but ready to exploit the counter attack.
Liverpool’s injury problems continued before the game, when Hyypia was forced to sit on the bench due to a stomach upset. Pellegrino stepped in for his fifth appearance of the season – none of which Liverpool have won.
Neither goalkeeper got his gloves dirty tonight, and the scoreless draw was probably the correct result overall.
Liverpool did close the gap on Everton, but the gap is still seven points. David Moyes was probably the only person in the ground to find the match entertaining – he’ll have worked out how to stifle Liverpool, and a draw on Sunday would be ideal for Everton.
Vladimir Smicer reportedly picked up an injury and was replaced at half-time, but his performance was poor enough to suggest he’d have been replaced sooner or later anyway. Riise improved matters for Liverpool as his replacement, but still not enough. Gerrard had a few moments where he threatened to turn the game around, but Morientes and Baros were not on form up front. Luis Garcia again had one of his quiet games and it was yet another "cold" game in Liverpool’s "hot and cold" season.
Ever since the game last week against Leverkusen, the team have been full of hope and confidence – so why can’t they transfer that to the pitch? Unfortunately Liverpool once again showed that they can’t play against teams with a mainly British flavour.
How Liverpool – and the fans – respond to this game is important. Had Baros not wasted a great chance Liverpool would have been ahead, and would probably have won convincingly after that. Everton will be a tough test – against another British manager – but the passion of the fans won’t be in question on Sunday. Tonight they were quiet. Too quiet.