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LIVER BIRD – Blackburn Force FA Cup Replay

Image: skysports.comLiverpool have created themselves an extra fixture as they head towards the final portion of the season after picking up a 0-0 draw with Blackburn in the FA Cup quarter final. It was a game that really on paper the Reds should have had wrapped up but a lack of chances and poor conversion left Liverpool winless.The first big moment of note in the game involved Martin Skrtel. After he fell awkwardly from a Gestede challenge he actually lost conciousness momentarily on the pitch. Medics were very concerned and couldn’t take any risks and so the defender left the field on a stretcher giving a thumbs up as he went. Thankfully Skrtel was fine and after the match he indicated how he wanted to play on but he wasn’t allowed to, gotta love the man haha.The injury shook up Liverpool’s already slightly different defence. Brendan Rodgers had pushed Can up into midfield from the back three. Now at the start of the season I would have preferred Can here but after forging such a good partnership with his teammates at the back I felt he would of been better off there. The real issue for me here was that Can had taken the Lucas/Allen role, these players may get some stick but they add much needed balance which in turn allows Henderson the freedom to support the striker. We missed this support on Sunday I felt.In the first half a couple of penalty shouts grabbed the headlines, firstly a Lallana incident which to be honest I feel we would have been lucky to get. This was then shortly followed by an incident involving Sterling. Whilst defending, the ball hit off Raheem’s arm as he was running, I personally don’t feel there was any real intention here to handle the ball however Blackburn fans may feel different.Blackburn were relying on Gestede in the first half as Liverpool struggled to deal with the pressure. I genuinely thought Blackburn were going to find the back of the net in the first half but somehow it just didn’t happen. The Reds did get the ball in the back of the net of course but Kolo’s effort was correctly ruled offside.In the second half the Reds began to obtain more possession and it was Blackburn who then had to deal with bouts of pressure. As is often the case with Liverpool though, we create chances but lack that clinical final touch and so the away side remained very much in the game.Mario Balotelli entered play just before the hour mark, much to my excitement. I was quite shocked Brendan had brought him on but I do feel he definitely boosted our game. For those saying he doesn’t “move” or “try” I can’t see how you’d back that up watching those 30 minutes. He may not have scored but he did a lot more than most on the pitch Sunday evening.The second half continued but with no goals for either side. The best chance for Blackburn came after a sudden header from Baptiste was saved brilliantly by Simon Mignolet. For Liverpool a powerful strike from Daniel Sturridge was perhaps their best hope but again, the effort was saved.Penalty incidents again arose in the second half, particularly when Sturridge was pulled back in the box. For me, there wasn’t enough in it here, I was more concerned with the multiple incidents of Balo getting ragged in the box from corners and set pieces.And so, that was that. The Reds had failed to find a way past Blackburn and must now hope a trip to Ewood Park will prove more fruitful. The game will come in the week we face Manchester United but if Liverpool want to end this season in some form of glory then it should be possible for an in form team like ourselves to nab fourth and get to an FA Cup final in my opinion but I suppose we will have to see.______________________________________________________________________________Just a reminder folks I will unfortunately be missing quite a few match previews and reports over the coming weeks as I am jetting off to Mexico! I may be able to provide a Swansea preview it depends how busy I am in the run up with packing etc so I may schedule that. There will definitely be no United preview or report which I’m gutted about and there’ll also be two posts missing now we have that Blackburn replay.I’m sure you won’t miss me that much but laugh all you want I can promise you it’s going to feel very strange for me missing several posts, I may not be many things but I am definitely dedicated haha.I shall return soon one way or another with more footballing nonsense so stay tuned! Kirsty :) Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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GUARDIAN – Liverpool 0-0 Blackburn Rovers | FA Cup sixth round match report

“One Jack Walker” reverberated from the Anfield Road Stand as 6,000 Blackburn Rovers fans marked their club’s Premier League title win at Liverpool 20 years ago by honouring the benefactor who made it possible. But this was a celebration of the present as much as the past after Gary Bowyer’s Championship team frustrated Liverpool to secure a replay at Ewood Park and a well-earned shot at Wembley on their own terms.Bowyer marked the stalemate with a polite wave to the directors’ box, where the Rovers’ contingent were all air-punches and hugs after their determined side had held firm against the in-form team in the Premier League. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers praises Blackburn Rovers’ Gary Bowyer before FA cup quarter-final- video

The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rogers, comments on the spitting incident that occurred during the midweek game between Newcastle and Manchester United before looking ahead to his side’s FA Cup quarter-final against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday. Liverpool have not lost at Anfield since 8 November and Rodgers praises the Blackburn manager, Gary Bowyer, for preparing Rovers, who have ousted top-tier teams Stoke and Swansea, to this point Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Blackburn out to ruffle Liverpool feathers after surviving fowl times | Paul Doyle

With Wembley a game away, the FA Cup tie gives Gary Bowyer’s Championship side a chance to show how far they’ve come since the turmoil of two years’ ago• Blackburn’s Rudy Gestede punishes Swansea• Appleton’s sacking by Blackburn exposes Venky’s madnessBlackburn Rovers have found a new way to embarrass the Premier League and it is a darn sight more dignified than the last one. This season the Championship side have ousted two top-flight teams from the FA Cup – beating Swansea City 3-1 and Stoke City 4-1 – and on Sunday they will try to topple Liverpool, all of which makes an impressive change from the days when they made a mockery of the supposed high quality of the Premier League by giving monumental demonstrations of cluelessness and bile.The Indian chicken barons of Venky’s, who inspired a thousand fowl puns while unwittingly orchestrating Blackburn’s descent from the top tier in 2012, remain in charge but much has changed at Ewood Park. Despite persistent challenges there is new calmness, even optimism. Not the deluded optimism that led the owners to trumpet their intention to sign Ronaldinho and David Beckham and swagger into the Champions League after taking over in 2010, but a reasonable hope the club have recovered their senses and are moving forward again. Gary Bowyer deserves much of the thanks for that. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers feared sack before timing Liverpool rally to perfection

• ‘We had no identity and everyone could see it’ early in season• Win over Burnley on Wednesday would give team 29 points from last 33• Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard back in trainingBrendan Rodgers believes he would have lost his job as Liverpool’s manager without the “radical” change that has transformed the club’s Premier League season.Rodgers made the frank admission before Burnley’s arrival at Anfield on Wednesday night when a home victory would give his team a staggering 29 points from the past 33 available. In the leading five European leagues only Wolfsburg have a better points-per-game ratio than Liverpool in 2015. Continue reading…

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LIVER BIRD – Two Magical Strikes Seal Man City Win

View image | gettyimages.comLiverpool picked up a victory at home over Manchester City on Sunday afternoon as the Reds put a massive dent in Pellegrini’s title hopes. Two simply sublime strikes from Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho took the game away from City who only found the back of the net thanks to a Dzeko goal.The line up was familiar as Brendan Rodgers stuck with his favoured system of three at the back and no natural striker. I don’t like this set up as we all know and hilariously I spent half time tweeting about how “a few moments of magic may not be enough to beat City” however, thankfully I was wrong and magic was just what we needed.It didn’t take the Reds long at all to turn their fast paced start into a lead. After just ten minutes an assist from Raheem Sterling allowed Jordan Henderson to create a bit of space outside the box. He’ll often have a pop from range but this time he’d struck his effort with perfection. His powerful shot flew into the back of the net leaving Joe Hart dumbstruck.As much as I hate playing without a striker I have never denied that we always create problems and strings of attacks. Usually though we struggle to convert but we were oozing with confidence on Sunday afternoon.Playing against City you simply must attack and with some brilliant performances, especially from the likes of Coutinho and Allen, Manchester City were struggling to find their title winning form.Two minutes after our opening goal and Sergio Aguero had smashed an effort off the post, I would of put my house on him scoring then but it was City today who were failing to convert their chances. Unfortunately for Liverpool, ten minutes later they found their accuracy.A brilliantly worked goal, perhaps not helped by a momentary lapse from the Liverpool defence allowed Sergio Aguero to play a ball through to Dzeko who of course slotted the ball home. In fairness to Dzeko he always seems to be considered as the last option for City but he’s a reliable goalscorer.With the game level I did begin to worry. It appeared to me as though City were finding a foothold, whilst Liverpool continued to create attacks our skillful stars would get into a fantastic position only to look up and find nobody in the box to support them. We were crying out for a striker at this stage I thought but I couldn’t have been more wrong.As the teams came out for the second half it was clear Rodgers wasn’t prepared to bring a striker on just yet and so with another fast paced start the Reds began to build and build the pressure.At 74 minutes Philippe Coutinho pulled the rabbit out of the hat. A stunning strike from outside the area seemed to stop time as it swooped perfectly into the back of the net.Shortly after the goal Daniel Sturridge entered the fray but who needs a striker on ay?? Haha!Liverpool weathered the minimal storm for the remaining 15 minutes but ultimately Brendan Rodgers had steered his side to a massive win at Anfield.The Reds are now surely on course for the top four and with Burnley up next in the week it is hoped that our fantastic run of form will continue.I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweet I received:@LFCKirstyLFC Solid team performance Coutinho just keeps stepping up match after match. Wonder if Allen has let Toure out of his pocket yet?— Daniel Forsberg (@forsberg837) March 2, 2015 @LFCKirstyLFC Team spirit is high, we controlled against supposed superior team, limited them to only a handful of chances, excellent win— B-ry (@Bry_LFC7) March 2, 2015 Like “The Liver Bird” on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheLiverBirdsBlog

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