Guardian: Kenny Dalglish sacked by Liverpool: what next? Live webchat

Join the Guardian’s football correspondent, Andy Hunter, to discuss the next steps for Liverpool following the departure of Kenny DalglishFollowing the sacking of the Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool’s owners, John W Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, have plenty to do to convince their fans that they have a coherent plan for the future of the club. As well as a search for a new manager, there are unanswered questions about a potential stadium move as the club strives to return to Premier League’s top table.Joining us to discuss where the club goes from here is our Liverpool based football correspondent Andy Hunter. He’ll be online answering your questions from 1:15pm BST. Please post whatever queries you have for him in the comments section below.We are posting the questions Andy responds to here to make the webchat easier to follow.bigdaithi asks:Is Rafa going to make a strong play for the job? Would he be seriously considered by FSG?AndyHunter replies:Benitez is on record as saying how much he wants to return to Liverpool and his reasons for rejecting other offers have always appeared a play for his old job back. In his eyes this would be perfect timing, with his record of Champions League qualification exactly what FSG need financially. But I don’t he fits the bill of what FSG are looking for. It seems they want a fresh start with a younger man at the helm and would be reluctant to go back. So, in a word, no.keenolikestorun asks:Who do you feel is the front runner? Fans/forums aren’t supporting the Martinez push as the media seem to be. A lot of worry it could be another Roy Hodgson style reign of terror…Andy Hunter replies:Villas-Boas is the early front runner, with early the operative word. The process of identifying Kenny Dalglish’s replacement has only just begun and FSG will not focus on one immediate target. It will be a thorough, exhaustive process. I wouldn’t say Martinez is a strong candidate for the Liverpool job at this stage.DanKelly84 asks:Did Dalglish & Liverpool success in the Cup competitions mask the inevitable, that he would be sacked due to the Suarez incident?We have seen the Director Of Football and Director Of Communications leaving in recent weeks, and this was obviously the next step.Question is, will Suarez be the next to go, and it’s no surprise he’s already releasing statements through agent regardings playing in Spain.Andy Hunter replies:There’s no suggestion whatsoever that Dalglish lost his job over the Suarez affair. In fact the owners supported the then Liverpool manager’s stance throughout most of the controversy.Suarez has said that the support he received from Liverpool – led by Dalglish – is a major factor in him wanting to sign a contract extension this summer. Whether Dalglish’s departure changes his perspective remains to be seen. Negotiations, as they say, are ongoing.Only1Rovers asks:Surely the consistent clearing of desks at Anfield over the last number of weeks is paving the way for JW Henry to put in place the structures Fenway believe are required to start from scratch in rebuilding the club?Andy Hunter replies:That’s certainly how it appears from here, although they’ve had 19 months to start that process. It will have to be this summer. There is no reason why not now.SpinningHugo asks:Considering the large sums frittered away last summer (and the January before), what funds would any new manager have to spend?Andy Hunter replies:Any new manager of the calibre FSG want and Liverpool need will have to be given funds to bridge the 17-point gap between the club and fourth place this season. I’m sure the owners are well aware of that.Liverpool’s commercial revenues remain strong and they have the bank facility to borrow but seriously doubt they can match the outlay of 2011. £120m was spent, over £70m brought in, but – apart from Suarez – there are not too many players in this Liverpool squad that can be sold for a profit to generate extra.reddwarf9 asks:How likely is it that Liverpool could attract Jürgen Klopp as their next manager? a fine manager who’s working wonders at Dortmund. A manager like him could attract some superb young German talent to Anfield next season who would take the premier league by stormAndy Hunter writes:Klopp would be one to captivate Liverpool and would show the ambition, and the attraction of the club, remains what its supporters expect. His philosophy and age, and of course the ability to mould a fine team on a relatively modest budget, surely appeals to FSG. Getting him out of Dortmund and out of the Champions League, however, would be very difficult. Liverpool would not be the only suitors if he became available and, as they found even when trying to sign Phil Jones from Blackburn or Ashley Young from Aston Villa last summer, the absence of Champions League football is a serious disadvantage.LiverpoolPremier LeaguePremier League 2011-12Kenny DalglishAndy Hunterguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Kenny Dalglish is in discussions with Liverpool’s owners over future

• Manager travelled to Boston to meet John W Henry• Dalglish wants any uncertainties resolved soonKenny Dalglish has delivered his end-of-season review to Liverpool’s owners during direct talks with JohnWHenry and Tom Werner in the United States that will determine his fate as manager.Dalglish had been scheduled to give his assessment on a contrasting season of Premier League disappointment and cup success following the final game of the season at Swansea City. However, mindful of the uncertainty that has surrounded his position since losing to Chelsea in the FACup final on 5May, he travelled to Boston after defeat at the Liberty Stadium seeking clarification that Fenway Sports Group want him in charge for next season.The Liverpool manager is due to go on holiday on Wednesday and wants the uncertainty resolved as he attempts to proceed with rebuilding plans in the continued absence of a director of football at Anfield. Dalglish was not summoned to Boston by FSG, who are naturally concerned at Liverpool’s failure to have any impact on Champions League qualification despite their £120m investment on new players. The club won the Carling Cup this season and reached the final of the FACup but, on the flip side, recorded their lowest points tally in the Premier League era and lowest league placing since 1993-94.Werner claimed that Dalglish’s position was safe in the wake of Damien Comolli’s departure in April, the former director of football paying the price for Liverpool’s largesse in the transfer market. The Liverpool chairman, the principal owner Henry and the managing director, Ian Ayre, would not confirm that this remained their position after the FACup final, however, and Dalglish admitted on Friday that he had received no further assurances from the club’s owners. He is expected to receive a definite answer this week.FSG have also sacked Liverpool’s head of sports science, DrPeter Brukner, and head of communications, Ian Cotton, as they conduct a root-and-branch review that has extended to changing the publisher of the club’s official magazines. They requested an end-of-season assessment from Dalglish and his coaching staff of Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen several months ago and the Liverpool manager reiterated his belief that the squad does not require a major overhaul to mount a top-four challenge next season.Xavi Valero, Liverpool’s former goalkeeping coach under Rafael Benítez, is considering an offer to rejoin the club and Dirk Kuyt has revealed he rejected a return to Feyenoord as, “if I returned to Holland, I would have to take an 80% cut in my Liverpool wages”. Kuyt, who has fallen out of favour under Dalglish, added: “If you are 35 or 36, you know your career is almost done. But I’m only 31 and in the prime of my life. I still have two or three years left at the top. I still have the ambition and fitness to play at the highest level, a club in a major competition or a big club with European ambitions.”Kuyt’s future at Liverpool remains in doubt, as does that of Maxi Rodríguez, but the Liverpool manager claims only a few additions are required and believes the club can resist approaches from rivals in the Champions League.Dalglish said: “The only one we are losing is Fabio [Aurelio] because his contract is up. We are not interested in losing anyone else. I don’t know what the Champions League clubs are going to do but we are looking to bring people in. I would say that’s the natural course of events – there are very few seasons that any club hasn’t moved someone in. Our intention is to add to what we have got.”We don’t want anyone to go. We are going to have a lot of games next year – the Europa League, Carling Cup and Premier League all before Christmas. The better we do in the first two competitions, by the turn of the year we could have four competitions.”LiverpoolKenny DalglishPremier League 2011-12Premier LeagueAndy Hunterguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Swansea City 1-0 Liverpool | Premier League match report

It was party time at the Liberty, Swansea fans celebrating a memorable and unexpectedly successful first season in the Premier League by dressing as Elvis Presley. Victory over Liverpool, with a late strike from Danny Graham, was the ideal way to sign off.Unexpectedly successful? The fancy dress parade was prompted by the manager, Brendan Rodgers, who had gone public with the recollection that one local critic suggested last summer that Elvis was more likely to put in an appearance than Swansea were to avoid relegation.As it has turned out, all the disappointment has been elsewhere and notably at Liverpool. The league table does not lie, and that other “King”, Kenny Dalglish, has presided over a team as ordinary as their finishing position would suggest. It is a damning statistic that they won just four of their last 15 league matches.Swansea were the better, more cohesive unit, and Gylfi Sigurdsson twice threatened to give them the lead, Doni producing a top notch save, low to his right, to repel the second attempt. The reserve goalkeeper, deputising for José Reina, further distinguished himself in using his legs to keep out a goalbound shot from Nathan Dyer. Neil Taylor also tested himPresumably, the end of season factor was behind Mark Halsey’s decision not to send off Andy Carroll in added time at the end of the first half after a scuffle which saw the Liverpool striker grab Ashley Williams by the throat. The referee opted to book both players.Reprieved, Carroll produced the highlight of the match with an overhead kick, executed with his back to goal, which brought an equally stunning response from Michel Vorm. The Dutch goalkeeper, newly elected as Swansea’s player of the year, took off and flew high to his right with startling agility to turn the ball behind.Stewart Downing’s dire season – no goals, no assists in 36 Premier League appearances – was brought to an end after an hour, when he gave way to Craig Bellamy, and another substitution gave Dirk Kuyt what is expected to be his last appearance for Liverpool. The Dutchman plans to move on, probably back home to the Netherlands. Kuyt announced himself with a low centre from the right which deserved a better fate than Carroll’s weak shot, straight at Vorm.Graham showed him how such things should be done, driving home the winner from near the penalty spot after 86 minutes, from a cross supplied by Angel Rangel.Premier League 2011-12Swansea CityLiverpoolPremier LeagueJoe Lovejoyguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Liverpool v Chelsea – live! | Simon Burnton

• Click here for the latest (live) league tables• You can follow Simon at @simon_burnton• And email him at simon.burnton@guardian.co.ukSimon will be here from 7.30pm or so for coverage of Liverpool v Chelsea. In the meantime, here’s a wee piece on Fernando Torres’s return to Anfield:Roberto Di Matteo is expected to hand Fernando Torres a place in the Chelsea starting lineup against Liverpool on Tuesday night, giving the striker his first action at Anfield since his British record £50m move to London 15 months ago, as his side attempt to maintain their faint hopes of a top‑four finish.The FA Cup winners will travel to Merseyside for a swift rematch against the team they defeated at Wembley needing to win to stand any chance of being in contention for a top‑four spot when they host Blackburn Rovers in their final game on Sunday. Had Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United won on Sunday then Chelsea would already be contemplating a sixth-place finish, their lowest in a decade. Yet the failure of the three sides immediately above them in the table to emerge victorious from the penultimate round of matches means Di Matteo’s team can still strictly finish as high as third, above Arsenal.That scenario remains unlikely but the team selection at Anfield will reflect such a possibility even with the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to come this month. The interim first-team coach indicated at the weekend that his selection would “depend on Sunday’s results” and, while the likes of Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Juan Mata are all likely to sit out the match, the coach will still pick a strong side that includes experience.For the full article, click here.Premier League 2011-12LiverpoolChelseaPremier LeagueSimon Burntonguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Liverpool 0-1 Fulham | Premier League match report

History was made at Anfield and in keeping with a woeful home campaign it was a slice Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool will want to forget as Fulham recorded their first win on Merseyside at the 49th attempt. This was no way to prepare for an FA Cup final and Liverpool’s only consolation is that their team, like their cup form, will be unrecognisable against Chelsea at Wembley.Boos rang out on the final whistle as Fulham, with Martin Jol again absent due to a chest infection, savoured a debut win on Merseyside soil and only their 16th away league victory in 132 games. For Liverpool, it is now only five wins from 18 home matches this season and this dismal display never once threatened to improve that return.In terms of team selection, performance level and atmosphere, Liverpool could not have appeared more in cup final mode had Dalglish selected Craig Johnston to perform the “Anfield Rap” in the centre circle. Only Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson remained from the side that defeated Norwich City on Saturday as the Liverpool manager’s protection policy ahead of the FACup final extended as far as goalkeeper.Liverpool gained valuable momentum before the semi-final triumph over Everton courtesy of Andy Carroll’s stoppage-time winner at Blackburn Rovers but lost their second‑choice keeper and almost their third to suspension at Ewood Park. This was evidently not a night for risks, although those who were selected took the manager’s approach too far.Fulham had never won a league game on Merseyside and were smarting from a comprehensive 4-0 defeat at Goodison Park four days before. The opposition lineup, however, offered all the encouragement required to end their dismal run on Merseyside and Clint Dempsey was instrumental in taking the game to Liverpool from the start. They prospered in their first meaningful attack.Dempsey broke through Liverpool’s weak central midfield and found John Arne Riise lurking in his old position down the flank at Anfield.His low cross found Alex Kacaniklic unmarked in front of goal and, though a slice followed from the former Liverpool trainee – exchanged as part of the deal that brought Paul Konchesky to Anfield under Roy Hodgson – the ball struck Martin Skrtel and deflected beyond the wrong-footed Doni.There was hardly a murmur inside Anfield as Fulham celebrated but frustrated groans began to fill the stadium in recognition of an anaemic Liverpool display littered with misplaced passes. A belated response did arrive, in fairness, once the home side supplied Carroll but Mark Schwarzer was equal to one powerful header from the centre-forward and got a touch to a Shelvey shot, thus enabling Brede Hangeland to clear off the line.Fulham remained vibrant on the counter-attack and Doni prevented Pavel Pogrebnyak, Damien Duff, Riise and Dempsey twice from doubling their advantage. A superb covering tackle by Hangeland denied Maxi Rodriguez an equaliser once he broke clear of Aaron Hughes but that was a rare moment of promise from a subdued Liverpool side. Schwarzer, in stark contrast to Doni, had little to do in the second half and only the introduction of the 17-year-old Raheem Sterling offered Anfield cause for optimism.Premier League 2011-12LiverpoolFulhamPremier LeagueAndy Hunterguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool | Premier League match report

Luis Suárez suggested that a season of gloom for him could yet end with glee as he warmed up for next weekend’s FA Cup final by scoring a superb hat-trick to give Liverpool a comfortable victory against Norwich CityThat this was a mid-table match at this stage of the season bore testament to a successful campaign by Norwich and an exasperating one for Liverpool.It was unclear whether Liverpool were preserving themselves for Tuesday’s game against Fulham and next weekend’s FA Cup final or were playing badly despite their best efforts, as their early passing was erratic and their pressing inconsequential. Norwich, despite changing five players from last week’s defect at Blackburn Rovers and having to reshuffle in the 12th minute when Adam Drury went off injured, were looking the more coherent side, though equally impotent in attack. As so often in the past, it took Steven Gerrard raise Liverpool to a higher level.With a sudden burst that jolted Norwich, the visiting captain, returning to the team after missing the last four matches, nicked the ball off David Fox in midfield and nudged it through to Suárez, who did what he has frequently failed to do this season, and converted the chance emphatically, lashing the ball into the far corner of the net from 16 yards. It was the first shot of the match, after 24 minutes.The goal gave Liverpool their groove back. Two minutes later, they could have doubled their lead as Suárez dispossessed Elliot Ward wide on the right and cut the ball back for Gerrard, whose shot deflected wide. Norwich began to crumple, and in the 29th minute Suárez harassed Ward into another error before dashing into the box and firing low past John Ruddy. Finally, the Uruguayan brought his Premier League goal tally to double figures for the season.Liverpool had moved into Easy Street, and Norwich looked incapable of evicting them, as the home side’s early fluency departed. Their lack of possession began to vex them, and Johnny Howson was booked for a splenetic foul on Gerrard after an attempted attack fizzled out. By half-time, Norwich still had not mustered a shot.Paul Lambert made another substitution after the break, replacing the hapless Fox with James Vaughan, and switching from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 formation. Norwich forced a succession of corners immediately after the resumption but Liverpool dealt with them well. In the 51st minute, the Canaries finally registered a shot, and a fine one it was too, Elliot Bennett’s terrific swirling effort from 25 yards giving Pepe Reina an opportunity to show he had lost none of his agility during his three-game suspension. However, the goalkeeper would not have been able to reach Bradley Johnson’s header from the ensuing corner if it had been in the top corner rather than a couple of inches to the right of it. Johnson had no time to dwell on that, as moments later he was required to block a close-range Suárez shot at the other end, and was grateful that Jonjo Shelvey nodded the rebound against the crossbar. Shelvey went close again in the 55th minute, when José Enrique fizzed the ball across the face of Norwich’s goal.Stuart Downing then drew a smart save from Ruddy before, in the 64th minute, Suárez nutmegged Ryan Bennett to give himself a chance of claiming his first hat-trick for Liverpool, only to chip over the bar.With Norwich looking tired from what has been a triumphant campaign for them, Lambert responded to the pleas of a club-record home crowd by introducing Grant Holt in a bid to mount an unlikely comeback in the final 15 minutes. Instead, Suárez, who had been barracked by the locals for the entire game, stunned them into silence by plundering his maiden hat-trick with extraordinary panache. After collecting the ball just inside the Norwich half he glanced upwards and sent a perfect lob over Ruddy from 45 yards.Premier League 2011-12Norwich CityLiverpoolPremier LeaguePaul Doyleguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Liverpool 0-1 West Bromwich Albion | Premier League match report

Victories at Anfield did not come often enough for Roy Hodgson to convince Liverpool’s support and owners that he was the man to lead their recovery. He was sacked after six months with a better home record than Kenny Dalglish has managed in nine, however, and this was a return to savour after Peter Odemwingie’s goal brought West Bromwich Albion their first win at Anfield in exactly 45 years.Hodgson won six league games at Anfield during his ill-fated spell as Liverpool manager. His successor has five and a miserable return of just 24 points from a possible 51 at home this season. Thank goodness, Dalglish would never say but must surely think, for Liverpool’s transformation whenever they are competing for a cup.Liverpool controlled proceedings and created a host of inviting opportunities but the only goalkeeper seriously tested before half-time was José Reina. Twice the Spaniard came to the home side’s rescue on his return to the side from a three-match and ultimately painless suspension.The sense of bewilderment that has filled Anfield too often this season returned with Liverpool’s first attack when Andy Carroll dispossessed Youssouf Mulumbu and released Luis Suárez against the visiting defence. Suárez picked out the unmarked Dirk Kuyt on the right and his low shot beat Ben Foster but evaded the far post too. Suárez repeated that trick and also cut inside the Albion area, again having been sent clear by the impressive Carroll, only for his goalbound shot to strike Liam Ridgewell and cannon clear. The Uruguay international was then denied by Foster, watched aghast as Maxi Rodríguez blazed the rebound over and glanced José Enrique’s inviting cross inches over.Rodríguez was involved in the game’s only controversy midway through the first half when going down in the area under a touch from Billy Jones. There was slight contact as the Argentinean raced to the line but not enough for the theatrical tumble that followed. Referee Neil Swarbrick had clear sight of the incident, considered long and hard and awarded a goal-kick but no yellow card to the Liverpool midfielder.After all the pressure it was West Bromwich who came closest to opening the scoring. Reina made a superb one-handed save to thwart Chris Brunt’s volley at close range and was well positioned when Shane Long met Graham Dorrans’ corner.The second half followed an identical pattern and, having survived several goalline clearances, Albion capitalised on a poor mistake from Glen Johnson when he was harried along the touchline and into a careless pass inside by Mulumbu. The ball ricocheted into the path of Odemwingie who sprinted clear and beat Reina with a convincing finish.Premier League 2011-12LiverpoolWest Bromwich AlbionPremier LeagueAndy Hunterguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Squad sheets: Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion

Carling Cup success did not improve Liverpool in the Premier League, with five of their next six games ending in defeat, but there is no excuse for coasting following their latest Wembley win. Team places for the FA Cup final are at stake over the next three matches, the club’s owners are in town, and Kenny Dalglish is demanding momentum ahead of the meeting with Chelsea as Liverpool aim to overtake Everton in the table. Anfield knows from painful experience that patience is required with a Roy Hodgson team and Albion boast as many away wins this season as Chelsea and Tottenham. Andy HunterVenue Anfield, Sunday 4pmTickets Sold outLast season Liverpool 1 West Brom 0Referee Neil SwarbrickThis season’s matches 10 Y30, R3, 3.30 cards per gameOdds Liverpool 5-11 West Brom 15-2 Draw 18-5LiverpoolSubs from Doni, Jones, Kelly, Carragher, Kuyt, Shelvey, Bellamy, Rodríguez, Coates, Flanagan, Robinson, Sterling, AurélioDoubtful Robinson (ankle)Injured Adam (knee, 13 May), Lucas (knee, Aug)Suspended NoneForm guide WDLLLWDisciplinary record Y50 R5Leading scorer Suárez 8West Bromwich AlbionSubs from Daniels, Fulop, Tchoyi, Cox, Thomas, Shorey, Dawson, Thorne, Tamas, Fortuné, Scharner, Hurst, RoofeDoubtful Fortuné (hamstring), Olsson (groin), Scharner (illness), Tchoyi (illness)Injured Gera (knee, 6 May), Morrison (knee, 13 May), Reid (ankle, Aug)Suspended NoneForm guide WLWLLDDisciplinary record Y45 R1Leading scorer Odemwingie 9Match pointers• Liverpool have won all of their previous five home games with Albion in the top flight without conceding a goal• Albion have not had a victory at Anfield in any competition since April 1967 – a run of 24 matches• There have been fewer Premier League goals scored at Anfield this season than at any other ground in the division• Only 4% of the goals let in by Albion in 2011-12 have come from corners, a lower proportion than any other side• Liverpool have hit the bar or post on seven more occasions (28) any other top-flight teamLiverpoolWest Bromwich AlbionPremier League 2011-12Premier Leagueguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Guardian: Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Liverpool | Premier League match report

Andy Carroll’s stoppage-time header gave Liverpool victory on a farcical night in Blackburn when, for the second time in three matches, Kenny Dalglish saw his goalkeeper receive a red card that will suspend him from Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Everton at Wembley.First it was José Reina’s foolish use of the head at Newcastle. At Ewood Park it was the turn of his understudy, Doni, to see red for a professional foul on Junior Hoilett that brought Brad Jones into the Liverpool goal five months after the death of his son. Jones also flirted with red in the penalty that looked to have salvaged a point for Blackburn but, in the dying seconds, Carroll threw himself at Daniel Agger’s header to secure a first win in five matches for the Anfield club.There was no disguising the magnitude of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Everton in Dalglish’s team selection, despite his mantra of focusing only on the next game, as the Liverpool manager made six changes to the side that drew with Aston Villa.In came Carroll, Craig Bellamy, Maxi Rodriguez, Sebastián Coates, Jay Spearing and Glen Johnson, who along with the fit-again Daniel Agger offers hope of greater defensive solidity for the weeks ahead, while the Dane, Luis Suárez, José Enrique, Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt dropped to the bench. Steven Gerrard and Stewart Downing were given the night off completely but the luxury must have been tinged with unease, for the latter at least, as his replacement flourished.Dalglish’s limited deployment of Maxi Rodríguez has bewildered throughout a season in which Liverpool have lacked penetration and intelligent movement in attack. It still does, after the Argentinean injected both into the left of Liverpool’s forward line and dragged the visitors into a comfort zone with only 16 minutes on the clock.The opening goal was route one in style. Carroll cut out a Blackburn free-kick into the Liverpool area, given when Jon Flanagan commenced his poor night with a yellow card for a foul on Martin Olsson, and played it safe to Martin Skrtel. His 80-yard ball sent Bellamy scurrying away down the right and the cross was perfectly measured across goal for Rodríguez to tap in at the far post. Three minutes later, he scored for the sixth time in 16 appearances this season from a similar position. Jonjo Shelvey was given licence to roam through the Rovers’ midfield and, though Paul Robinson saved his low drive and his defenders blocked Carroll’s follow-up, the ball sat up invitingly for the former Atlético Madrid captain to volley into an empty net.Liverpool were dominating with a composure and cutting edge that has escaped them frequently this season and the prospect of a damaging fourth straight defeat reignited jeers for Steve Kean’s team from the Rovers faithful.Flanagan was fortunate to escape a second booking for a blatant foul on Martin Olsson, a point made clear by the referee Anthony Taylor to the stand-in captain Skrtel. Moments later the young Liverpool right-back underhit a back-pass towards his goalkeeper Doni that enabled Junior Hoilett to intercept and, when he was felled by the Brazilian, a red card followed for Reina’s replacement.As Doni took an age to leave the pitch, no doubt with hopes of a Wembley appearance deserting him, Liverpool’s third-choice goalkeeper Jones stripped off ahead of his first league outing for the Anfield club and his first display since losing his young son Luca to leukaemia.The Australian’s first touch was to stop a truly atrocious penalty from an overly-casual Yakubu Ayegbeni, prompting wild celebrations from Reina and others on the Liverpool bench.Jones, a £2.5m signing from Middlesbrough under Roy Hodgson, was beaten by Yakubu after Bellamy had been penalised for handball. From David Dunn’s free-kick, the Nigeria international drifted behind Johnson and made amends for his penalty ‘attempt’ with a glancing header into the far corner.Grant Hanley came close to converting a fine left-wing cross from Martin Olsson as Blackburn inevitably improved against the 10 men. There was less of an excuse for Carroll early in the second half when, from an almost identical position two yards from goal, he connected with a Bellamy corner but sent a diving header wide.Despite the numerical disadvantage Liverpool continued to pose the greater threat on the break but were undone by yet another ridiculous mistake on the hour. Jones’ clearance was charged down by Yakubu, who was then pushed over by the Liverpool keeper as he sought to capitalise on the Australian’s failure to hold the ball as it dropped from the sky. Penalty but no red card, the referee adjudged, and as Ewood raged Yakubu rectified his previous penalty by sending Jones the wrong way from the spot.LiverpoolBlackburn RoversPremier League 2011-12Premier LeagueAndy Hunterguardian.co.uk 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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