Liverpool’s encounter with Blackburn was a dirty game on and off the pitch: six yellow cards, two reds not given and 36 fouls, yet it was only in the aftermath of Liverpool’s 2:1 victory over Blackburn. Not even the “Superman’s” Fernando Torres’ return and his winning goal were able to cover the mud-wrestling between the two coaches.
Before this Sunday Sam Allardyce claimed that his Blackburn Rovers could beat Liverpool on any given day. Yesterday obviously wasn’t THAT day. Allardyce has not celebrated victory over the Reds since September 2006 when Bolton Wanderers were his employers. Any given day? Not any in the past 3,5 years, obviously, mister Allardyce.
“Some people have to talk before and after the game because it’s more difficult for them to do a football job,” was Rafael Benítez’s post-match respond. “It doesn’t matter what he said — we won,” the manager added.
Anyway, the play which took place on the pitch wasn’t less nasty than the verbal slaughter in the press rooms. The beginning was a bit chaotic and Blackburn dominated the game. With two great goal chances from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Christopher Samba, fantastic saved by Pepe Reina, could already be the beginning of the end for the hosting team. But then Steven Gerrard was able to hit the ball into the net and inspired his team to push forward. From this moment Liverpool dominated the lawn.
What’s the most worth to mention is, that Fernando Torres marked his first start in six weeks and scored the winning goal for Liverpool: his 13th in only 17 league appearances this season and that’s not a bad achievement at all. But it’s his countryman, Pepe Reina, who deserves the man of the match title. Thanks to his heroic and purely geniussaves Liverpool could win this Sunday clash. Though, a penalty by Keith Andrews unfortunately canceled Pepe’s “six-hours-without-letting-a-league-goal-at-Anfeild” record. But his vital 90th-minute save from Christopher Samba’s header was an eye’s delight, a genius performance.
Oh, and we have to mention Javier Mascherano’s heroic run in the last second of the 5 minutes added time before he got stopped by Blackburn’s winger. What a run that was!
Blackburn are known for playing dirty and yesterday they were extremely fortunate not to have Steven Nzonzi and Pascal Chimbonda sent off; the former for grabbing Lucas Leiva’s face and throwing him to the floor, the latter for thrusting his studs into the chest of Maxi Rodríguez. Well, it was hard to overlook that the referee, A. Wiley, was very Blackburn-friendly.
Yesterday’s event at Anfield was pretty memorable, notonly because of football, but I think all the fans will agree with me: we do rather prefer the battles on the pitch.