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The BBC's John Murray
"This will be Liverpool's fifth season in a row without a trophy"
 real 28k

Blackburn boss Tony Parkes
"I have no doubt we deserved to win"
 real 28k

Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier
"This is a difficult night for everyone at the club"
 real 28k

Monday, 10 January, 2000, 23:50 GMT
Blake's heaven at Anfield

Blake secured the biggest upset of round four

Liverpool 0-1 Blackburn

Blackburn's Nathan Blake scored a sensational winner five minutes from time to send Liverpool crashing out of the FA Cup at Anfield.

Just as a hard-fought tie looked destined to go to a replay, Welsh frontman Blake fired the First Division side into the fifth round, where they will meet Newcastle and their former captain Alan Shearer.

I'd have been happy with a draw. There aren't many teams who come to Anfield and win - especially from the Nationwide. That's the biggest result of my managerial career.
Blackburn boss Tony Parkes
The result effectively ends Liverpool's quest for honours for another season, with the Merseyside giants out of the Worthington Cup and adrift in the Premiership,

But for Blackburn, who have suffered a traumatic 12 months that saw them relegated from the top flight, it was a marvellous win on the same ground where they clinched the Premiership in 1995.

Liverpool had dominated possession throughout - but without first-choice strikers Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler they could find no way past a superb Rovers rearguard.

The Blackburn back four were at the top of their game throughout and, with Per Frandsen and Lee Carsley providing tenacious support in midfield, they held out to the dismay of the Anfield faithful.

Filan stands firm

Sami Hyypia had the first chance of the game in the sixth minute - but the Liverpool captain headed straight at John Filan.

Per Frandsen performed a vital midfield role for Blackburn
Blackburn took the ball straight back up the pitch, though, and Blake raced clear on the right - but as Sander Westerveld came to meet him, his chip just missed the far post.

Danny Murphy, who was employed in a more advanced role in the absence of Fowler and Owen, should have put Liverpool ahead in the 19th minute, following their best move of the game.

But after Titi Camara and Vladimir Smicer had torn apart the Blackburn defence, the make-shift striker was denied by the feet of the impressive Filan.

This a major setback for the club because we were hopeful of a good cup run. But we never looked like putting the ball in the back of the net.
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier
Blackburn continued to compete, though, and the longer the first half went on, the gap in class between the two teams became less obvious.

Westerveld was forced into a spectacular save to turn a fine striker from Blake around the post and, as half-time approached, Simon Grayson hit a low shot straight at the Liverpool keeper.

Camara clicks in

The game stepped up a gear after the break, and Liverpool, with Camara a constant threat, gradually assumed the ascendancy.

Generally, though, Blackburn's well-drilled defence were able to extinguish most of the Reds' attacking threat.

Tony Parkes has transformed Rovers since becoming manager
Murphy brought Anfield to their feet after 56 minutes when he spun sharply and shot in the area - but his effort hit the side-netting.

Camara then opened up the Rovers ranks with a trademark run and, after linking with Patrick Berger, rifled in a shot that Filan did well to parry.

By now Liverpool were causing major problems for Blackburn, who were fortunate to hold out as the ball ricocheted dangerously around their penalty area.

Callum Davidson nearly put the ball into his own net and was relieved to see Filan make a save, as the pressure was stepped up and he was left flat-footed by a Camara and Smicer combination.

Damien Duff skips over Stephen Gerrard's challenge
But just when it looked like the game was headed for a replay, the tie was turned on its head with Blake's killer blow.

Damien Duff started the move, Frandsen made some ground on the right, cut inside and after dummying his marker, slipped the ball to the unmarked striker, who side-footed the ball first time past Westerveld.

Liverpool were now in a state of desperation - but there was no way through as Rovers hung on.


Liverpool: Westerveld, Gerrard, Henchoz, Hyypia, Matteo, Smicer, Hamann, Carragher, Berger, Murphy, Camara.
Subs: Staunton, Heggem, Thompson, Nielsen, Newby.

Blackburn: Filan, Kenna, Dailly, Peacock, Davidson, Johnson, Frandsen, Carsley, Duff, Blake, Ostenstad.
Subs: Kelly, Jansen, Gillespie, Dunn, Grayson.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.