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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 21:17 GMT 22:17 UK
Liverpool win Rovers thriller
Liverpool's Michael Owen and Danny Murphy
Owen congratulates Murphy after the first goal
Liverpool 4-3 Blackburn Rovers

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Liverpool edged this seven-goal thriller, but players on both sides left the watching Sven Goran Eriksson with plenty to ponder.

In a barnstorming encounter, the England coach saw two possible squad members hit the back of the net and one probable was injured after a stunning winner.

  Photo Gallery: See this story in pictures

Matt Jansen looked to have snatched a point when he fired home from a tight angle in the last 10 minutes.

But Liverpool stepped up the pressure again and Emile Heskey turned and shot low to give the home side the points.

England coach Sven Goran Eriksson
Eriksson saw enough to keep him up all night

Eriksson will be concerned over the fitness of Heskey, who picked up a knock in scoring the winner and was left hobbling for the remaning minutes.

England hopefuls Danny Murphy and Jansen may have also given Eriksson a sleepless night after capping stunning displays with a goal apiece.

Of the pair, though, it was Murphy who looks the most likely to make the squd after a display of purpose, battle and improvisation.

The 25-year-old suffered a kick in the face as early as the first minute, but he recovered well enough to put the home side ahead midway through the first half.

He was in the wars again after 30 minutes when he suffered a dead leg after flinging himself bravely at a Steven Gerrard cross.

Anelka solo effort

Eriksson would also have been happy with the form of Gerrard, who was the starting point for most of Liverpool's enterprise.

Owen too showed that he was equally a handful from a deeper position.

It was a Frenchman, though, who brought the highlight of the evening.

Nicolas Anelka, who is still waiting to hear about any permanent move to Anfield, was instrumental in a display that lifted Liverpool back into the Premiership runner-up spot.

The 23-year-old picked up the ball in midfield, just six minutes before half-time, shrugged off the challenge of Craig Short before firing the ball across Blackburn keeper Alan Kelly.

Anelka almost managed a second with a rippling shot from outside the Blackburn area but Kelly, making a rare start, tipped over well.

He almost put in Owen in the second-half and Jon Arne Riise raced clear after an intelligent ball from the Frenchman.

Earlier Murphy had improved his chances of a trip to Korea by giving Liverpool the lead with a goal that owed plenty to persistence and luck.

Riise showed the vision to chase down a lost cause down the right-hand side and keep the ball in play.

The Norweigan international's cross then found Murphy, whose slipped but still managed to scoop the ball past Kelly via a deflection.

Liverpool on-loan striker Nocolas Anelka
Anelka showed why he is likely to stay on at Anfield

But Blackburn Rovers shocked Anfield with an equaliser just as Liverpool were thinking of chasing a second killer goal.

Wonderful interplay between Damien Duff and David Dunn left the Republic of Ireland international with enough space in the penalty box to slot the ball past Jerzy Dudek.

Blackburn again showed that their top 12 spot in their first season back in the Premiership is no fluke with another equaliser just after half-time.

And it was former England striker Andy Cole, who found the net with a point blank header from a Lucas Neill cross.

Liverpool did regain the lead when Sami Hyypia headed home from a corner.

Then Jansen looked to have spoiled Liverpool's chances of leapfrogging Manchester United into second spot with a drilled shot in the final ten minutes.

But Heskey it was who stepped up to eventually deliver the three points.

  Post-match quotes


Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, Murphy, Gerrard, Hamann (Xavier 81), Heskey, Anelka, Owen (Smicer 90).
Subs Not Used: Arphexad, Barmby, McAllister.

Booked: Gerrard.

Blackburn: Kelly, Curtis (Gillespie 60), Berg (Hughes 90), Short, Neill, Dunn, Tugay, Johansson, Duff, Cole, Jansen.
Subs Not Used: Yordi, Unsal, Miller.

Booked: Duff.

Attendance: 40,663

Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Charlie Lambert
"Liverpool are finishing on a high"
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"I could feel the belief in the team"
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