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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 21:55 GMT
Liverpool 0-0 Blackburn
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard beats Blackburn's Aaron Mokoena to the ball at Anfield but could not inspire his side to a much-needed win
A lacklustre Liverpool were held to a draw by Blackburn as their hopes of catching Everton for a place in the Champions League suffered a blow.

Liverpool were continually stifled and lacked the creativity to dissect an uncompromising visitors defence.

Reds striker Milan Baros had a rare chance only to side-foot high.

Jamie Carragher felt Liverpool should have had a penalty for a Ryan Nelsen nudge but it would have been harsh on a resurgent Blackburn.

The emphasis was on Liverpool to break down a disciplined Blackburn but, despite dominating possession, the Reds struggled in the final third against a resolute defence.

Blackburn's centre-back duo of Andy Todd and Nelsen were especially impressive as Liverpool failed to come to terms with the pressure being applied by the visitors.

Blackburn centre-back Ryan Nelsen tackles Liverpool striker Milan Baros
Baros lacked sharpness in front of goal

But, while Blackburn were organised and committed, there was little of the creativity Liverpool needed to unhinge Mark Hughes's determined side.

The play of the home side betrayed the urgency of their situation as they chase Everton, who were eight points ahead having played a game more before kick-off, for a Champions League spot.

Everton boss David Moyes was a spectator at Anfield and he will have seen little to fear before the Merseyside rivals meet on Sunday.

Liverpool breathed a sigh of relief when Steven Reid just failed to meet a near-post Blackburn cross at the start of the second half before they created a promising opening at the other end.

John Arne Riise, surprisingly on the bench, came on as a half-time substitute and he pulled a ball back for Baros who ballooned a shot disappointingly high.

Riise pinged a free-kick wide and Carragher was angry at a penalty not being awarded for a push by Nelsen as the pair challenged to meet a Steven Gerrard cross.

But that was as close Liverpool got as they had to make do with a point which leaves them seven points behind Everton.

  • Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
    "I tried to win with the players we have at the moment. We tried to play with the wingers but we didn't have the space.

    "We know that the Everton game is very important. Our idea will be the same to go for a win.

    "After this game the gap is seven points and we know it will be necessary to win."

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    Blackburn play Arsenal in an FA semi-final in April and Hughes said: "Not only people connected with Arsenal but others have been writing our chances off.

    "Perhaps the Liverpool game will have shown we don't go under easily and it takes a good performance to beat us."

    Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Pellegrino, Carragher, Warnock (Biscan 82), Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Hamann, Smicer (Riise 45), Baros (Nunez 70), Morientes.
    Subs Not Used: Hyypia, Carson.

    Booked: Gerrard.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Todd, Nelsen, Johansson (Matteo 62), Mokoena, Emerton, Reid, Flitcroft, Pedersen, Stead (Gallagher 75). Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Tugay, Johnson.

    Booked: Flitcroft.

    Att: 37,763

    Ref: B Knight (Kent).

    Interview: Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez

    Interview: Blackburn manager Mark Hughes

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