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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 October 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Liverpool 1-1 Blackburn
By John Sinnott

Zura Khizanishvili and Craig Bellamy
Bellamy had not scored since August
Liverpool continue to stutter in the Premiership despite Craig Bellamy scoring his first league goal against former club Blackburn.

After a shaky start Blackburn went ahead when Benni McCarthy deftly converted David Bentley's cross.

Liverpool huffed and puffed in search of the equaliser, pulling level on 65 minutes when the unmarked Bellamy headed home a Fabio Aurelio corner.

Blackburn nearly snatched it when Bentley was denied by Jose Reina.

Bentley briefly glimpsed goal as Jason Roberts got the better of Sami Hyypia, but Reina did well to narrow the angle and deflect the ball for a corner.

Soon afterwards Jamie Carragher had to be brave in challenging Shabani Nonda as the on-loan Roma striker threatened.

To their credit Blackburn were never content to sit on the lead and always used the possession they had intelligently.

Before McCarthy put Blackburn ahead, Liverpool had had several chances as Jermaine Pennant delivered a series of crosses from the right.

And Zura Khizanishvili did well to clear Peter Crouch's scuffed shot off the line with Brad Friedel beaten.

Crouch then benefited from Bellamy's clever dummy, but the England forward was again unable to get a clean strike on the ball and Friedel comfortably gathered.

If Pennant's work on the wings stood out for Liverpool in the opening half, Bentley provided a similar service for Blackburn on the right flank.

It was Bentley's cross that created Blackburn's goal, his in-swinging cross drawing Reina out of position, providing the opportunity for McCarthy to sidefoot the ball home.

Reina's positioning might have poor, Steve Finnan and Carragher might have also done better in dealing with Bentley's cross.

McCarthy's strike served to unsettle Liverpool out of their rhythm and although Pennant continued to probe down the right, Blackburn had little difficulty protecting their lead for the rest of the first half.

606 VIEW

Despite Pennant's endeavours he was replaced by Luis Garcia early in the second half as Benitez tried to inject some life into his labouring side.

Soon after coming on Garcia was just unable to reach a Crouch header across goal following Xabi Alonso's free-kick.

That chance prompted a mini-Liverpool revival and on 65 minutes the home side equalised.

Bellamy had worked hard against his former team, but had had few sights of goal.

That all changed when he was left unmarked at the far post from Aurelio's corner, the Welshman guiding a diving header past Friedel.

But a below-par Liverpool were unable to find the winner, though John Arne Riise and Alonso tried their luck with shots.

  • Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:

  • "We defended badly on the left, and then when the cross came in our central defenders were in the wrong positions. It was a bad goal.

    "But we have Craig Bellamy to thank for the equaliser. I am pleased for him and it was very important for him

    "We can now stop talking about when he will score in the league for us."

  • Blackburn manager Mark Hughes:

  • "You expect to come under pressure at Anfield but we coped and we restricted them to a few chances. Late on we might have even stolen the win.

    "I was delighted with the performance. I thought some of our play was really progressive - you have to be brave in and out of possession.

    "We created Liverpool problems, getting out wide and putting in crosses."

    Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Aurelio, Pennant (Luis Garcia 53), Alonso, Gerrard, Riise, Crouch, Bellamy.
    Subs Not Used: Dudek, Gonzalez, Paletta, Zenden.

    Booked: Hyypia.

    Goals: Bellamy 64.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Neill, Bentley, Savage, Kerimoglu (Mokoena 72), Pedersen (Gallagher 72), McCarthy (Roberts 80), Nonda.
    Subs Not Used: Brown, McEveley.

    Booked: Bentley, Neill, Savage.

    Goals: McCarthy 17.

    Att: 44,206.

    Ref: M Clattenburg (Co Durham).

    Saturday's football photos
    14 Oct 06 |  Football


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