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Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Saturday, 5 December 2009

Blackburn   0 - 0   Liverpool

Blackburn defender Christopher Samba challenges Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard
Liverpool captain Gerrard was his side's best player by some distance

By David Ornstein

Liverpool's hopes of a top-four finish suffered a further setback as Blackburn produced a resolute defensive display to hold the Reds to a goalless draw.

After a dour first half, Blackburn's Franco di Santo and Nikola Kalinic both hesitated when played through on goal.

Steven Gerrard had chances to break the deadlock and a penalty shout turned down on his 500th game for Liverpool.

And they should have won it late on, but David Ngog could only turn Glen Johnson's cross on to the bar.

The result, allied to victories for Aston Villa and Manchester City in the evening match against Chelsea, dropped Rafael Benitez's side to seventh in the table.

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Despite being unbeaten in six matches in all competitions, they have won only one of their last five league games.

But Blackburn were good value for their point, which keeps them 12th and extends a run of two home defeats in 25 home games since Sam Allardyce took charge.

Rovers came into the game buoyed by Wednesday's Carling Cup quarter-final victory over Chelsea.

They were also boosted by the return to work of Allardyce following heart surgery.

But despite featuring four changes from the side that beat the Blues on penalties, they looked slightly off the pace early on as a number of passes went astray and Liverpool enjoyed plenty of possession.

Although the visitors were without Fernando Torres for a fifth successive game, Gerrard was fit to make his landmark appearance against the club he faced on his debut in November 1998.

In Torres's absence, Dirk Kuyt was deployed as the lone striker with Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera providing support. But, of that quartet, only Gerrard looked even remotely dangerous in the opening exchanges.

Blackburn draw delights returning Allardyce

Well-organised and physically imposing, Blackburn's back four repelled everything Liverpool had to throw at them and gradually their midfield and attack began to grow in confidence.

A couple of mistimed tackles by Daniel Agger gave Blackburn free-kicks in promising positions on the right but both set-pieces were comfortably repelled.

Gerrard almost broke clear when he capitalised on a sloppy piece of control by Pascal Chimbonda but then lost out to Christopher Samba, while at the other end Samba headed straight at Pepe Reina from an unmarked position.

The best chance of an error-strewn half fell to Gerrard, who received possession from Riera on the left, opened his body and attempted to place his shot into the far corner, only for Samba to deflect the ball behind.

Samba was again on hand to deny Gerrard with a perfectly-timed sliding tackle at the start of the second half and, moments later, Blackburn might have taken the lead.

Benitez frustrated with draw

Di Santo was released by Steven N'Zonzi but seemed surprised that he had not been flagged offside, delayed and enabled Jamie Carragher to get back with a covering challenge before he could shoot.

Fortunately for all, the tempo increased after the break and Gerrard fizzed a drive straight at Paul Robinson before having a penalty shout rejected after a coming together with N'Zonzi.

The arrival of Ngog in place of Riera gave Liverpool greater presence up front and the Frenchman ought to have opened the scoring when Glen Johnson burst to the byeline and squared from the right.

Ngog came storming into the six-yard box but, faced with an open goal, contrived to shin the ball against the crossbar, with Kuyt's follow-up diverted to safety.

Blackburn threatened sporadically on the counter-attack - Benni McCarthy and Vince Grella drilled wide before Kalinic tentatively prodded wide when one-on-one with Reina.

Gerrard assumed a growing influence on proceedings but Liverpool lacked the finishing touch that Torres so often provides and were forced to settle for a point.


Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce:
"It was a great performance. Liverpool are not only one of the best sides in England but in Europe and we matched them in all areas.

"We were a bit lucky when they hit the bar but we had more clear chances than them. We weren't quite good enough to put our chances in the net but 0-0 was a great, great result.

"We've played Chelsea and deserved to win and you could argue that we deserved to win today. We've got a fantastic home record.

"Anybody that comes here is going to know that the longer we keep that record going the harder it will become."

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"It was a difficult game and we had some good chances, we could have scored.

"I'm disappointed because we couldn't win but positive because we kept another clean sheet and we're playing better. The team is doing well and we will have chances if we continue playing at this level.

"Blackburn were physically strong and good in the air. They had the energy and had chances on the counter attack in the second half. They were dangerous.

"In the second half we had another striker and Blackburn were a little bit more tired so we had chances."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Blackburn 0-0 Liverpool FT
(HT 0-0)

      Blackburn

      Substitutes

      Liverpool

      Substitutes

      Ref: AtkinsonAtt: 29,660
      BLACKBURN
      LIVERPOOL

      Possession

      • Blackburn 42%
      • Liverpool 58%

      Attempts on target

      • Blackburn 3
      • Liverpool 11

      Attempts off target

      • Blackburn 6
      • Liverpool 4

      Corners

      • Blackburn 1
      • Liverpool 8

      Fouls

      • Blackburn 15
      • Liverpool 9
      • Final Result
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+1:59 The referee brings the game to a close.
      • 90:00+1:00 Nikola Kalinic produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
      • 90:00+0:16 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Paul Robinson makes a save. Short corner worked by Steven Gerrard.
      • 89:27 David Hoilett takes a shot. Shot by Nikola Kalinic from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
      • 88:35 Free kick awarded for a foul by David Hoilett on David Ngog. Jamie Carragher takes the direct free kick.
      • 87:26 Nabil El Zhar sends in a cross.
      • Correction - 86:36 Daniel Agger has an effort at goal from 30 yards. Save made by Paul Robinson.
      • 86:36 Daniel Agger takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson.
      • 83:49 Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
      • 83:49 Substitution Franco Di Santo leaves the field to be replaced by Keith Andrews.
      • 83:49 Dirk Kuyt is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick.
      • 83:08 Unfair challenge on Daniel Agger by Nikola Kalinic results in a free kick. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Brett Emerton.
      • 82:32 David Hoilett challenges Nabil El Zhar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Javier Mascherano takes the free kick.
      • 82:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nikola Kalinic on Daniel Agger. Jamie Carragher restarts play with the free kick.
      • Correction - 81:26 Glen Johnson crosses the ball, Steven Gerrard produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.
      • 81:26 Centre by Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.
      • 80:13 Shot from outside the area by Brett Emerton misses to the left of the target.
      • 77:51 Effort from outside the penalty box by Vincenzo Grella goes wide left of the target.
      • 77:10 Foul by Javier Mascherano on Nikola Kalinic, free kick awarded. Brett Emerton takes the direct free kick.
      • Correction - 76:06 Substitution Benedict McCarthy leaves the field to be replaced by Nikola Kalinic.
      • Correction - 76:06 Shot from just outside the penalty area by Benedict McCarthy misses to the left of the target.
      • 76:06 Substitution Nikola Kalinic on for Benedict McCarthy.
      • 76:06 Benedict McCarthy has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
      • 75:35 Steven Gerrard sends in a cross, clearance by Pascal Chimbonda.
      • 74:48 Steven Gerrard sends in a cross, clearance by Ryan Nelsen.
      • 73:51 The ball is swung over by Emiliano Insua, Ryan Nelsen manages to make a clearance.
      • 73:43 Steven Gerrard crosses the ball, clearance by Christopher Samba.
      • 72:18 Steven Nzonzi challenges Leiva Lucas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Glen Johnson takes the free kick.
      • 71:23 Substitution Nabil El Zhar comes on in place of Yossi Benayoun.
      • 71:23 Substitution David Hoilett is brought on as a substitute for El-Hadji Diouf.
      • 70:48 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Christopher Samba gets a block in. Corner from right by-line taken by Steven Gerrard.
      • 70:27 The ball is sent over by Glen Johnson, David Ngog takes a shot.
      • 68:23 Centre by Dirk Kuyt.
      • 66:11 Franco Di Santo gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Javier Mascherano. Glen Johnson restarts play with the free kick.
      • 65:40 El-Hadji Diouf challenges Glen Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
      • 63:40 Free kick awarded for a foul by Glen Johnson on Franco Di Santo. Benedict McCarthy crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel.
      • 62:43 Shot by Steven Gerrard. Franco Di Santo gets a block in.
      • 62:20 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Ryan Nelsen gets a block in. Steven Gerrard takes a short corner.
      • 62:00 The ball is delivered by Glen Johnson, Ryan Nelsen manages to make a clearance.
      • 61:38 Franco Di Santo takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
      • 59:15 Steven Nzonzi gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
      • 58:12 The ball is swung over by Glen Johnson, clearance made by Ryan Nelsen. Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Steven Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun concedes a free kick for a foul on Gael Givet. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
      • 56:25 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot. Ryan Nelsen gets a block in.
      • 55:32 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Ryan Nelsen gets a block in. Steven Gerrard takes the outswinging corner, Gael Givet makes a clearance.
      • 55:01 Free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
      • 55:01 Booking El-Hadji Diouf is given a yellow card.
      • 54:58 Free kick awarded for a foul by El-Hadji Diouf on Javier Mascherano.
      • 54:07 Effort on goal by Steven Gerrard from 25 yards. Save made by Paul Robinson.
      • 52:14 A cross is delivered by El-Hadji Diouf, Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.
      • 51:01 Substitution David Ngog replaces Albert Riera.
      • 49:16 Steven Gerrard delivers the ball.
      • 47:54 The assistant referee signals for offside against El-Hadji Diouf. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
      • 45:46 The referee blows for offside against Brett Emerton. Direct free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
      • 45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+1:21 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
      • 45:00+0:47 Centre by Christopher Samba.
      • 45:00+0:09 Unfair challenge on Steven Nzonzi by Leiva Lucas results in a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.
      • 43:50 Glen Johnson delivers the ball, Pascal Chimbonda manages to make a clearance. Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line, save made by Paul Robinson. Foul by Dirk Kuyt on Paul Robinson, free kick awarded. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.
      • 41:53 Jose Reina fouled by El-Hadji Diouf, the ref awards a free kick. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
      • 40:27 Javier Mascherano takes a shot from 25 yards. Gael Givet gets a block in.
      • 37:16 Albert Riera delivers the ball, Daniel Agger has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.
      • 36:39 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Blocked by Christopher Samba. Albert Riera decides to take a short corner.
      • 35:48 Christopher Samba takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
      • 35:11 The assistant referee flags for offside against Dirk Kuyt. Paul Robinson takes the indirect free kick.
      • 33:45 Unfair challenge on Javier Mascherano by Brett Emerton results in a free kick. Javier Mascherano takes the direct free kick.
      • 31:36 El-Hadji Diouf gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Glen Johnson. Albert Riera delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance made by Gael Givet.
      • 30:21 Benedict McCarthy crosses the ball, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
      • 27:35 Foul by Franco Di Santo on Javier Mascherano, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Javier Mascherano.
      • 26:52 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie Carragher by Benedict McCarthy. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
      • 25:13 The ball is crossed by Pascal Chimbonda, clearance by Steven Gerrard. Shot by Christopher Samba from 20 yards. Blocked by Leiva Lucas.
      • 24:36 Foul by Daniel Agger on El-Hadji Diouf, free kick awarded. Brett Emerton crosses the ball in from the free kick, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.
      • 23:30 El-Hadji Diouf concedes a free kick for a foul on Leiva Lucas. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
      • 22:09 Daniel Agger concedes a free kick for a foul on Franco Di Santo. The free kick is delivered right-footed by El-Hadji Diouf from right wing, Dirk Kuyt makes a clearance.
      • 19:12 Glen Johnson delivers the ball, Christopher Samba manages to make a clearance.
      • Correction - 15:54 The assistant referee signals for offside against Benedict McCarthy. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
      • 15:54 The assistant referee flags for offside against Benedict McCarthy. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.
      • 15:46 Vincenzo Grella sends in a cross.
      • 14:59 Dirk Kuyt is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
      • 13:44 The ball is crossed by Dirk Kuyt, Steven Nzonzi makes a clearance.
      • 12:43 Drilled shot by Javier Mascherano.
      • 12:04 Drilled right-footed shot by Steven Gerrard. Gael Givet gets a block in. Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line to the near post, Paul Robinson makes a save.
      • 11:48 Emiliano Insua produces a cross, Ryan Nelsen manages to make a clearance.
      • 8:51 Franco Di Santo is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
      • 6:14 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Benedict McCarthy by Javier Mascherano. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
      • 3:22 The ball is crossed by Brett Emerton, Albert Riera gets a block in. Corner taken by Benedict McCarthy from the right by-line played to the near post, Glen Johnson makes a clearance.
      • 1:08 Benedict McCarthy fouled by Emiliano Insua, the ref awards a free kick. Brett Emerton crosses the ball in from the free kick, Dirk Kuyt manages to make a clearance.
      • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League table

      Saturday, 5 December 2009 19:35 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      Full Premier League table
      1 Chelsea 15 27 36
      2 Man Utd 15 21 34
      3 Arsenal 14 20 28
      4 Tottenham 14 14 26
      5 Aston Villa 15 11 26
      6 Man City 14 8 25
      7 Liverpool 15 11 24
      8 Birmingham 15 -1 21
      9 Sunderland 14 1 20
      10 Stoke 15 -4 20
      11 Fulham 14 2 19
      12 Blackburn 15 -12 18
      13 Burnley 15 -14 17
      14 Wigan 15 -17 17
      15 Hull 16 -17 16
      16 Everton 14 -8 15
      17 West Ham 15 -6 14
      18 Wolverhampton 15 -14 13
      19 Bolton 14 -12 12
      20 Portsmouth 15 -10 10

      see also
      Torres & Aquilani set for action
      05 Dec 09 |  Liverpool
      Saturday football as it happened
      05 Dec 09 |  Football
      Saturday's football photos
      05 Dec 09 |  Football


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