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Page last updated at 21:50 GMT, Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Blackburn   3 - 1   Liverpool

Morten Gamst Pedersen, Benjani and Christopher Samba
Benjani scored two goals as Blackburn stunned Liverpool

By Marc Vesty

Two goals from Benjani heaped more pressure on under-fire Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson as his side were comprehensively beaten at Ewood Park.

Blackburn struck first, Martin Olsson coolly driving through Pepe Reina's legs before Benjani smashed a second.

And Rovers drove on against hapless Liverpool, Benjani tapping in a close-range third after David Hoilett's run.

Steven Gerrard managed a consolation goal but then blazed a penalty over the bar with six minutes to go.

Liverpool's failure to string a run of results together this season has put Hodgson, whose side have only won once on the road, under significant pressure.

Defeat is a 'bitter blow' - Hodgson

The Englishman came under heavy fire after losing to Wolves over Christmas but their subsequent 2-1 win over Bolton appeared to have bought him some time.

However, this will rank among one of Liverpool's worst setbacks this season, along with the 3-1 loss at Newcastle and 2-0 defeats by Stoke and Everton, and it is difficult to see how he will be able to avoid more negative headlines after a disastrously below-par display that will leave the doom-mongers sharpening their knives.

It could have been so different, had Liverpool built on a promising opening five minutes during which Fernando Torres headed wide after a clever one-two with Paul Konchesky.

But inconsistency has dogged both these mid-table sides this season, with each starting the game on 25 points, and Liverpool showed their incredibly flaky nature by losing their momentum almost immediately.

Blackburn boss Steve Kean has also been under pressure after replacing Sam Allardyce, who was fired by Venky's, the club's new owners.

606: DEBATE
redders62

However, despite that sacking and a seemingly failed bid for Brazilian star Ronaldinho this week, there is an air of optimism beginning to circle around Ewood Park, with talk of big money being made available by their Indian owners.

And the players fed off that, showing constant endeavour and creating a series of chances on the counter-attack.

Mame Diouf had the best of these when Olsson's wicked cross flashed beyond Martin Skrtel but it took the striker by surprise and he could only shin the ball into the hands of Pepe Reina.

Even with Gerrard, Torres and Joe Cole in the starting line-up, Liverpool attacks were in short supply and Rovers took a deserved lead on the half-hour mark.

Ryan Nelsen's long ball found Diouf, who played in the overlapping Olsson and the Swede drove his finish through the legs of Reina.

And Blackburn heaped more misery on Liverpool before half-time when Benjani picked up the ball inside the box, spun Sotirios Kyrgiakos expertly and smashed a fierce effort past Reina and into the roof of the net.

Hodgson looked on crestfallen from the sidelines, with his hands planted in his coat pockets and that was a mood echoed by his players' body language on the pitch.

Almost inevitably, Benjani, who had not started since 6 November and scored once in his previous 12 appearances, made it 3-0 on 56 minutes.

Hoilett skinned Martin Skrtel as he hit the bye-line and broke into the box before squaring to Benjani, who tapped into the net easily to leave the crowd cruelly singing "you're getting sacked in the morning" in the direction of Hodgson.

Kean relieved to focus on football

Liverpool did manage to dominate possession in the second half but that was primarily a product of Blackburn sitting back on their healthy lead and relying on the superb centre-back partnership of Nelsen and Christopher Samba, who Rovers will be desperately keen to keep at Ewood Park.

Joe Cole's 25-yard drive was well saved by Mark Bunn as Liverpool finally fired a warning shot.

And they did pull one back when Gerrard, playing his 550th game for Liverpool, lashed the ball into the corner from close range.

Gerrard was then handed a chance to make the remaining six minutes extremely tense when he was brought down by Michel Salgado in the box.

But the Liverpool captain blazed his penalty well over the bar to compound the Reds' agony.

Live text and stats

 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Blackburn 3-1 Liverpool FT
(HT 2-0)
  • Olsson 32
  • Mwaruwari 38
  • Mwaruwari 57
  • Gerrard 81

Blackburn

Substitutes

Liverpool

Substitutes

Ref: MarrinerAtt: 24,522
BLACKBURN
LIVERPOOL

Possession

  • Blackburn 53%
  • Liverpool 47%

Attempts on target

  • Blackburn 4
  • Liverpool 9

Attempts off target

  • Blackburn 6
  • Liverpool 4

Corners

  • Blackburn 0
  • Liverpool 7

Fouls

  • Blackburn 14
  • Liverpool 13
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:00 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
  • 90:00+2:41 Attacking throw-in by Joe Cole (Liverpool).
  • 90:00+1:43 Header by Fernando Torres (Liverpool) from centre of penalty area (12 yards), missed left. Goal kick taken long by Mark Bunn (Blackburn).
  • 90:00+1:09 Defending throw-in by Paul Konchesky (Liverpool).
  • 90:00+0:34 Foul by Morten Gamst Pedersen (Blackburn) on Fernando Torres (Liverpool). Free kick taken right-footed by Jose Reina (Liverpool) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 90:00+0:02 Foul by Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) on David Hoilett (Blackburn). Free kick taken right-footed by Michel Salgado (Blackburn) from right wing, passed.
  • 89:11 Goal kick taken long by Mark Bunn (Blackburn).
  • 88:45 Attacking throw-in by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).
  • 88:10 Attacking throw-in by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).
  • 87:06 Defending throw-in by Paul Konchesky (Liverpool).
  • 86:24 Attacking throw-in by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).
  • 86:06 Booking Michel Salgado (Blackburn) booked for unsporting behaviour.
  • 84:39 Goal kick taken long by Mark Bunn (Blackburn).
  • 84:39 Power penalty taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) (over the bar), missed.
  • 84:39 Foul by Michel Salgado (Blackburn) on Steven Gerrard (Liverpool).
  • 84:02 Goal kick taken long by Jose Reina (Liverpool).
  • 83:12 Foul by Ryan Babel (Liverpool) on Josh Morris (Blackburn). Free kick taken right-footed by Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 83:12 Substitution Blackburn substitution: Benjani Mwaruwari replaced by Herold Goulon (tactical).
  • 82:26 Defending throw-in by Morten Gamst Pedersen (Blackburn).
  • 81:55 Defending throw-in by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).
  • 80:09 GOAL - Steven GerrardBlackburn 3 - 1 Liverpool Goal by Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) right-footed (bottom-left of goal) from right side of penalty area (12 yards).Blackburn 3-1 Liverpool.
  • 78:37 Defending throw-in by Michel Salgado (Blackburn).
  • 78:24 Cross by Ryan Babel (Liverpool), resulting in ball out of play.
  • 77:09 Defending throw-in by Gael Givet (Blackburn).
  • 77:09 Substitution Liverpool substitution: David Ngog replaced by Ryan Babel (tactical).
  • 76:37 Foul by Leiva Lucas (Liverpool) on El-Hadji Diouf (Blackburn). Free kick taken right-footed by Mark Bunn (Blackburn) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 76:37 Booking Leiva Lucas (Liverpool) booked for unsporting behaviour.
  • 75:29 Attacking throw-in by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).
  • 74:13 Foul by Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool) on El-Hadji Diouf (Blackburn). Free kick taken right-footed by Mark Bunn (Blackburn) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 74:13 Substitution Blackburn substitution: David Dunn replaced by Josh Morris (tactical).
  • 73:51 Shot by Joe Cole (Liverpool) right-footed from right channel (25 yards), save (caught) by Mark Bunn (Blackburn).
  • 73:32 Goal kick taken short by Jose Reina (Liverpool).
  • Correction - 72:19 Substitution El-Hadji Diouf joins the action as a substitute, replacing Martin Olsson.
  • 72:19 Goal kick taken short by Jose Reina (Liverpool).
  • 72:19 Substitution Blackburn substitution: Martin Olsson replaced by El-Hadji Diouf (tactical).
  • 72:05 Cross by Mame Diouf (Blackburn), resulting in ball out of play.
  • 70:56 Foul by Gael Givet (Blackburn) on Joe Cole (Liverpool). Free kick taken right-footed by Jose Reina (Liverpool) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 70:35 Shot by David Hoilett (Blackburn) left-footed from right channel (20 yards), missed left. Goal kick taken short by Jose Reina (Liverpool).
  • 69:44 Defending throw-in by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).
  • Print Sponsor



Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 5 Jan 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 20 24 44
2 Man City 22 17 42
3 Arsenal 21 20 40
4 Tottenham 21 6 36
5 Chelsea 21 17 35
6 Sunderland 22 3 33
7 Bolton 22 5 30
8 Newcastle 21 3 28
9 Blackburn 22 -6 28
10 Stoke 21 0 27
11 Everton 21 -2 25
12 Liverpool 20 -3 25
13 Blackpool 19 -5 25
14 Fulham 21 -2 22
15 Birmingham 20 -5 22
16 West Brom 21 -13 22
17 Wolves 21 -13 21
18 Aston Villa 21 -15 21
19 Wigan 21 -15 21
20 West Ham 22 -16 20

see also
Hodgson refuses to discuss future
06 Jan 11 |  Liverpool
Premier League as it happened
05 Jan 11 |  Football
Wednesday's football photos
05 Jan 11 |  Football




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