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FA Cup Quarter Finals: Rovers restrict Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield

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Blackburn Rovers put in a great performance to restrict Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield in their FA Cup quarter final tie.

The match started with both the sides in full spirits. Liverpool, however, got a shock very early in the 2nd minute of play itself when Martin Skrtel landed awkwardly after being knocked out, following his heading tussle with Rudy Gestede. He was attended to by the Reds medical staff for a long while before being finally substituted by Kolo Toure.

The Rovers had a good chance to score through Gestede just minutes after the game resumed following the lengthy stoppage, but the forward headed the ball wide after beating Simon Mignolet to the high ball. The Reds, on the other hand, did manage to create some good chances through passes from Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson, but they failed to make the most out of them.

The hosts then had a controversial penalty appeal overturned by the referee after a desperate tackle by the visitors’ captain Matt Kilgallon on Adam Lallana.

Blackburn, meanwhile, consistently carried a threat on the Reds goal with the Reds defenders, particularly Kolo Toure, working hard to prevent any damage. Gestede and Craig Conway kept on troubling the hosts, with the former also having an impact physically. Liverpool did have Philippe Coutinho shooting the ball wide from 22 yards, but it was the Rovers, who once again created a chance to score from a good piece of teamplay from Gestede and Conway, only for the latter to shoot wide.

Liverpool had a goal disallowed with Kolo Toure being adjudged offside, with the flicked ball also hitting Gestede on his hand.

The rest of the first period saw a slight reduction in the tempo of the game, with not many clear-cut chances being created by either of the sides. Lazar Markovic had an easy shot saved by Eastwood, but it was Sturridge who forced a good save from the ‘keeper from his powerful shot on goal. The Reds did miss the aerial presence of Skrtel, however, with Gestede showing great class with his exploits in the attacking third.

Raheem Sterling had a rather ineffective start for the Reds, playing on the left side of the midfield. However, the youngster did manage a few really good defensive saves in the first half. Liverpool, on the other hand, were sluggish by their usual standards, with the organized and energetic Rovers certainly putting in a great performance to unsettle the Premier League giants.

The second half started with the visitors picking up from where they left, with Alex Baptiste forcing a good save from Mignolet after his headed effort following a corner. Liverpool also showed signs of improvement early on, but failed to do much to break down the Rovers defence. The Reds also had another penalty appeal turned down with Sturridge being the alleged victim this time around. To be fair to the Rovers’ the Englishman seemed to have gone down too easily.

As the game progressed, Toure had another great chance to score from a header following a free kick, but his effort only managed to hit the crossbar before going out. Just moments later, skipper Jordan Henderson put in a good cross, which was nudged out for a corner.

The Reds looked more threatening now, with the side as a whole, and Sterling particularly, keeping possession and linking up well to heap pressure on the Championship side. Around the 70th minute, Sturridge had another chance to score from following a good flicked pass from Balotelli, but the Englishman was pressurized into shooting it wide by the visitors’ defence. The latter, meanwhile, missed a chance to head the ball on target just moments later, with Eastwood managing a comfortable save, following a ball in from Lallana.

In the 83rd minute, Henderson forced a great parry from Eastwood and Coutinho hit the side netting with his effort only moments later. Minutes later, Sterling also had a chance to score but he headed the ball wide off the target.

The Reds carried a greater threat in this half but Gary Bowyer’s men deserved all the credit for limiting their opponents into creating only a handful of clear-cut chances and earning a replay at Ewood Park later in the season.

The draw for the semi-finals will be held tomorrow night, after the fourth and final FA Cup quarter final match between Manchester United and Arsenal.

Teams:

Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel (K Touré 11'), Lovren, Johnson, Markovic (Balotelli 59'), Henderson, Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge

Substitutes - K Touré, Lambert, Sakho, Moreno, Balotelli, Williams, Ward

Blackburn Rovers: Eastwood, Henley, Baptiste, Kilgallon, Olsson, Marshall (Taylor 68'), Evans, Williamson, Conway, Cairney, Gestede

Substitutes – Spurr, Brown, Rhodes, Taylor, Henry, Lenihan, Steele

Final Score: Liverpool 0-0 Blackburn Rovers