After The Match 


Liverpool-Blackburn 4-0 (2-0)       11.4.09                          PL
Goals: Torres (5, 33), Agger (83), Ngog (90)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Insua, Agger, Carragher, Alonso, Mascherano, Riera, Benayoun, Kuyt, Torres
Subs: El Zahr (Torres 74), Ngog (Kuyt 85), Lucas (Alonso 87)
Not used: Cavalieri, Gerrard, Dossena, Skrtel
Yellow: Agger (6), Alonso (75)      Andrews (33)
Red: None
Referee: Mike Riley
Attendance: 43,466
Shots on target: 10-6
Shots off target: 11-4
Blocked shots: 2-1
Fouls conceded: 9-13
Corners: 7-2
Offsides: 0-3
Possession: 67.8-32.2
Yellow: 2-1
HEADLINES "You always need your
key players..."
Rafael Benitez
1304: Dunn salutes 'hard-working' Kuyt
1204: Yossi: Torres is world's best striker
1104: Big Sam blames fear factor
1104: Nando pleased with Reds' response
1104: Benitez: This was the perfect response
1104: Torres keeps Reds
           rolling as Anfield remembers

Dunn salutes
'hard-working' Kuyt


Blackburn's David Dunn has poured praise on Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt - and claims he is as much responsible for their title bid as anyone.

With injury concerns consigning Steven Gerrard to the bench, Kuyt partnered Fernando Torres in attack for Saturday's visit of the Lancastrians.

And while the Dutchman was not among the goalscorers in a 4-0 romp for the Anfield outfit, his performance earned the plaudits of the opposition.

"Torres is such a big threat, with his running in behind you," Dunn told the Liverpool Daily Post. "Obviously as a team we knew that and dropped deeper. He makes those runs and is such a handful.

"But Dirk Kuyt, in my opinion, is just as important. He is such an unselfish player and gives just as much to the side. He plays a number of positions, works his socks off for the team and never stops running.

"He's very, very good but maybe doesn't always get as much credit as he deserves."

Torres set Liverpool on their way with two goals before the interval, the first of which was a genuine goal of the season contender.

The Spaniard has started only 15 of 32 league games this season but has now netted 11 goals in that time.

And while Dunn is convinced the availability of Torres for longer periods would have enhanced Liverpool's title chances, he believes every challenger is affected by injuries to key members.

"I'm sure they would have got a lot more points if he hadn't been injured for parts of the season, without a shadow of a doubt," he added. "He's a top, top player.

"I know what people will say, but I'm not sure it would have made a difference in where the title ends up though. United have had their injury problems, likewise Chelsea, and over the season I think that balances out. The best team will win the league over the whole course of things."

Of the game, Dunn added: "We set our stall out, but weren't great. Take nothing away from Liverpool, they're a top side, and that's why they are where they are in the league and still in cup competitions. But it was disappointing.

"It's not nice to get beaten by four, whoever you're playing, and we are all unhappy at the scoreline."

Yossi: Torres is
world's best striker

By Paul Hassal l- Setanta Sports

Yossi Benayoun hailed Fernando Torres as the best striker in the world after the Spaniard hit a magnificent double in the 4-0 victory over Blackburn on Saturday.

The Israeli was left searching for superlatives after El Nino inspired the Reds to a morale-boosting triumph with a brace that included a stunning volley that could well be a goal of the season contender.

"That's what you get with Torres," he told

"He is always a threat. He is the best striker in the world. The goals that he scores are just unbelievable. Look at the first one today. It was incredible. He makes it look so simple too. It's always easier for us as a team when he is playing."

The win saw Liverpool briefly return to the summit prior to Manchester United's narrow win at Sunderland and Benayoun admits it was important the Reds reacted positively after their shock Champions League defeat against Chelsea on Wednesday night.

"It was important that we responded after the disappointment of the Chelsea defeat," he said.

"We have to give everything in the Premier League and keep fighting to the end. We must keep winning to put pressure on Man United. Hopefully it will be enough to see us win the title.

"The win has restored our confidence and that was important. We know it will be very difficult on Tuesday at Chelsea. We will look to give 100 per cent and try our best and then see what happens. You never know in football - anything can happen."

Prior to kick off Anfield fell silent to mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and Benayoun was pleased the Reds were able to cap the afternoon with the three points.

"It is very sad and we will all attend the service on Wednesday and pay our respects," he said. "We have to make sure something like that never happens again.

"The crowd were amazing today and hopefully we gave them something to cheer at a difficult time."

Big Sam blames fear factor

Sky Sports

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce felt his side were running scared at times as they slumped to a 4-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield.

Fernando Torres' first-half brace coupled with late goals from Daniel Agger and David N'Gog secured a comfortable victory for the home side.

Rovers, who remain in relegation danger, were forced to field centre-back Chris Samba in a lone striker's role but rarely threatened with Pepe Reina having little to do throughout the match.

Allardyce admitted Liverpool's midweek defensive frailties against Chelsea persuaded him to turn to Samba but conceded his team failed to support their improvised, but towering, forward.

He said: "I had watched how Didier Drogba had caused them so much trouble in midweek and decided to use Christopher Samba in that role.

"Obviously he is not that quality of player, but it was the same idea. The problem was that we did not support him at all and allowed Liverpool to pick up possession.

"We did not compete enough and they were deserved winners. Samba did OK but he had no help.

"Maybe a bit of fear crept into our lads. It is hard to come to Anfield with several top players out and get anything."

Allardyce insists the Reds are serious contenders for the Premier League crown even though Manchester United remain favourites.

He added: "They are certainly capable of winning the title, even if Manchester United have a game in hand.

"If Liverpool keep playing like that and continue with that pace and confidence, it is possible they can win it.

"There will be a lot of twists and turns yet and they certainly believe they can do it."

Nando pleased
with Reds' response


Fernando Torres believes Liverpool's 4-0 thrashing of Blackburn was the perfect response to the midweek Champions League defeat to Chelsea.

The Reds went above Manchester United in the Premier League table with a convincing victory, which Torres, who scored twice at Anfield, says will give them confidence going into next week's quarter-final second leg.

"It was a great result coming after the game against Chelsea," Torres told Sky Sports. "The last game wasn't good but we've done our job.

"We have confidence after this result to go to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday."

Torres' first goal was a contender for goal of the season, the Spaniard controlling a long ball on his chest before swivelling to hook a fierce strike into the far corner.

"Sometimes you try to score like this but normally the ball goes out," he added. "But this one went in. It was a good goal."

Benitez: This was
the perfect response

By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website

Rafa Benitez labelled his side's 4-0 thrashing of Blackburn 'the perfect response' to their midweek defeat to Chelsea.

The whole country was waiting to see if Liverpool could pick themselves up from their Champions League disappointment - and they responded in style thanks to goals from Fernando Torres (2), Daniel Agger and David Ngog.

Benitez told his post-match press conference: "To play a good game, score goals and not concede - it was the perfect response by the players.

"It could have been even better because we had really clear chances, but I'm really pleased.

"You always need your key players and Fernando was very important here - the first goals opened the game."

The result elevated Liverpool above Manchester United ahead of their game in Sunderland.

Benitez added: "Clearly they are under pressure. Alex Ferguson is always talking, which shows they are under pressure. I know he's nervous, so it's good."

Torres' second goal came from a set piece. Asked if the failure of Blackburn's man marking was the ideal riposte to critics of zonal defending, Benitez added: "The statistics can be presented in many ways but I think they (Blackburn) have conceded 10 from set pieces with man to man. For us, it (zonal marking) has been good for the last five years."

Benitez admitted his delight after his side added two late goals to increase Liverpool's superior goal difference.

"Hopefully it will be vital," he said. "We were trying to score goals because we know anything can happen."

Liverpool did not have to use skipper Steven Gerrard, who was named on the bench after his adductor injury.

On whether he will be fit for Tuesday's trip to Stamford Bridge, Benitez added: "The risk was there but he's got more chances now. The physio will work with him, so hopefully he'll be there."

Torres keeps Reds
rolling as Anfield remembers

By Tom Adams - Setanta Sports

A day that begun tinged with sadness ended in elation at Anfield as Fernando Torres inspired The Reds to a 4-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers that saw Rafa Benitez’s side briefly reclaim top spot in The Premier League.

The 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy was marked by a minute’s silence and a touching moment prior to kick off as former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock presented a wreath depicting the number 96 to The Kop, ensuring that those who lost their lives were once again remembered in poignant fashion.

With respects paid and missing friends and family mourned, it then took Torres only five minutes to cast aside the disappointment of the Champions League defeat to Chelsea in midweek when scoring a glorious opener after five minutes that will surely be a goal of the season contender, with the Spanish striker duly adding a second with a fine header before half time.

Sam Allardyce’s imaginative use of Christopher Samba as an emergency striker failed completely – somewhat undermining the claim that he is a ‘major tactician’ made as he aimed a verbal barb at Benitez earlier in the week – as Liverpool’s all-round excellence afforded the defender little chance to carry out his manager’s instructions to ‘do a Drogba’.

Instead it was another defender with an eye for goal who helped draw proceedings to a close as Daniel Agger unleashed an unstoppable effort from 20 yards that recalled his brilliant effort against West Ham in only his eighth game for the club. David Ngog soon piled on the pain by adding a fourth in the final minute.

Such was Liverpool’s comfort they were able to leave captain Steven Gerrard on the bench following his injury against Chelsea and, after a mis-match that Jamie Carragher had described as the biggest league game of his lengthy career, The Reds proudly stood two points clear at the top before United's win over Sunderland

Football often throws up stories of drama, intrigue and, as Liverpool sadly know only too well, tragedy, but there is always room for a little comic relief and that came in the shape of Samba who dragged his sizeable frame to the sharp end of Allardyce’s attack, with Benni McCarthy presumably perplexed as he was left on the bench.

But for all of the curiosity surrounding Samba’s inclusion it was a more natural striking talent – and perhaps the finest on the globe – who opened the scoring after only five minutes with a strike of such sublime beauty that it even surpassed Emmanuel Adebayor’s effort in midweek.

Inevitably it was the mercurial Torres who produced the moment of magic. After controlling a long ball from Jamie Carragher perfectly with his chest, the Spain international then let the ball bounce just inside the box before lifting a stunning volley back across goal, over Paul Robinson and into the far corner of the net.

Comparisons with Marco van Basten’s remarkable effort from the 1988 European Champions will be as inevitable as they are deserved. It was that good.

The raucous celebrations at Anfield seemed to signal the lifting of the depression that enveloped the ground on Wednesday night and, no doubt inspired by the strike, Liverpool looked a side reinvigorated as they took complete control of the game.

With Torres prowling ominously up front and Emiliano Insua, in particular, bursting forward with real verve, Liverpool could have enjoyed an even greater advantage but the home side were soon guilty of two horrendous misses.

Torres, surprisingly, was the first guilty party as he somehow lashed the ball over from eight yards after Paul Robinson had parried a curling effort from Javier Mascherano. The Argentinian midfielder could earlier have gone down under a challenge from Gael Givet when racing onto Dirk Kuyt’s pass but admirably stayed on his feet to have the shot.

Kuyt, unsurprisingly, was at fault on the second occasion as a flowing move that resulted in Insua delivering a wicked cross from the left was ruined by the Dutchman as he criminally headed straight at Robinson, who pulled off a fine reflex save. Yossi Benayoun fared little better when putting the rebound over.

But with Blackburn struggling to win any meaningful possession whatsoever and Liverpool exhibiting the kind of fluidity and endeavour that eluded them against Chelsea, it was only a matter of time before goal number two.

Torres duly delivered on 33 minutes as he raced across the box and beat Samba to a Xabi Alonso free-kick, directing a fine header past the hapless Robinson. It was not in the same bracket as his first effort but an accomplished finish nonetheless.

Allardyce’s struggle was underlined at half-time as he replaced the woeful Aaron Mokoena with 17-year-old debutant Aaron Doran, and Carlos Villanueva followed on 60 minutes as he replaced David Dunn as Blackburn continued to look lost in the game.

The Samba experiment was a failed one but Allardyce persisted with it as his third substitution saw Tugay replaced by Vince Grella, with Benni McCarthy still sedentary despite his side failing to carve out any real opportunities.

Torres was to be denied a hat-trick when Benitez, with sterner tests ahead of his side, adopted a cautious outlook and removed his star striker with 16 minutes remaining.

Liverpool’s standards inevitably slipped in the second half and on 77 minutes the moment Samba had been waiting for all game arrived as he found space in the Liverpool box and the ball at his feet.

Unfortunately, the auxiliary striker failed to get the goal that could have sparked a tactical revolution in The Premier League, his lack of balance and snatched finish ensuring that the likes of Richard Dunne and Michael Dawson are unlikely to be pushed on by their respective managers any time soon.

Torres’s replacement Nabil El Zhar injected some energy into the contest following his arrival and one incisive run into the Blackburn box saw him lay the ball off to Mascherano who drove a fierce effort against Robinson.

The former Tottenham keeper was beaten for a third time on 82 minutes though as Agger was afforded time and space to drive forward from the back and duly punished Rovers with a superb strike from 20 yards that flew past Robinson and into the top corner.

Ngog completed the rout after 90 minutes when he bundled the ball home from close range after Lucas head down Carragher’s fine swinging cross.

‘We’re gonna win the league’ rang out around Anfield during the closing minutes and whilst that particular scenario still depends on Manchester United’s performances in the final games of the season, Saturday’s result means it is still entirely possible that in a year that holds such significance for the club, Liverpool may yet be crowned champions for the first time in 19 years.

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Thor Zakariassen ©