After The Match 


Blackburn-Liverpool 2-2 (2-1)             Sat Oct 30.             Premier League
Goals: Riise (7), Baros (54)         Bothroyd (16), Emerton (45)
Team: Kirkland, Josemi, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Finnan, Hamann, Alonso, Riise, Baros, Cisse
Subs: Garcia (Cisse 38), Kewell (Finnan 55), Diao (Hamann 81)
Not used: Dudek, Warnock
Yellow: Josemi (45)             Tugay (61), Stead (69)
Red: None
Referee: R. Styles

                                              MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 7-9
Shots off target: 1-4
Fouls conceded: 14-11
Corners: 6-6
Yellow: 2-1





"We were all
sick when we heard
what had happened."

           Jamie Carragher

3110: Cisse injury leaves Rafa facing crisis
3010: Baros saddened by Cisse blow
3010: Benitez disappointed with point
3010: Cisse injury sours draw


Cisse injury leaves
Rafa facing crisis

Sporting Life

Djibril Cisse's leg-break horror has left Rafael Benitez facing a severe striker crisis ahead of Wednesday night's crucial Champions League showdown with Deportivo La Coruna.

Cisse had surgery to pin his tibia back together on Sunday after fracturing his shin in two places following a seemingly innocuous tangle with Blackburn's Jay McEveley during the Premiership draw at Ewood Park.

The injury left Liverpool's 14million record signing screaming in agony as he was carried of on a stretcher and taken to hospital.

And while early comparisons with the incident that saw David Busst's career ended at Old Trafford in 1996 may have been over the top, Cisse will almost certainly miss the remainder of the current campaign and possibly the start of next season as well.

It leaves the Reds' squad chronically short of forwards and while the problem can be addressed on a long-term basis when the transfer window opens in January - Real Madrid's Fernando Morientes and Miguel Mista, who played under Benitez at both Tenerife and Valencia, have already been mentioned as potential targets - the immediate future looks bleak.

Without Cisse, the only forwards on Liverpool's books are the erratic Milan Baros, Neil Mellor, who has yet to prove he is up to the level demanded at Anfield, and 20-year-old Frenchman Florent Sinama-Pongolle, who may not be fit for the midweek trip to Spain.


Cisse's injury drama ended with a broken leg.

Sinama-Pongolle missed last night's game after suffering heavy bruising to his shin and calf in the midweek Carling Cup win at Millwall and if he has not recovered, Benitez will be forced to play Baros as a lone front man in the Riazor Stadium, with Luis Garcia operating just behind.

Given Liverpool need a victory to leapfrog back into the top two slots in Group A, it is not the position Benitez would have wanted to find himself in, although at the moment the Reds are concentrating their efforts on making sure Cisse is given the best possible chance of recovery.

"We were all sick when we heard what had happened," admitted Reds defender Jamie Carragher.

"We can only extend our best wishes to Djibril and hope he recovers quickly."

The incident completely overshadowed an entertaining game which allowed Blackburn to scramble off the foot of the table - at least until Norwich visit Manchester City on Monday - but did little to enhance Liverpool's reputation as credible title challengers.

Having gone in front through John Arne Riise's excellent finish inside seven minutes, the visitors failed to maintain their momentum.

Bothroyd levelled with his first Rovers goal after being set up by Brett Emerton before a period of woeful Reds' defending ended with Sami Hyypia rolling the ball to Emerton, who gleefully put the hosts ahead in first-half stoppage time.

Baros took advantage of a major blunder by McEveley, who otherwise impressed on his first Premiership appearance for 18 months, to bring Liverpool back on terms but though the visitors pushed forward looking for a winner, it was actually Blackburn who looked more like getting it.

"We started well but once we got the goal, we seemed a little bit flat," admitted a bemused Benitez.

"We must learn to concentrate more when we are in front and we cannot afford to concede the kind of goal we did at the end of the first-half."

For Blackburn boss Mark Hughes, whose side had suffered successive four-goal reverses, the result was a sign that more positive times are not far away.

The former Wales chief was eager to point out that though his team's league position remains dire, Rovers have now faced all the Premiership's big guns and a November fixture list that starts with a crucial trip to Norwich next Saturday, then takes in clashes with Manchester City, Birmingham and Fulham should hardly be viewed with fear.

"Some people have conveniently overlooked the opposition we have played so far this season," said Hughes.

"We are not happy to be in this position but there are genuine reasons for it.

"Now we are going into a period where we are playing teams we can have a good go at and I feel we definitely have the opportunity to start picking up points and improving our situation."

Baros saddened by Cisse blow


Milan Baros and the rest of the Liverpool squad have commiserated with striker Djibril Cisse after the Frenchman's injury shocker at Ewood.

An early strike from John Arne Riise put the visitors ahead at Blackburn on Saturday evening but goals from Jay Bothroyd and Brett Emerton put Rovers in front at the break.

Czech Republic striker Baros capped a fine performance by scoring the equaliser early in the second-half but his strike-partner Cisse was carried off with a suspected broken leg after 38 minutes.

Baros said: "I heard something and I thought it was broken. It is a shame and hopefully he'll get back soon.

"I wish him all the best because I know what it's like to be out with a broken leg."

Baros broke his ankle on the same ground last season and was out for five months. He now faces leading the Liverpool attack on his own, although he believes his team-mates can contribute goals.

"We'll just have one striker probably but Harry Kewell can play up front, Luis Garcia can play up front so we have a good squad and hopefully we can replace him (Cisse)."

"In the end it was a good game and we're happy with a point.

"I had a chance in the first few minutes and it was a shame we could not keep a clean sheet in the first half."

Benitez disappointed with point

By Patrick Goss - Sky Sports

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was disappointed to only get a point against Blackburn.

Benitez did not want to talk about a nasty looking injury to Djibril Cisse until he knew the extent of the striker's problem - but praised his team for periods of high tempo play.

"We are disappointed because we started with a high temp and scored an early goal - and also in the second half we played some nice stuff," said Benitez.

"We controlled the game, kept the ball and had many chances.

"They had a good game as well. They ran lot and fought for every ball. Both teams had opportunities.

"We are thinking only about our games and if we can play like we did for twenty minutes in the second half then I will be happy."

Cisse injury sours draw

By Patrick Goss - Sky Sports

A horrific injury to Liverpool's Djibril Cisse cast a shadow over an entertaining, if bad-tempered, 2-2 draw against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Cisse was stretchered off in agony with a suspected broken leg, in a game that saw both teams lead and have chances to win it.

An early goal from John Arne Riise was cancelled out by Jay Bothroyd's first for Blackburn, and Rovers took advantage of Liverpool's shock at Cisse's injury to grab the lead through the hugely impressive Brett Emerton in first half injury time.

However, a second half equaliser by Milan Baros earned a share of the points - with both goalkeeper making crucial saves to limit the scoring further.

The Reds had started confidently and should have taken the lead when Cisse put Baros through, only for the Czech star to delay and allow Brad Friedel to race out and make a crucial intervention.

But with just five minutes on the clock, Liverpool did get the opener when Blackburn's woeful defending left Riise free.

Too be fair it took a raking diagonal ball of great quality form Xabi Alonso to pick out Riise, but he then had an age to pick out a low shot across Friedel and into the back of the net.

Blackburn fans must have feared that the floodgates would open following two drubbings in heir last two games - but to their credit the players bit in and Emerton's influence shoehorned them back into the game.

Barry Ferguson released the Australian into space on the left and he picked out a perfect low centre to allow Bothroyd to side-foot home and open his account for the club.

Cisse's injury then changed the mood of the match completely - and Rovers took advantage of their shocked opponents' weak defending to take the lead.

Sami Hyypia failed to clear from the centre of the box after Paul Dickov had bullied his way through, and the ball dropped invitingly for Emerton who curled home brilliantly into the bottom corner across the helpless Chris Kirkland.

Mark Hughes must have urged his side to keep their concentration in the early staged of the second half - but a dreadful error by young full back James McEveley gave The Reds a crucial route back into the game.

The defender took a free-kick without looking and gave the ball straight to Luis Garcia.

The Spaniard picked out a fine pass to put Baros through and he made no mistake with a fine finish past Friedel.

As tackles started to fly in Tugay in particular was lucky to stay on the pitch with a succession of niggling fouls and nasty high challenges.

Kirkland had to be alert to keep out sub Jonathan Stead's rising drive and also denied Craig Short from a corner.

The Liverpool custodian then did superbly to race out and block a close range Dickov effort , but it was by no means one way traffic.

At the other end Friedel did superbly to deny Riise a second and Harry Kewell began to exert an increasing influence in the latter stages.

But the focus will be on yet another serious injury for Liverpool at this ground.

Jamie Carragher and Baros have both suffered major injuries at Ewood Park - and it now appears Cisse has joined that unfortunate list.

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Thor Zakariassen