Liverpool Club Focus - Dalglish out to avoid history repeating in Blackburn clash
As Liverpool prepare to take on Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night, supporters of the Merseyside outfit will cast their minds back to the game at Ewood Park last January, where they were comfortably beaten 3-1 and turned on manager Roy Hodgson midway through the clash. Hodgson was sacked soon after that miserable performance, but would a similar display in the upcoming fixture see the visiting crowd turn on their current manager, Kenny Dalglish?
It is unlikely, for Dalglish is a Liverpool legend and has achieved great things with the Reds both as a player and as a manager. But the Anfield outfit will go into this game in worse form than they were in in the build up to the same fixture last season. Last year, Liverpool had won five of their previous 10 league games as they approached the one against Blackburn. This time around, the Reds have won just two from 10. They cannot afford to be beaten at Ewood Park; otherwise more tough questions will be asked of Dalglish.
Of course, the major difference between the two managers is that Dalglish has already added a trophy to the cabinet, while Hodgson did not even come close. The Carling Cup triumph earlier this season may have bought the Scotsman some extra time to turn Liverpool around. The upcoming FA Cup semi-final against local rivals Everton also gives the manager an opportunity to add further credit to his bank. However, Liverpool’s players will need to make sure they do not have one eye on that Wembley clash when they face a Rovers side fighting for their Premier League lives.
The Reds’ performance against Aston Villa last time out will have given Dalglish great encouragement, given the number of chances his side created. However, in the end, the Anfield outfit were only able to pick up a single point from that game. Three points are needed at Ewood Park if Liverpool are to avoid being sucked into the battle to finish in the top half.
Goalkeeper Jose Reina will serve the second game of his three-match suspension, with Brazilian Alexander Doni set to keep his place in the starting line-up. Encouragingly, Danish centre-back Daniel Agger, who had been a key player for the Reds earlier this campaign, played a small part in Liverpool’s last game and could be in with a chance of making the first eleven on Tuesday night. The Merseysiders’ record with Agger in the team is somewhat impressive – Liverpool have won 40% of the games in which Agger has started this season, compared to just 27% when he has failed to start.
Therefore, Dalglish will be hoping that the defender is fit enough to play a bigger role at Ewood Park. For Liverpool, the upcoming fixture gives the players a chance to taste victory before the FA Cup semi-final weekend. However, the visitors will need to be wary of the threat posed by a Rovers side that kept champions Manchester United at bay for 80 minutes last week.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Blackburn v Liverpool