Club Focus – Blackburn – Rovers falter against struggling Liverpool

Sam Allardyce was looking to pile the pressure on Liverpool ahead of Rovers’ trip to Anfield this weekend; however the Blues returned to Lancashire with nothing to show for their efforts. Jamie Carragher’s own goal in the second half did give Big Sam’s side some hope at 1-1, but in truth Blackburn were quite poor against a wounded yet lively Liverpool side who won the match 2-1.

Captain Chris Samba was suspended for the game following his red card against Sunderland last Monday and New Zealand international Ryan Nelsen also missed out through injury. Frenchman Gael Givet and youngster Phil Jones started at the back for Rovers, whilst Nikola Kalinic was utilised as the lone striker. It is fair to say that the Croatian forward did not really fit into Allardyce’s system during this match and it was only when Benjani came on in the second period that Blackburn began to look slightly more threatening going forward.

But Big Sam’s attackers are not performing to the level needed for the side to match their top ten league finish last season. Kalinic has scored a couple of goals this season, but does seem isolated far too often in matches. Mame Diouf started his Rovers career in some style, particularly with an impressive hat-trick in the league cup; however goals have dried up from that source and he must be given more of an opportunity and continued run in the team. Benjani made a difference, but his fitness is always in doubt – particularly after he was a substituted substitute against Sunderland. As for Jason Roberts, his time at Blackburn appears to be all but over as he is unhappy with his position at the club. Allardyce’s men will definitely score one or two goals here and there this season, but there is no proven goalscorer in their side. Rovers’ fans will be hoping that the proposed takeover of the club does go ahead, so they can splash out on a quality striker who will bag at least 15-20 goals a season.

One positive was Paul Robinson’s magnificent performance. The Englishman singlehandedly kept Liverpool at bay in the first half, as he pulled off some spectacular saves to prevent his side from going behind. Robinson is a very reliable stopper who has been excellent so far this season and will almost certainly gain his side a few points this campaign.

Local hero David Dunn also started the game and that will be good news for Rovers as they need the inspirational midfielder to get some match time and stay fit for as long as possible if they are to climb up the table and reach the top ten. Last season, Dunn was top scorer for the Lancashire outfit and his presence provides a boost for the team. Dunn is a gifted player who creates chances for Blackburn and also scores many goals. His return is undoubtedly a positive for Allardyce.

Big Sam’s men may not have earned the result they wanted at Anfield, but it must be remembered that Rovers should not be judged on these sorts of games. As long as they beat the teams around them, Blackburn will be fine, but if they have ambition of repeating their heroics of a top half finish, then they will certainly have to start improving, particularly at home.

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