Club Focus – Blackburn – Rovers looking to inflict more pain on Merseysiders

Sam Allardyce takes his spirited Blackburn side to Anfield this Sunday, hoping to inflict more pain on the lowly Merseysiders. 14th placed Rovers are currently three points clear of the Reds, who could find themselves bottom of the Premier League by the time this highly-anticipated fixture comes along. It is incredibly rare for Liverpool to be below Blackburn in the league and Allardyce will be looking for ways to take advantage of the desperate situation at Anfield and kicking the Reds while they are down.

Of course, Big Sam will not be facing his enemy Rafael Benitez in the dugout this time, but instead he will meet an Englishman in the form of Roy Hodgson. Allardyce had many arguments with Liverpool’s former Spanish boss but has more respect for the man who replaced him. Roy Hodgson has had an awful start to his managerial career at Anfield and defeat to Allardyce’s Blackburn side could see the Liverpool manager get the sack. But there will be no favours done here – Rovers will intend to take all three points from a vulnerable side.

The Lancashire outfit showed great resilience on Monday night, when they secured a point and well-earned clean sheet against Sunderland, despite playing over 45 minutes with just ten men after skipper Chris Samba was sent off. Ideally, Allardyce would have been aiming for a victory before the match, but the changed circumstances meant that even a draw ‘felt like a win’ to the Blackburn boss. But he will now be without Samba for the trip to Anfield.

Nevertheless, Allardyce is confident that his side can play to their strengths and really have a good go against their opponents when they meet. He said: “Liverpool are below us. How often do you play Liverpool when they are below you? Very, very rarely. When we get this opportunity we have to take it if we can, as difficult as it might be. If we defend like we did against Sunderland though we certainly have a chance.”

However, Big Sam is wary of the damage Liverpool can do if their wounded players show their real quality. “A lot of their players are not playing to their best and if they do start playing to their best it does make life very difficult for us,” he said.

With David Dunn getting back in to the flow with some action against the Black Cats last time out and El-Hadji Diouf showing some real glimpses of talent, Rovers may have enough to inflict more pain on their rivals. But Liverpool do have some world-class players of their own and should never be taken lightly, regardless of where they are so early on in the season.

Turning to matters off the field, there is still no real advance on the proposed takeover of the club, however potential bidder Ahsan Ali Syed has recently given donations to a local day centre and Blackburn Cathedral. His intentions are unclear, but some believe Syed is trying to win over the fans by showing some real passion for the town. However, it is important to add that these charitable handouts will have no influence on whether he is successful in his attempt to buy the club.

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