Blackburn Club Focus – Battling Blackburn clinch precious point at Anfield

Under-pressure Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean arrived at Anfield following three consecutive defeats in the Premier League and with his side sitting at the bottom of the table. With seemingly the whole of Blackburn, including a large section of supporters, the local media and even MP Jack Straw against him, many believe that Kean has done well to keep his job for this long. But guiding the Lancashire outfit to an unexpected, hard-fought 1-1 draw against top-four hopefuls Liverpool will have given the optimistic Scot a great deal of satisfaction.

The game could easily have ended up like Rovers’ last three in the top-flight – as a narrow 2-1 defeat. But Kean had his second-choice goalkeeper Mark Bunn and the 17-year-old left-back Adam Henley to thank for protecting what could turn out to be a significant point. Bunn, whose last league start had come in January in the 3-1 win over Liverpool, produced an outstanding save to deny £35m striker Andy Carroll a winner in the final minute of injury time. And in the dying moments of the game, the impressive Welshman Henley somehow kept out Daniel Agger’s effort. The full-time whistle blew immediately. Bunn and Henley were mobbed by their jubilant teammates.

This was by no means Rovers’ greatest performance and they barely offered any real threat going forward. Indeed, the visitors’ goal was scored by Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam. But the fight, spirit and determination within the team was visible for all to see. Some supporters feel that Kean has lost the faith of some of his dressing room. If this is the case, then his players are going a strange way about showing it.

But one positive result does not change much for Rovers. The struggling Lancashire side are still stuck to the bottom of the Premier League table and have won just two games in the top-flight all season – less than any other team. In addition to this, Kean’s men have failed to keep a clean-sheet in their last 21 league games and currently have a number of key defenders injured. These are tough times for the Ewood Park outfit, and things could get a lot worse before they get better as Rovers prepare to face in-form champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Years’ Eve – a ground where they suffered an embarrassing 7-1 thrashing last term.

Fortunately for Kean, the transfer window opens soon after that trip and he will be looking to sign some players to strengthen his thin squad. The Rovers boss has previously stated that he would like to invest in a midfielder and a striker, though given the injuries to so many of his defenders so far this term, it seems likely that the Scot will be chasing an experienced full-back to add to the ranks.

Speaking about his intentions for the transfer window, Kean said: “I think we need four and if we can get them quickly, together with lads coming out of the medical room, I think we can climb the table quickly. If we can get established players in and get them bedded into the team then that can only be good for everybody.” Whether owners Venky’s are willing to fund him is entirely another question.

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