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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 05 Dec 09 at 17:23 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Liverpool 0

It was honours even at Ewood Park as Rovers and Liverpool played out a goalless draw.

The first half was instantly forgettable with very little in the way of goalmouth action as both sides cancelled out each other.

But the second was a much livelier affair. Franco Di Santo wasted a great opportunity when through on goal, before at the other end David Ngog did likewise when he somehow hit the bar from Glenn Johnson's cutback in the six yard box.

From the rebound Paul Robinson pulled off an outstanding block to deny Dirk Kuyt.

But as the game entered the closing stages it was Rovers looking to grab the decisive goal. But Di Santo, Benni McCarthy and Brett Emerton all fired wide of goal.

Even substitute Nikola Kalinić couldn't inspire a late winner to follow up his fine display against Chelsea on Wednesday. After firing wide at the near post, he then put a shot wide when just Reina to beat at the death.

But after their extra-time exploits in midweek, whilst Rovers will be disappointed not to claim all three, they'll be pleased with the point that sees them move up a place to 12th, above their local rivals Burnley.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Sam Allardyce made four changes from the side that defeated Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup on Wednesday.

Michel Salgado, Jason Roberts, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Nikola Kalinić all dropped to the bench with Gaël Givet, Franco Di Santo, Vince Grella and El-Hadji Diouf coming in to start.

The game saw Rovers start brightly, with Brett Emerton, Pascal Chimbonda and Benni McCarthy impressing in the early exchanges.

But it was an opening half in which both defenses were on top, Liverpool getting little change out of stalwarts Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba, whilst at the other end the central block of four from Liverpool stifled Rovers' creativity.

It wasn't until the 36th minute that either goal was threatend and even then it was barely a chance of note. A long Paul Robinson ball upfield was nodded on by Chris Samba but the ball flew straight into the arms of Pepe Reina.

Liverpool had their best chance of the half a minute later, but Chris Samba got a vital deflection to Steven Gerrard's shot across Robinson's goal.

The second half saw both sides create more chances in the opening ten minutes than in the entire first half.

Only a great tackle from Chris Samba stopped Steven Gerrard scoring on his 500th Liverpool appearance, whilst at the other end Benni McCarthy sent Franco Di Santo through on goal but he took too long to shoot and Daniel Agger reclaimed the ball.

El-Hadji Diouf drilled an effort a yard wide, whilst Gerrard's daisy cutter was straight forward for the Rovers number one.

Bit it was on the hour mark the game that the game really sprang into life. Gerrard wanted a penalty but it was a great tackle by Vince Grella. Then the Aussie found Di Santo but his shot across goal was saved by Reina.

It was hearts in mouths time moments later when a storming run by Glenn Johnson saw him advance into the area. He pulled the ball back into the six yard box for Liverpool sub David Ngog, but somehow the Frenchman could only divert the ball on the crossbar. Dirk Kuyt pounced onto the rebound but Robinson showed brilliant reactions to push the ball aside.

But from that point onwards it was all Rovers as they ended the game much the stronger side despite having had to endure 120 minutes and a penalty shootout just 72 hours earlier.

Sub Junior Hoilett fed Benni McCarthy on the edge of the area, he tried to find Di Santo, but the ball ran back into his path, but his first time effort was surprisingly a yard wide.

It was McCarthy's last involvement in the game as he was replaced by Nikola Kalinić and the young Croatian was immediatly into the action, winning a free-kick that saw Vince Grella drill narrowly wide with a shot across the bows.

As the game entered two additional minutes Rovers still pressed to claim all of the points. Chimbonda fed Kalinić who fired narrowly wide of the near post, before with almost the final kick of the game the striker had just Reina to beat but under pressure from the Spaniard he put his shot wide of goal.

It had been a game that for a long time delivered little, but at the end Rovers will have been left ruing those missed chances.

ROVERS: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Emerton, Grella, Nzonzi, Diouf (sub Hoilett 72 mins), McCarthy (sub Kalinić 77 mins), Di Santo (sub Andrews 85 mins).

Subs not used: Brown, Roberts, Pedersen, Salgado

LIVERPOOL: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Gerrard (c), Riera (sub Ngog 52 mins), Benayoun (sub El Zhar 72 mins), Kuyt, Mascherano, Lucas, Insua, Carragher.

Subs not used: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Dossena

Booked: Diouf (Rovers).

Attendance: 29,660

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