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Match Report


Posted Mon 26 Dec 11 at 16:15 PM

Report: Liverpool 1 Rovers 1

Rovers picked up their fifth and most impressive away point of the season thanks to a magnificent battling performance at Anfield.

Inspired by the outstanding goalkeeping of Mark Bunn, deputising for the injured Paul Robinson, Rovers displayed the courage that manager Steve Kean had demanded to more than merit a share of the Christmas cake against star-studded Liverpool.

Rovers' starting XI included five members of the Reserve League cup final team from last Spring, with young Adam Henley, 17, playing at left-back.

But with skipper Chris Samba marshalling his young troops and Bunn making three top class saves - none better than an incredible last-gasp block from Andy Carroll - Rovers stuck to their guns.

Bunn denied both Luis Suarez and Carroll in the opening 45 minutes, while the former Newcastle striker also had a 'goal' ruled out quite rightly by an offside flag.

Rovers were in dreamland in the final throes of the first half when Liverpool needlessly conceded a corner from which Kean's men took the lead.

Morten Gamst Pedersen swung the ball in and Charlie Adam, under pressure from Mauro Formica, inadvertently deflected it beyond Pepe Reina.

It was the second time in as many seasons that the former Blackpool midfielder had scored an own goal in Rovers' favour.

It took Liverpool only seven minutes of the second half to draw level with a scrappy equaliser - defender Martin Skrtel clipping the ball across the face of goal for the unmarked Maxi Rodriguez to net with a close-range downward header.

Liverpool, with the likes of Craig Bellamy, Jamie Carragher, Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard on the bench, introduced their club captain 20 minutes from time.

It was always going to be a tough rearguard action from then on, a situation which worsened when one of the 'escape routes' Junior Hoilett limped off injured.

But on 79 minutes, Rovers went so close to regaining the lead, the non-stop David Dunn jinking his way past two players before being impeded by colleague Yakubu just when he seemed a certain scorer.

Liverpool responded and in the fifth minute of stoppage time, young Henley made a marvelous goal-line clearance, while Bunn's save from Carroll will go into contention for 'save of the season'.

Rovers' players and manager celebrated the result like they had won a cup final and a strong following of supporters gave them a great ovation.

More displays like this and Rovers can definitely claw their way out of danger.

LIVERPOOL: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Adam (Gerrard 69), Rodriguez (Bellamy 81), Downing, Carroll, Suarez.

Subs not used: Doni (GK), Carragher, Kelly, Shelvey, Kuyt.

ROVERS: Bunn, Lowe, Samba (c), Hanley, Henley, Hoilett (Vukcevic 75), Nzonzi, Dunn (Petrovic 84), Pedersen, Formica, Yakubu (Goodwillie 90).

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Morris, Rochina, Blackman.

Booked: Agger (Liverpool)

Attendance: 44,441

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