Liverpool v Blackburn reaction

The England international made his first appearance for two months

after an ankle infection as a second-half substitute but could not

inspire his side to find a winner in the 1-1 draw with Blackburn on

Boxing Day. A sixth draw in nine home appearances this season

against a team bottom of the table dented the Reds’ hopes of making

up ground on the top four as they failed to take advantage of

Chelsea being held earlier in the day. Having fallen behind to

Charlie Adam’s own goal on the stroke of half-time Liverpool had

only Maxi Rodriguez’s close-range header to show for dominating the

entire game without seriously testing goalkeeper Mark Bunn,

deputising for the injured Paul Robinson. But Gerrard’s comeback

was the one major positive from another frustrating afternoon. “He

has done really well in training. He looks really fit but needs

some time on the pitch now to get him back to full fitness,” said

the Scot. “The difficulty was who to take off because it wasn’t as

if we were playing poorly. “Usually if there is a bit of a struggle

you can see you have two or three options but there wasn’t anyone

who deserved to come off. “But we had to do something to try to win

the game. I made two substitutions – Steven and Craig Bellamy – to

try to win it and with a bit of good fortune we probably would

have.” Liverpool did not really come alive until after their

equaliser but did enough in the final half hour – and even in the

final seconds – to have come away with three points. Andy Carroll,

on his first start in four matches, was denied by Bunn, deputising

for the injured Paul Robinson, while Daniel Agger had a header

cleared off the line with the final kick of the match from

17-year-old Adam Henley on his first senior start. “We did more

than enough to win, created more than enough chances to win the

game,” added Dalglish. “The performance could have been a touch

better but I have no complaints. “Once again we have not converted

a good enough ratio of chances we have made and the goalkeeper made

a fantastic save at the end. “It could have been a push on Daniel

Agger (before Carroll’s shot) but the goalkeeper makes a fantastic

save and then it comes in (from the corner) and someone kicks it

off the line. “The team’s performance wasn’t faultless but there

would have been a lot of other people happy with that performance.”

Rovers boss Steve Kean, who fielded five players who featured in

last season’s reserves cup final, was delighted with his side’s

performance. “I enjoyed it. We were disappointed in the way we

started the second half but in the first half we got our defensive

organisation sorted,” he said. “We have worked on that to try to

establish a platform and work on counter-attacks. “We have a very

young side because of all the injuries we have but it was not only

young Adam (Henley), there are five lads who were playing in the

reserve cup final last year. “But for your full debut you don’t get

to come to more tougher places than Anfield. “And Mark Bunn made

two great saves. He’s been very patient but Paul picked up a little

calf tear and he came in. “Full credit to the lads, we dug in and

managed to get something from the game.”