Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Reds shoot blanks at Anfield

09 March 2015, 06:48

London - Steven Gerrard's hopes of a Wembley send-off were put on ice on Sunday after Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Blackburn Rovers in their FA Cup quarter-final.

Gerrard will turn 35 on the day of the final, but he is not yet guaranteed even a semi-final appearance at the national stadium after second-tier Blackburn belied expectations they would be swept aside by Brendan Rodgers's in-form Liverpool to take the game to a replay.

Liverpool are on a run of 12 unbeaten games in the league, but with Gerrard absent due to injury and Martin Skrtel forced off after a heavy early fall, they were held at bay as Blackburn celebrated 20 years since winning the league at Anfield with a dogged display.

With Rudy Gestede a thorn in the hosts' side, Liverpool failed to impose themselves in the first half and while they took control after half-time, they could find no way past Blackburn goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.

Having already eliminated Stoke City and Swansea City on home turf in this season's competition, Gary Bowyer's Blackburn will approach the replay at Ewood Park with understandable optimism.

Despite having returned to training after missing six games with a hamstring injury, Gerrard -- who leaves for the Los Angeles Galaxy at the season's end -- was not named in the Liverpool squad, while the inclusion of Glen Johnson in the back three saw Emre Can move into midfield.

Liverpool were forced to make further adjustments after Skrtel had to be stretchered off following a collision with Gestede that left him needing eight minutes of treatment, with Kolo Toure coming on.

Blackburn, who made seven changes, were missing Josh King, scorer of a hat-trick against Stoke in the fifth round, but in the bruising Gestede they had a capable replacement.

The Benin striker headed wide after beating Simon Mignolet to an early free-kick and his presence regularly sowed unease in a hesitant Liverpool defence.

Toure had to come across and dispossess Craig Conway after Dejan Lovren had been caught beneath a high ball, while Johnson was obliged to put a cross from Conway behind his own goal and the same Blackburn player then shot narrowly wide after Gestede had dummied Ben Marshall's pass.

Both teams might have had penalties on a different day, Liverpool when Matthew Kilgallon stepped across Adam Lallana's run in the box and Blackburn when Raheem Sterling allowed a high ball to brush his right hand.

With all their midfield schemers, Liverpool's play lacked verticality and they struggled to bring Daniel Sturridge into the game.

Toure saw an effort correctly ruled out for offside and it was not until first-half stoppage time that Eastwood was employed, saving Lazar Markovic's deflected shot and boxing away a drive from Sturridge.

Blackburn were again first to the punch in the second half, with Mignolet producing a brilliant finger-tip save to prevent Alex Baptiste's header from a Conway corner nestling in the top right-hand corner.

Rodgers sent on Mario Balotelli for Markovic, shifting Liverpool's shape to a 3-5-2 and giving the hosts a better foothold in midfield, but though they succeeded in forcing Blackburn back, they continued to labour in front of goal.

Only in the last 15 minutes did Liverpool begin to prise their opponents apart, but Sturridge could only hook wide from Balotelli's flick and when Jordan Henderson did find the target, Eastwood blocked with his feet.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...