04 November 2007

Blackburn Rovers 0 Liverpool 0: Benitez fails to silence critics as Liverpool draw blank

Dear Benitez, please play Crouch when Besiktas comes to Anfiled.

Reds halt the Rovers juggernaut but do not have the look of champions

By Guy Hodgson (The Independent)

It is difficult to know where Liverpool are this season. If they are going through the blip every team suffers they are picking up points in difficult circumstances, are unbeaten in the Premier League and are just six points behind the leaders. The worry is, this could be as good as it gets.
Last night they stopped the juggernaut that is Blackburn Rovers – seven successive wins before this game – but it would take the most red-eyed Merseysider to suggest this was a full 90 minutes worthy of potential champions. There were plenty matching the description in the visiting end at Ewood Park last night and their calls for more expansive football suggested they, too, were less than enamoured with what they witnessed.
Blackburn Rovers hit the post and the bar in the first half and Liverpool carried a genuine and persistent threat only when Peter Crouch was introduced in the 72nd minute. Fittingly for those who are sometimes mystified by Rafael Benitez's selections, the England striker came closest to scoring for Liverpool, having a header cleared off the line.
Yesterday the Liverpool manager chose to employ Steven Gerrard for the bulk of the game as a second striker behind Dirk Kuyt, a partnership that carried a minimal threat. Before Crouch came on as a substitute Liverpool barely created a chance; after his appearance they produced five. There is a lesson there somewhere and one that Benitez may need to heed with Besiktas at Anfield in the Champions' League on Tuesday.
The Liverpool supporters chanted Crouch's name at the end of the match but Benitez gave no hints that he was persuaded. "With the number of chances we had we are disappointed," he said. "On the plus side, if we create the same against Besiktas we will score."

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