Football: Kidd's strife under a Turin cloud

FA Premiership: Bleak times for Blackburn as Liverpool surprise their critics with emphatic victory

Blackburn Rovers 1 Liverpool 3

Duff 63 McManaman 23,Redknapp 32

Leonhardsen 32

Half-time: 0-3 Attendance: 29,944

WHILE ALEX FERGUSON stands on the brink of a fabulous achievement, what must his former No 2 be thinking this morning as his Blackburn side teeter on the edge of an abyss? Realistically, it is two out of three of Blackburn, Charlton and South-ampton to be dragged kicking and screaming from the condemned cell, with even jolly swagman Jack Walker unable to buy Rovers' way out of this spot.

Maybe it will all be the making of Brian Kidd as a manager, but this defeat against a Liverpool minus Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler and with little to gain from their season except the silencing of their ever- gathering critics, suggests he will continue to suffer before safety is assured. If, indeed, it is.

If adversity maketh a man, then this display yesterday will surely create a colossus out of Kidd who, when he could have been at the European Cup final alongside Ferguson on 26 May, could well, by then, be plotting a Nationwide First Division campaign. Yesterday, for all his apparent stoicism, the tension was clearly seizing the Rovers' manager like a vice as he and the Liverpool coach Phil Thompson indulged in a spot of theatricals after the former Anfield wing-back Jason McAteer had felled Karlheinz Riedle near the touchline. Fingers were pointed, and gestures made, as the two men squared up in confrontation more suited to closing time outside the local than a Premiership ground.

Kidd's opposite number, Gerard Houllier, said that it made him laugh, a reaction which was, no doubt, repeated during the next half an hour when Blackburn decided it was a Save Anfield Angst charity afternoon. Two goals, feasted hungrily upon by Liverpool, both prepared lovingly by a Rover's haute cuisine chefs and presented on a silver salver, on either side of a meaty blow by Jamie Redknapp, are not what a relegation team require before half-time. After the interval there was insufficient evidence that they would repair the damage, other than Damien Duff's splendid volley.

The response from Kidd, defiance personified, was a hat-trick of cliches as he sought to convey his disappointment. "For the first 15 minutes we were nice and tidy and in control," he said. "Then we pressed the self- destruct button, we shot ourselves in the foot, and, in our situation, we had a glass mountain to climb."

Blackburn, and their owner, who is watching his grand design crumble before his eyes only four years after savouring the title, can hold one, perhaps two, comfort blankets to their disbelieving faces. The knowledge that they meet Charlton away next week, followed by Nottingham Forest at home.

One can only speculate whether Kidd will rue his decision to sate his own ambition rather than share the honours which will now surely befall Ferguson. "I don't want to say anything about Manchester United because people might get the wrong idea," he said, although even the master diplomat would be hard-pressed to suggest that life after Old Trafford has been kind.

After the initial impetus that followed his appointment in December, three Premiership victories are all Rovers have to show for their endeavours since the turn of the year. "There are plenty of twists and turns to come," he maintained.

In recent games Liverpool had been demob unhappy and Manchester United's achievement in Turin last week have only served to emphasise the sense of Anfield underachievement as Ferguson's men threaten to usurp Liverpool's elite historical status in Europe.

The visitors deployed Riedle in a lone front-running role, enthusiastically supported by Steve McManaman, David Thompson and Oyvind Leonhardsen. But it was still an authorative enough line-up to deflect Rovers from their purpose of salvation. The first goal came midway through the half when Darren Peacock's misdirected back-pass allowed McManaman to scramble the ball home ahead of goalkeeper John Filan. "One greedy bastard," the home supporters had heckled Liverpool's Loadsa-Pesetas. On an afternoon when his voracity with the ball hinted frequently at the prowess that has enabled the England man to negotiate such a lucrative deal with Real Madrid, they unwittingly had it about right. "We're getting the best out of Steve now," enthused Houllier, which with five games to go is hardly likely to mollify the dissatisfied Anfiield faithful.

For Blackburn, it was enough to deflate their morale instantly. Even McAteer, who had emerged at the start bristling with purpose, was already a forlorn figure by the interval. By then, Jamie Redknapp had unleashed a vicious drive on the half-hour, followed, a minute later, by another howler in the home defence, in which Peacock and McAteer both challenged for the same ball.

Leonhardsen, who was the grateful recipient of their efforts, put the game beyond Rovers. Duff gave Rovers belief, briefly, but the glass mountain would always provide too severe an ascent. Kidd can only pray that it contains more footholds than splinters in their last four games.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: An outstanding school in Luton are looking ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Inspection Inventory Clerk

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a fast growing in...

Recruitment Genius: PSV/PCV & HGV Mechanics

£29000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: PSV/PCV Mechanics & HGV mechani...

Recruitment Genius: Reprographics Operator

£12500 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest independent Reprogr...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee