Liverpool frustrated by Blackburn at Anfield

Liverpool 1 Blackburn 1

Even the return of captain Steven Gerrard after a two-month absence failed to lift Liverpool out of their current Anfield malaise as the Barclays Premier League's bottom club Blackburn left with a point they barely deserved.

The England international, sidelined since October with an ankle problem, played the final 21 minutes but could not inspire a change in fortunes.

Kenny Dalglish's side, although unbeaten at home this season, have now drawn six and won three and been held five times in the last six outings at Anfield.

And had it not been for Maxi Rodriguez's 11th goal in his last 12 starts it the result could have been more embarrassing after Charlie Adam had put through his own net on the stroke of half-time.

A familiar pattern of failing to take chances emerged very early on but the difference here, throughout the whole side, was the lack of spark and crispness which the Reds have usually had.

Luis Suarez's second-minute free-kick which sailed just over set the tone before Adam sliced an ambitious volley from outside the area which gave Mark Bunn, deputising for the injured Paul Robinson, a much easier save than he could have anticipated.

There followed two efforts from Suarez, one into the side-netting from Glen Johnson's pass, and the other missing the target completely with a left-footed shot from a similar position on the right of the penalty area.

In recent months opposition goalkeepers have made a habit of saving their best performances for Anfield and Bunn's point-blank block from Andy Carroll, starting for the first time in four matches, after Downing had kept in Jose Enrique's deep cross had a familiar look to it.

Carroll had a goal ruled out on the half-hour as Suarez was offside and the assistant's flag rescued Bunn from conceding a penalty when he brought down Rodriguez, although it was inactive Suarez and not the Argentinian who had got ahead of the Rovers defence.

Blackburn's attacking was sporadic at best and when they did get a chance to test the meanest defence in the Barclays Premier League they wasted it as Ayegbeni Yakubu's cross from a quickly-taken corner was well over-hit.

In the end they needed a helping hand as, totally against the run of play, Adam diverted Morten Gamst Pedersen's inswinging corner past his own goalkeeper just seconds before half-time.

It capped a disappointing few days for the Scotland international, who also put through his own net against Rovers for Blackpool last season, as he missed a penalty in Wednesday's goalless draw at Wigan.

It took Liverpool eight minutes to equalise.

Downing's cross was cleared only as far as Martin Skrtel who hooked the ball back to the far post where Rodriguez headed in from close range.

The goal gave the Reds the spark they needed and, with Bunn wasting time at every opportunity, Suarez headed wide Downing's corner from a spot very close to where his team-mate had equalised.

A Carroll overhead kick was cleared by Grant Hanley while another Rodriguez far-post header, this time back across the six-yard area was crying out for a final touch with no Liverpool player anywhere near.

Gerrard finally got his long-awaited return to action in the 69th minute when he replaced Adam and ran straight on to curl in a free-kick which was headed over by Rodriguez.

Suarez then headed over Johnson's cross before the England defender was relieved to see David Dunn stab wide after needlessly giving away possession in midfield.

The action intensified as Carroll headed wide Enrique's cross, Rodriguez made way for Craig Bellamy to come on against his former club and Downing rolled a left-footed shot too close to Bunn having been played in by Gerrard.

Liverpool twice thought they had stolen the points in the closing moments, Carroll drawing a fine save from Bunn with a close-range volley and 17-year-old Adam Henley, on his first senior start, clearing off the line after Daniel Agger's header from the subsequent corner.

Such problems cannot be allowed to continue for Kenny Dalglish, who must surely have to address the issue of a lack of goals in the coming transfer window.

Blackburn's players celebrated a hard-earned point at the final whistle but their difficulties - they remain bottom of the table - will probably take more fixing.

PA

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there