Sunday, April 16, 2006

Blackburn 0-1 Liverpool

Especially with the result hardly likely to affect our increasingly almost certain 3rd place finish, these days I approach a trip to Ewood Park hoping mainly that no one gets injured. Cisse and Carragher have suffered nasty leg breaks in the past couple of seasons, not to mention Milan Baros' ankle getting broken, and if I remember rightly Jason McAteer also suffered a leg break against Blackburn...

Thankfully there were no such injuries today, and we were even able to rest Gerrard and Crouch from minor knocks. Lucas Neill did go through Cisse rather recklessly, but that won't be the main talking point. The goal was a very controversial one, with a clearly off-side Cisse reaching for the ball, and then stopping himself, to be judged inactive. In fairness to him, he did stop still and put his hands up - but I admit I'd feel aggrieved had the goal gone against us. We've suffered too from this off-side rule - Newcastle's goal stood against us, while a couple of Fowler's previous goals ruled out for no more. I think someone really has to clarify this rule - and I hope it doesn't cause such confusion at the World Cup...

(UPDATE: I think one commentator in the Guardian observed Cisse is most effective when not interfering with play. This comment on the off-side rule goes further...)

Anyway, Fowler's second winner in two games strengthens his case for a new contract yet further. Meanwhile critics will no doubt point to Cisse's contribution as showing he's most effective when not interfering with play... To his credit, his pace created two good chances; and yet his poor finishing meant both hit the wood-work (one off Friedel). I'd expect a £14m striker to be able to put away some of these opportunities - and am increasingly wishing we kept the more hard-working Baros (who scored twice for Villa this weekend) - but at least Cisse's pace does make other teams wary of being caught on the break.

All in all, I'm very happy to take the win. We're now guaranteed at least third I believe. And a fitting way to mark the Hillsborough anniversary. The only bad news is Sissoko's suspension for Chelsea next weekend.

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