FA Cup Quarter-Final Replay
Ewood Park, Lancashire
Wednesday, 8th April, 18:30 GMT
Liverpool travel to Lancashire to face Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup Quarter final replay following their goalless draw at Anfield exactly a month ago. The game is vital for Brendan Rodgers as the Ulsterman is under some pressure after two successive defeats in the Premier League that has all but ended Liverpool’s hopes of a Champions league spot.
Lineups and tactics
The hosts go into the game with big underdogs but considering Liverpool’s poor form of late, nothing can be ruled out, especially that it’s a cup game. Blackburn won their last game against Leeds United in the Championship and did so emphatically by a three-goal margin. The win ended a two-match losing streak.
However, Blackburn’s biggest concern will be their striker’s Rudy Gestede’s fitness as the Frenchman did not last the full game against Leeds and was substituted due to a hamstring problem. Gestede is likely to miss the game. Also likely to miss the game are center back Grant Hanley and striker Chris Brown.
In Gestede’s absence, Blackburn will look to Jordan Rhodes for goals as the 25-year old has been in good form this season and has managed to score 17 goals. Blackburn manager Gary Bower has employed a 4-4-2 formation in majority of the games of the season, but he could revert back to the 4-1-4-1 formation against Liverpool that he employed back in the first leg. It was Gestede who played the last time and troubled the Liverpool defense, but in his absence, Rhodes will be given the lone striker’s role. Blackburn will be without their midfielder Jay Spearing as the former Liverpool man is cup-tied after appearing for Bolton earlier in the competition. In Spearing’s absence, we could see Corry Evans making an appearance.
The defense will most likely comprise Marcus Olson and Tommy Spurr as full-backs with Matthew Kilgallon and Alex Baptiste operating as center backs.
Liverpool face a similar headache like Blackburn ahead of the game as they’ll be without several first team regulars. Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli will miss the game through injuries while Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Steven Gerrard are suspended for the clash.
After a good turnaround to the woeful start of the season, the pressure on Brendan Rodgers has once again increased as Liverpool succumbed to two successive defeats at the hands of Manchester United and Arsenal has all but ended their top four hopes. Rodgers was tactically outwitted by United and Arsenal. Can he redeem himself when his side take on Blackburn at Ewood park.
Rodgers will be forced to draft in Dejan Lovren back into the starting lineup due to the suspensions to Skrtel and Can and he’ll partner Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho in defense. Rodgers could leave Lazar Markovic on the bench after the Serb had another ineffective outing against Arsenal and it’s likely the Glen Johnson will take up his place, operating as a wingback. Alberto Moreno is expected to start on the other side with Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen playing as the midfielders, forming the double pivot in front of the defense. Philippe Coutinho has been ‘pressed out’ in the last two games and will take his place alongside Raheem Sterling as the attacking players behind Daniel Sturridge in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
- Blackburn have lost twice, won and drawn once against Liverpool at the Ewood Park in their last four games.
- Liverpool are yet to lose a game in normal time in domestic cup competitions this season (they were beaten by Chelsea after extra time).
- The difference in squad values between the two squads is a whopping a 270 million.
Blackburn 1-2 Liverpool
Both Blackburn and Liverpool are hurting with injuries and suspensions which could mean that we are in for a grind rather than a rip-roaring cup game. Liverpool’s tempo to the game will be key as Blackburn could stumble if they concede early. The Liverpool side will not find it easy, but will just cross the line.