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08th Apr 2015

9 things that could save Liverpool’s season from ending at Blackburn


This could be the sad end to Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool career: Watching from the stands on a dreary Wednesday night at Ewood Park.

The #GetGerrardToWembley movement already feels like Liverpool fans have perhaps sold themselves short.

Last year, they were dreaming of an overdue Premier League medal and a return to Europe’s top table in the Champions League.

But now the FA Cup is their last hope of salvaging something from a difficult campaign.

A final date at Wembley on Gerrard’s birthday presents a fitting send-off for the Reds captain. Yet that prospect could die this evening in a quarter-final replay at the home of a Championship club.

Brendan Rodgers is under pressure to deliver after Liverpool’s race for fourth was mercilessly cut short by Manchester United and Arsenal. So here’s a list of his options for how to tackle Blackburn and set up a semi against Aston Villa…

Buy a new ‘keeper
Simon Mignolet hasn’t been as wobbly as he was – you know, when his knees were knocking together and he could barely stand – but you’re not going to win any trophies with the Belgian manning the posts. Considering Brad Jones is the only real back-up and the transfer window is closed, Rodgers is in a real tight spot here. His best option could be to pull a Henrik Larsson and put the kit man in goals. Or beg the powers that be to get someone on an emergency loan.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League

Start Daniel Sturridge
Six weeks later, and Sturridge is still playing catch-up. Rodgers is wary of starting him in the big games but, if it’s goals he wants, Sturridge is his man.

Drop Daniel Sturridge
Six weeks later, and Sturridge is still playing catch-up. Rodgers is wary of starting him in the big games but, if it’s a high-intensity performance and pressing he wants, Sturridge probably isn’t his man.

Work out what to do at wing-back
Rodgers may have put his faith in an attacking formation recently, but it seems he hasn’t got to grips with the right wing-back slot. Both Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have started there recently, which hasn’t helped the team’s balance. Given Sterling’s quality, he should be the one making things happen all the time in the centre.

But stop playing Sterling as a striker
Last year, Liverpool had Sturridge and Luis Suarez – with Sterling floating about too. Pressing defenders and making intelligent runs aren’t the only requisites of playing up top and both Liverpool and Sterling are suffering from the 20-year-old leading the line. Play a striker in the striker’s position, and Sterling in a role where he can create chances.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League

Stop allowing Sterling to speak to the press
Well, it’s too late for that.

Change formation…again
In fairness to the manager, he’s tried this more times than Sturridge has attempted a comeback. From diamonds to squares, to 4-3-3, to 3-5-2 and so on, Rodgers has continuously tampered with the shape of his side to varying success. It’s the only way he can continue to hit buzzwords like ‘fluency’, ‘transition’ and ‘technicians’ in his post-match interviews.

Get Jordan Henderson to hop more
The pattern is a very real thing. Jordan Henderson hops into the air and Liverpool score goals. There’s some sort of cosmic connection between his skips and the ball, and Rodgers must work more on the Hendo Hop if Liverpool are to break Blackburn down.

Start Mario Balotelli
Hilarious, right? But if Rodgers is ever going to trust his £16m striker to deliver, tonight’s the night. Balotelli has scored twice against Blackburn in the past (which is double his number of Premier League goals this season) and could be the man to send Liverpool into the semi-final.


FA Cup,Liverpool