Liverpool left Ewood Park on Saturday with a belly full of pies but not a belly full of pride. 90 minutes could not provide a separation between the two teams after the game ended goalless.
Rafa started a slightly different looking side with both Benayoun and Riera making starts, nevertheless minus Torres it was a good side, fully capable of picking up the three points here and perhaps even a few goals.
The first half was uneventful to say the least. The most memorable moments were the numerous free-kicks, offsides and chances gone wide.
So with nothing notable to report in the first half of Steven Gerrard's 500th game the lads came out fresh and ready for the next 45minutes. 0-0 is not a scoreline to be worried about at half time but as it pushes nearer and nearer to the 80minute mark you start to wonder if it will be your day...
Barely 5 minutes into the second half and Rafa makes a substitution, i can't remember the last time i saw a substitution from Rafa that came before 60minutes and wasn't forced upon him for other reasons, but this proved he realised the game needed a change, ever aware of how the game and tactics are panning out the boss switched Albert Riera for an in form and confidence filled David N'Gog.
Liverpool were more of an attacking force in the second half however not a successful one, shots from Gerrard, Kuyt and N'Gog were all either blocked or sent wide. Time ticking by it was becoming more and more important that Liverpool found the net before Blackburn did themselves.
After a rather quiet first half Blackburn were also threatening with shots from Di Santo and McCarthy giving Reina some mild problems.
Roughly 70 minutes and Rafa makes his next change, to some hesitation by the fans Yossi Benayoun was replaced with a newly available Nabil El Zhar.
I don't understand some fans reactions a lot of the time, i can understand at 0-0 you would be right to feel slightly bewildered when seeing Benayoun leave the pitch but Benitez can't win, one week the fans want Benayoun to start, the next they want him to come on. Benitez almost always replaces at least one winger in his changes within a game regardless of the score this is obviously one of his ways. I personally knew when the team came out that Benayoun would not play 90 minutes and if the scoreline were of a different value you can guarantee the change wouldn't have been met so hastily.
I do however see the point, maybe he should have left Benayoun on but the other factor is, when fans believe players like Kelly, Spearing, El Zhar etc should be given a chance, they should feature more etc etc, they seem to feel that it must also fit in with a time and game situation that they choose. (4-0 up against Hull/Bolton/West Ham maybe?) It's double standards and I'm not falling for it. Yes it riled me slightly, but not enough to 'boo' the decision. It would have been a very different story if NEZ had of gone on to net the winner. He looks a very promising player if you ask me, pace, skill and good crossing ability. Just what you need in a 0-0 deadlock with the clock running down no?
Easily the highlight of the match for Liverpool was the soul destroying N'Gog shot which after taking a bobble connected with David's shin and was sent to safety by the bar. A brilliant driving run by Glen Johnson and a point perfect cross left everyone certain the Frenchman would find the back of the net but luck just wasn't on our side and with that it was clear today, was not our day.
On the plus side we didn't lose and we kept a clean sheet. Usually this would not be much to hold your chin up about but under the circumstances and our recent inconsistency plus the fact that Blackburn could have actually taken the three points at one stage we should be grateful for the point.
With Fiorentina next in the week and then Arsenal at Anfield on the weekend who knows what could happen. Fiorentina will be a good chance to give key players a rest and allow newly fit ones to have a good run out. With the hope that Aquilani and Torres could both start the game it will hopefully provide us with more options for the Arsenal fixture.
Inconsistency is a worry, but it is not a time to dismay. Providing we continue to collect a steady chain of points, that top 4 slot is still easily in our sights. As proved yesterday Spurs are not infallible, nor Chelsea or Arsenal. Manchester United have also been beatable and with a shoddy defence it could be a very different story in weeks to come.
With that in mind let's hope we have a good game against Fiorentina to get the ball rolling for the Arsenal game. With no pressure on either side for a result it could prove an interesting match.