Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Liverpool: What we learned

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Philippe Coutinho's crashing effort sent Liverpool into the semi-final of the FA Cup with a win against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

The pair had battled to a goalless draw at Anfield last month and the replay of the clash proved much the same in the first-half. Daniel Sturridge almost gave the Reds the opener when he left-foot shot from outside the box was tipped over the bar by Simon Eastwood.


Blackburn - who were missing a shed-load of key players for the clash - almost went into half-time with the lead when Jordan Rhodes headed over the bar.

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After the break, Gary Bowyer's men came out all guns blazing and Simon Mignolet was forced to make two outstanding saves from Tom Cairney and Ben Marshall to keep the scores level.

With 20 minutes to play, Coutinho's poor corner rebounded back to him and played a smart one-two with Henderson before firing his effort off the post to give Liverpool the lead.

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The win sees Brendan Rodgers take the Merseyside club to Wembley for the first time since the helm at Anfield and meet Aston Villa on April 19 for a place in the FA Cup final.

Back-Four Could Work

After months of progressing with 3-5-2, Rodgers reverted back to playing four at the back at Ewood Park.

Poor defensive displays against Manchester United and Arsenal highlighted that Liverpool's secret was finally up and goals were leaking. Already the Reds were struggling for recruits with Martin Skrtel and Emre Can both suspended for the match.

Liverpool had to be resilient in Lancashire with the Blue and Whites scoring freely in recent weeks. Rudy Gestede gave the Merseyside club a handful at Anfield and, despite not starting in the reply, Rhodes is too a very good striker who was capable of giving any side a tough time.

Alberto Moreno and Glen Johnson played as conventional full-backs which brought a lot more stability to the defence, as well as keeping more width when going forward.

In recent weeks, three centre-backs just has not worked. As each game goes by, Emre Can desperately wants to push further forward and influence the game in the middle of the park. Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure were paired together for the first time and worked well. It's unlikely that they will appear together again once Skrtel returns, however, the system suited Liverpool.

Lucas' protection allowed Henderson and Joe Allen to flood the midfield as the game went on which seen Liverpool begin to really dominant possession.

Lovren Has Potential

I have felt for Lovren this season. He was one of the Premier League's best defenders at Southampton last term however struggled early on in his Anfield career following his £20 million move.

With Skrtel and Can suspended and Toure finding himself back on the bench after a dismal performance against Arsenal, Lovren was drafted back into the starting line-up. In the early stages of the season, the Croat looked to be trying to impress far too hard which was leading to mistakes on a regular basis.

However, the 25-year-old went back to basics at Ewood Park and was solid throughout the game. It can always be difficult for a centre-back to settle with a new partner and when Mamadou Sakho limped off midway through the first-half, Toure came on to replace.

This however did not effect Lovren's performance and he still carried on playing confidently. Gestede gave Skrtel a torrid time last month but Lovren kept the Frenchman quiet when he came on.

A solid performance from Liverpool's most expensive defender and hopefully he can develop a lot of confidence from the game.

Sterling Better From Deep

It has been frustrating watching the Sterling scenario in recent weeks. The 20-year-old should not have media constantly always asking him where he will be playing football next season and allow him to continue his game as he was.

The former QPR man started a deeper role behind Sturridge for this game and looked much better than he faired playing as a striker against Arsenal.

Sterling thrives when he can run at defenders, building momentum to seriously test back-lines. He did this well against Blackburn, particularly in the second-half when the game opened up and made himself a nuisance on numerous occasions.

His movement too created room for Coutinho, who was near his best once again.

Wembley Will Bring Confidence

There must be no better feeling as a footballer knowing you are to play at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final. After the reported controversy in the Liverpool dressing room following their 4-1 loss against Arsenal, the defeat of Blackburn would have brought lots of smiles to everyone's faces.

The Reds look to be out of the top-four hunt in the Premier League, however, with seven games to go there still is a decent chance if results fall their way.

Rodgers' side have a semi-final to look forward to and with nothing to lose in the last few weeks of the season, they can throw the kitchen sink at every game. This campaign hasn't been the one expected from the Merseyside club. In fact, it has been extremely disappointing.

However, an unbeaten streak until the end of the season - maybe winning every game - would bring plenty of confidence heading into next term.

Aston Villa will be a tough clash for Liverpool and a win to tie against a Premier League opposition will do them no harm at all.

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Premier League
FA Cup
Blackburn Rovers

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