Liverpool must respond to pressure United

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez

Liverpool will have no time time to dwell on what happened at Anfield last night as they host Blackburn in the early kick-off on Saturday.

Despite taking an early lead against Chelsea through Fernando Torres, the Reds were made to pay for questionable defending from two corner kicks as Branislav Ivanovic was allowed to nod home freely on two occasions, once in each half, to make it 2-1.

And Didier Drogba then stabbed home Florent Malouda’s low first-time cross put the Blues 3-1 up and seal an away side’s first victory at Anfield this season.

One can’t help but feel that the semi-finals are now beyond Liverpool as they know that they must go to Stamford Bridge get a huge result. A glimmer of hope for the Reds is that they may be able to exploit skipper John Terry’s absence from the tie following his booking last night.

But now, Liverpool must concentrate on Blackburn. Once again, a win would put them two points clear at the top, and once again it would put the pressure on Manchester United, who play away at Sunderland immediately after the Anfield encounter.

Manchester United’s once watertight, record-breaking defence have conceded ten goals in their last four games and United fans know that they are not playing anywhere at their attacking best. Injuries and suspensions have meant that both centre backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have missed crucial games.

Liverpool’s opponents Blackburn came from behind to beat Tottenham last week, as centre-back Christopher Samba was switched to striker at half time and cause havoc amongst the Spurs defence.

Before yesterday’s defeat, Liverpool had won five games on the trot and Rafa Benitez will be keen to get back to winning ways after last night.

Manchester United’s recent Premier League form is not particularly impressive – with two losses and one slim victory from their last three, it’s hardly title-winning form from the Red Devils.

And if either or both of United and Liverpool were to slip up this weekend, Chelsea, who host Bolton at Stamford Bridge, will be looking to build on yesterday’s win and possibly close the gap between themselves and the top two.

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