Rovers pile the pressure on Hodgson
Published 05/01/2011 | 22:12
Roy Hodgson has survived many low points in his short spell as Liverpool manager but a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn would seem to be one disaster too far and could hasten his exit from Anfield.
Even before Saturday's injury-time winner against Bolton the suggestion was club owners New England Sports Ventures were actively looking for a replacement.
On this performance they will probably have to speed up that search as two goals from Benjani Mwaruwari, who had not started since November 6 and scored once in 12 previous appearances, and one from Martin Olsson condemned the Reds to a ninth Barclays Premier League defeat of the season, despite Steven Gerrard's late consolation. Gerrard also missed a penalty on another miserable night for the Reds.
Rovers looked the far more threatening side early on. After David Dunnvolleyed over from the edge of the penalty area and Mame Biram Diouf bundled an eight-yard shot straight at Jose Reina they found their shooting boots.
Defender Ryan Nelsen was given plenty of time in the centre circle to play the ball out to Diouf on the left and when he knocked it on Olsson raced past the static Glen Johnson to fire past Reina in the 32nd minute.
Five minutes later it was Sotirios Kyrgiakos' turn to be slow to react as Benjani controlled Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross on his chest and turned to lash a ferocious volley past Reina.
Hodgson's misery was complete when in the 57th minute David Hoilett went around Martin Skrtel and Johnson as if they were not there and from the byline crossed for Benjani to sidefoot home his second of the night.
Gerrard, on his 550th Liverpool appearance, fired in an 80th-minute consolation when Fernando Torres' shot was blocked but that barely raised a cheer from the travelling support.
When the captain ballooned over a penalty five minutes later, after being fouled by Michel Salgado, any hopes of an Istanbul-style fightback were dashed.