Belfast Telegraph

Jordan Henderson believes replay win will rekindle Euro bid for Liverpool

By Robert Jones

Jordan Henderson insists Liverpool's 1-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory at Blackburn will give his team-mates a much-needed lift heading into the Barclays Premier League run-in.

The Reds settled the replay through Philippe Coutinho's 70th-minute strike and will now play Aston Villa in a Wembley semi-final on April 19.

Liverpool's charge towards the Champions League places has been curtailed by defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal but midfielder Henderson feels the Ewood Park result will help get things back on track.

"It was a really important game for us," he said. "I think everybody has been disappointed over the last couple of weeks with performances and results.

"But I think we showed great character. We knew when we came here they'd make it difficult for us but from start to finish we controlled the game, I thought we were brilliant.

"Towards the end when we'd gone 1-0 up they were chucking everything at us but we defended fantastically.

"Credit to the lads really and we'll go to Wembley against Villa and I'm sure it will be a tough game because they're a good side.

"But it gives everyone a lift."

Brazilian playmaker Coutinho drilled home Liverpool's winner after a swift interchange with Henderson and the latter hailed a "little bit of brilliance" from the man signed from Inter Milan two years ago.

He added: "Philippe's got a great football brain and the easy bit was just giving him it and he finished it fantastically well.

"That little bit of brilliance from him wins us the game and gives everyone a big lift.

"Hopefully now we can kick on over our last seven games in the Premier League and in the semi-final."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: "Over the two games it was a difficult tie.

"They are strong and well organised. We knew it would be difficult. But my players were brilliant. We created chances."

On the goal, the Ulsterman added: "Philippe is wonderful at that. He sucks defenders in. Great technique. Great goal to win the game."

Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet commented: "Blackburn had big strikers and were always going to play long balls into the box.

"But we defended well and as a keeper you have to sometimes be there to help the team.

"I'm very pleased - the main thing was to get the victory, to get through, and we've done that. We had to bounce back.

"Everybody worked really hard, put in a shift and did the gaffer proud."

Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer said: "You always want to win games and I have nothing but praise and pride after that display.

"We had numerous opportunities, and in the second half we started ever so well.

"We feel we should have had a penalty, with the ball hitting Joe Allen's arm in the area. Our lads gave it a right good go, they had a taste for it and it was a great atmosphere created in the stadium tonight."

FA Cup semi-finals: Saturday, April 18: Reading v Arsenal (5.20pm)

Sunday, April 19: Aston Villa v Liverpool (3pm).

Belfast Telegraph


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