Belfast Telegraph

Gerrard returns to same old story at Liverpool

Liverpool 1 Blackburn 1

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish welcomed back Steven Gerrard from injury but was left ruing more missed chances and dropped points.

The England international made his first appearance for two months after an ankle infection as a second half substitute but could not inspire his side to find a winner.

A sixth draw in nine home appearances this season against a team bottom of the table dented the Reds' hopes of making up ground on the top four as they failed to take advantage of Chelsea being held earlier in the day.

Having fallen behind to Charlie Adam's own goal on the stroke of half-time Liverpool had only Maxi Rodriguez's close range header to show for dominating the entire game without seriously testing goalkeeper Mark Bunn, deputising for the injured Paul Robinson.

But Gerrard's comeback was the one major positive from another frustrating afternoon.

“He has done really well in training. He looks really fit but needs some time on the pitch now to get him back to full fitness,” said Dalglish.

“The difficulty was who to take off because it wasn't as if we were playing poorly.

“Usually if there is a bit of a struggle you can see you have two or three options but there wasn't anyone who deserved to come off.

“But we had to do something to try to win the game. I made two substitutions — Steven and Craig Bellamy to try to win it — and with a bit of good fortune we probably would have.”

Liverpool did not really come alive until after their equaliser but did enough in the final half hour — and even in the final seconds — to have come away with three points.

Andy Carroll, on his first start in four matches, was denied by Bunn, deputising for the injured Paul Robinson, while Daniel Agger had a header cleared off the line with the final kick of the match from 17-year-old Adam Henley, on his first senior start.

“We did more than enough to win, created more than enough chances to win the game,” added Dalglish. “The performance could have been a touch better but I have no complaints.

“Once again we have not converted a good enough ratio of chances we have made and the goalkeeper made a fantastic save at the end.

“It could have been a push on Daniel Agger (before Carroll's shot) but the goalkeeper makes a fantastic save and then it comes in (from the corner) and someone kicks it off the line.”

Rovers boss Steve Kean, who fielded five players who featured in last season's reserves cup final, was delighted with his side's performance.

“I enjoyed it. We were disappointed in the way we started the second half but in the first half we got our defensive organisation sorted,” he said.

“We have worked on that and full credit to the lads. “We dug in and managed to get something from the game.”

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