David McDonnell's Big Match Verdict: Entertainment aplenty for watching Venky's chiefs, but drop still looms for Rovers
There was no danger of Blackburn owners Venky’s leaving at half-time last night, as they did the last time they came to watch their team.
On that occasion, a 3-3 draw at Wigan last November, the abuse directed at Blackburn’s Indian owners had shocked them to the extent they did not emerge for the second-half.
But at Ewood Park last night, the unrelenting drama meant leaving early was not an option for anyone, although there was a sting in the pony-tail for Blackburn, courtesy of Andy Carroll’s stoppage-time winner.
It remains to be seen what effect conceding such a demoralising late goal has on Blackburn in their ongoing battle for survival, but Steve Kean’s side surely have little chance of staying up if they continue to defend so ineptly.
For more than an hour they played against 10 men, but there defensive shortcomings were such that Steve Kean’s side had nothing to show for their efforts, despite having hauled themselves level from 2-0 down.
It was a sucker punch to lose a game so late on in the manner Blackburn did, their calamitous early defending ensuring another testing night in what has been a torturous season for everyone at the club.
Kean had called for a quick, focused start against Liverpool, yet the familiar depressing tone of the night was set for the home fans in the 13th minute with the concession of Liverpool’s opening goal.
Dismay at that goal turned into outright mutiny from the home fans three minutes later when Maxi Rodriguez claimed his second goal of the night and looked to have ended the game as a contest.
Sustained jeers and boos cascaded down from behind the Blackburn goal, the Kean-out brigade venting their fury after being sated by the two wins that had looked to have hauled Rovers clear of danger.
But Blackburn were handed a lifeline when Liverpool keeper Alexander Doni was sent off in the 24th minute for bringing down Junior Hoilett. Yet Yakubu’s lame penalty was gathered easily by substitute keeper Brad Jones.
Yakubu atoned for his penalty miss in the 35th minute by scoring with a header from David Dunn’s free-kick, and then converting from the spot in the 61st minute after Jones had shoved him over.
But the comeback ultimately counted for nothing when Rovers failed to clear a Liverpool corner in the first minute of added time and paid the price when Carroll headed in from Daniel Agger’s flick-on.
Venky’s sacked Sam Allardyce because they wanted to see more entertaining football played by Blackburn, rather than the perceived prosaic game under Kean’s predecessor. Last night their wishes were granted.
Drama? Yes. Entertainment? Yes. Premier League football at Blackburn next season? On the evidence of this kamikaze display, you would have to say probably not.