Premiership: Blackburn Rovers V Liverpool – Wednesday, 5th January

Premier League Tips

 

Blackburn Rovers V Liverpool

Wednesday, 5th January – 20:00 (GMT)

For an in-depth preview containing valuable background information such as each team’s respective league statistics, as well as their recent form, simply click on the following link: Blackburn V Liverpool – SoccerBetting Previews

 

It’s been no secret that Roy Hodgson’s tenure as Liverpool manager is hanging by a thread, at least that is what the media are suggesting, not that we are disagreeing in any which way. So New Year’s win over Bolton Wanderers at Anfield will have come as a relief to the experienced pro, who now has another chance to save his bacon by guiding his team of underachievers to just their second win away from home this season.

Liverpool’s task on Wednesday night has been made that much easier courtesy of Blackburn’s injury woes. Steve Kean, the Rovers chief now that Sam Allardyce was ousted in December, has to pick from a depleted squad which will not include the following:

Nikola Kalinic – Suspended for another two matches yet he’s Blackburn’s top goalscorer in the league this season with four goals.

Keith Andrews, Greg Hanley, Phil Jones and Brett Emerton who would have all brought some combative qualities to the fore for Blackburn.

Jason Roberts is out injured meaning Kean has a selection of Mame Biram Diouf (3 Goals) or Benjani (1 Goal) as his one and only out-an-out striker – an uninspiring selection to say the least.

Meanwhile Paul Robinson, who has so often been the saviour for Rovers this season with some outstanding solo displays between the sticks, has been ruled out with a calf problem. So the only positive piece of news on the injury front has been the return to training of Christopher Samba, who has recovered from an ankle injury which ruled him out of all the Christmas fixtures, though there are doubts over his fitness, as well as is his commitment to the Blackburn cause, with the tall, overbearing centre-back recently confirming his desire to leave Ewood Park.

 

So, if ever a fixture was manufactured to Liverpool’s liking then it was this one. But that basically sums up how far downing the food chain the Reds have fallen in the last twelve or so months, that they now need their opponent’s to endure setbacks and face internal problems in order to even be in with a chance of recording wins on the road, with their record since the start of the 2009/2010 season (Last season) away from home appalling: 28 matches, just 3 wins. Although, somewhat ironically, all three were against teams beginning with the letter B in Burnley and Bolton, the latter twice.

On the back of their confidence boosting win over Bolton Wanderers on New Year’s Day, as well as the manner in which they clinched a perhaps job-saving win for Roy Hodgson, with the Reds waiting until stoppage-time before scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory which spelled the end for a two-match losing sequence, we really fancy Liverpool’s chance on Wednesday.

We never thought we would back Liverpool away from home ever again after their woeful effort at St James’ Park against Newcastle back in December, where they were trounced 3-1 by the Magpies. I guess we’re glutton for punishment. However, the telling factor for us was the return of Steven Gerrard, and not the one which so lifelessly announced his return to first-team action against Wolves just before the New Year but the one which decided that 2011 would be a more rousing and prosperous year for both himself and his club by producing a nostalgic display which will have had every Red supporters reminiscing of times gone by when Gerrard used to run the show for Liverpool. He’s rarely done that under Hodgson, that despite having a hand in so many of Liverpool’s goals this season.

So, with the Gerrard of old seemingly back, linking up with Torres at Anfield last time out to devastating effect, we genuinely Liverpool could start the year by quashing their away demons. Although, they will require some assistance from their talismanic forward, the one which has gone walkabouts on too many occasions this season but was back not only playing with a smile at the weekend when reunited with his pal Steven Gerrard, but also back in the goals. But the last part is hardly surprising as Torres thrives off Gerrard’s service, and it is this alone why the Spaniard has suffered such a lull in form over the past six weeks, the same period in which Gerrard was recovering from a hamstring problem.

 

With Gerrard back in the side, hopefully back to his menacing self in the Liverpool engine room, Liverpool should create plenty more chances, and the majority of those will invariable end up at Torres’ doorstep. A lot of criticism has been levelled at the Spaniard for his lack of effort and enthusiasm during his recent appearances, and we were one of those on his back only because we know he’s a player who can and should be performing to a much higher standard, but once Gerrard started making chances for him last time out, he was a different player entirely, the player we all came to know and love earlier in his Liverpool career. The player which actually gave the impression that he was interested, and that he did want to ball at every given opportunity and that his first though when he receives the ball is to look up and locate the goal. He’s a quality striker, make no mistake about that, and with his assistant back in the side, we expect ‘El Nino’ to go from strength to strength in the New Year providing both he and Gerrard avoid the treatment room.

Torres has a formidable scoring record against Blackburn Rovers, having scored five times in his last four league appearances against Rovers, although never at Ewood Park – Just one appearance at Ewood Park however. We expect that drought to come to an end, as should Liverpool’s dismal run on the road which has seen them win just once on their travels all season, and lose their last three.


Matt’s Selection(s):

Fernando Torres to Score Anytime – 2.30 Coral
Liverpool to WIN – 2.20 PaddyPower (General)

Value Punt(s):

Fernando Torres First Goalscorer – 5.50 Unibet


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