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Liverpool 1-2 Blackpool: Reds sink into relegation fight

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A Liverpool fan holds up a scarf in protest after their English Premier League soccer match against Blackpool at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, October 3, 2010. REUTERS/Darren Staples  (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Skrtel, Meireles, Gerrard, Cole (Maxi 88), Poulsen (Jovanovic 60), Torres (Ngog 10), Kuyt.

Substitutes: Jones, Kelly, Maxi, Lucas, Spearing, Jovanovic, Ngog.

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley (Phillips 46), Evatt, Cathcart (Keinan 20), Vaughan, Grandin (Southern 63), Adam, Taylor-Fletcher, Varney, Campbell.

Substitutes: Halstead, Keinan, Southern, Sylvestre, Phillips, Harewood, Ormerod.

Blackpool produced a stirring display as they piled the pressure on Liverpool by beating the Merseysiders at Anfield.

Charlie Adam put the visitors ahead when he drove in a penalty after Glen Johnson tripped Luke Varney.

Varney controlled a Gary Taylor-Fletcher pass and ruthlessly lashed in a shot to stun the Reds.

A powerful Sotirios Kyrgiakos header gave the home side hope and he almost levelled in injury-time but was denied by a superb Matt Gilks save.

The defeat continues Liverpool’s nightmare start to a season which has also seen them dumped out of the Carling Cup by League Two Northampton and now leaves them third from bottom of the Premier League.

However, any notion that the Reds are in a false position was for the most part dispelled, especially in the first half, by a joyful Blackpool side that blended a work-rate and commitment with some slick passing to celebrate a first win at Anfield since 1967.

There was a joie de vivre about Blackpool as they took the game to the Reds on their first Anfield appearance since January 1971 and, early on, Adam had a powerful 20-yard free-kick blocked away by keeper Pepe Reina.

Liverpool suffered a setback with star striker Fernando Torres going off after 10 minutes with an injury which, if any were needed, acted as further encouragement for the vibrant visitors.

Blackpool had an excellent chance to tale the lead when Neil Eardley curled in a teasing cross that DJ Campbell met on the half-volley but could only steer the wrong side of the far post.

Eardley cleared a Kyrgiakos header off the line at the other end but Liverpool were shocked as the visitors took the lead when Adam drove in a penalty after Johnson tripped Varney.

Liverpool tried to respond as David Ngog robbed Adam of possession and shot straight at Gilks before Johnson, attempting to atone for his error, fainted inside and sent a shot high.

But Blackpool showed their more esteemed opponents the required cutting edge and guile to score a goal as Taylor-Fletcher dinked a ball into the diagonal run of Varney, who controlled with the outside of of his boot before lashing in a 12-yard shot.

Anfield was stunned and the ecstasy of the Blackpool fans was in contrast to the despair of the home supporters, who booed their side off at the break.

Whatever Reds boss Roy Hodgson said at half-time had the desired impact as his side belatedly raised themselves into action and almost pulled one back when Ngog met a Dirk Kuyt cross but nodded wide.

However, Kyrgiakos made no mistake as he powered in a header from a Steven Gerrard free-kick.

The Reds were now a different side and, as they strived forward, Joe Cole looked set to equalise when he was clean through only for his angled shot to roll agonisingly wide of the far post.

Blackpool were pinned back but, when they did threaten on the counter-attack, Johnson crucially intercepted a Varney pull-back from the byeline.

Liverpool’s attacks petered out as Blackpool stood firm and it was only an excellent injury-time save by Gilks from a Kyrgiakos header which secured the three points and moved them up to ninth.

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