Liverpool created some distance between themselves and bottom two Wolves and West Ham with a nervous 2-1 victory over Blackburn at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Roy Hodgson brought back the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres – rested for Thursday’s goalless draw with Napoli in the Europa League.
The Reds’ performance was much more positive than performances of late, with aggression and an appetite for goal.
After a frustrating first half in which Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson kept out a number of chances from Torres, Raul Meireles and Joe Cole, Sotirios Kyrgiakos gave the Reds the lead just a few minutes into the second half.
The Greek international defender was left unmarked by Blackburn’s usually aggressive defence to power a bullet header on goal.
But the Reds’ lead was short-lived when former Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf’s shot was cleared off the line by Martin Skrtel, but only straight into the back of Jamie Carragher. Another own goal for the Reds vice-captain.
Liverpool’s response was instant, much to the relief of the Anfield faithful and an animated Hodgson. Cole’s cross was flicked on well by Kyrgiakos and Torres finished with the natural striker’s finish we’ve been looking for all season.
After weathering a late Blackburn wave of attacks in a less than composed way, the Reds held on for the victory.
It was a much improved performance from Liverpool, their second league victory of the season. Although Liverpool still sit in the relegation zone – 18th in the league, they’re now three points ahead of 19th place Wolves and three points off 7th placed Sunderland.
Up next is Bolton Wanderers away next Sunday, another must-win game as the Reds look to move away from the relegation zone.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Konchesky, Lucas, Meireles (Shelvey 89), Maxi, Gerrard, Cole (N’gog 78), Torres.
Subs not used: Jones, Jovanovic, Babel, Poulsen, Kelly.
Blackburn: Robinson, Salgado, Jones, Givet, Olsson, Emerton, Nzonzi (Grella 33), Pedersen, El-Hadji Diouf, Dunn (Hoilett 67), Kalinic (Benjani 46).
Subs not used: Bunn, Mwaruwari, Morris, Chimbonda, Mame Diouf.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)