Match Summary by This Is Anfield
Those distant anxieties of relegation didn’t get any further away tonight as Blackpool completed a league double over Liverpool, sinking Kenny Dalglish’s men 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.
Dalglish, taking charge of the Reds in the league for the first time in almost 20 years, named a puzzling line-up, handing starts to Christian Poulsen and Milan Jovanovic and playing Glen Johnson at left-back.
The experiment, gamble, selection did not pay off and Liverpool looked weak and lacked the spine of the team with Steven Gerrard suspended and Jamie Carragher out injured.
Fernando Torres had looked to give the Reds the perfect start when he scored a world class strike from an acute angle inside the box to give Liverpool the lead.
But that was short-lived as woeful defending let in Gary Taylor-Fletcher to finish past Pepe Reina and equalise in just the 12th minute.
The first half was an open game, but by half-time Blackpool had had the better of it.
The hosts also started the second half much better than Liverpool, who looked uninspired, disorganised and frustrated with themselves. No fire, belief or confidence was in Dalglish’s men.
But more questionable tactics from the new Reds boss was to come, with no changes made until Jonjo Shelvey replaced Dirk Kuyt in the 76th minute.
On 69 minutes, Blackpool took the lead through a DJ Campbell header. The striker was left with far too much room in the box and he was able to comfortable direct a header past Reina to send Bloomfield Road into jubilation.
The late introduction of David N’gog for Poulsen just five minutes from time did little to push the Reds forward and Blackpool saw out the game, and the victory comfortably.
At the back Liverpool looked unorganised, clumsy and amateur. Martin Skrtel had a bad game, as did Kuyt in midfield and it was a weak performance all round.
Although Dalglish’s presence in the dug out inspires that bit of hope missing in the Hodgson days, the team selection and tactics tonight are up for debate.
Dalglish himself told press after the game that there were major flaws in the Reds’ game tonight. He said, “We have to look ourselves and find the answer to some of the goals we conceded.”
The result, from a game rescheduled from Boxing Day due to freezing conditions in the North West, leaves Liverpool 13th in the table, having lost three on the bounce, five defeats from the last six and just four points off the relegation zone.
Next up it’s Everton on Sunday at Anfield – Dalglish flag day – and perfect timing for a victory that could lift spirits and souls at the club. A bit of investment in players this transfer window would go a long way to boosting on the pitch fortunes too.
Team Line-ups & Substitutions
Blackpool: Kingson, Crainey, Eardley, Evatt, Cathcart, Vaughan, Grandin (Phillips 64), Adam, Taylor-Fletcher (Baptiste 84), Varney (Southern 83), Campbell.
Substitutes: Rachubka, Baptiste, Southern, Sylvestre, Phillips, Ormerod, Euell.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Kelly, Skrtel, Meireles, Lucas, Poulsen (Ngog 85), Torres, Jovanovic, Kuyt (Shelvey 76).
Substitutes: Gulacsi, Konchesky, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Maxi, Shelvey, Ngog.