Blackburn 2-3 Liverpool
Premier League; Tuesday 10th April 2012
Andy Carroll’s 90th minute header gave Liverpool an incredible win in one of the most dramatic games of the season after goalkeeper Alexander Doni – standing in for the suspended Pepe Reina – was dismissed with the Reds already 2-0 up on 26 minutes.
With Doni sent off, third-choice keeper Brad Jones came on to make his Premier League debut for the club, and duly saved Yakubu’s penalty with his first touch.
Yakubu then headed in on 36 minutes after some poor marking from Liverpool from a free-kick.
Jones then failed to clear a clearance quick enough and Yakubu closed him down to block the kick, the ball going back over the keeper’s head, Jones stumbled the catch, pulled down Yakabu to give away another penalty but was thankfully spared another red card. Yakubu dispatched the spot kick this time to make it 2-2.
Then in the final minute, having played most of the game with ten men, Liverpool got a winner in incredible fashion. Sebastien Coates lumped the ball back into the box after it was cleared from a corner, Daniel Agger expertly headed it across for Carroll who headed powerfully past Paul Robinson.
It was breathtaking stuff from a Liverpool side who had gone into a 2-0 lead courtesy of Maxi Rodriguez’s two goals inside the first 16 minutes.
With Suarez, Gerrard, Enrique and Carragher all missing ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal with Everton, it was the likes of Carroll, Jonjo Shelvey, Skrtel and Agger who showed their fighting spirit.
Shelvey in particular was impressive, before the sending off he was linking up well with Maxi and Carroll and afterwards worked hard and showed great energy in midfield.
Maxi meanwhile continued his impressive goalscoring form when given a chance.
It was a nightmare night though for young full-back John Flanagan, who was booked early on, almost sent off for a second yellow, then whose short back-pass put Doni under pressure for his dismissal and resulting penalty.
A huge victory and confidence boost ahead of Saturday.
Doni’s dismissal means he too will now miss the semi-final, meaning Brad Jones will start. Jones has had personal tragedy over the past year after his son, Luca, passed away with leukaemia. His inclusion caps an incredible week for him after his wife gave birth to a son this week.
Liverpool: Doni, Flanagan (Jones 26), Skrtel, Coates, Johnson (Agger 53), Spearing, Henderson, Shelvey, Maxi (Enrique 77), Carroll, Bellamy.
Subs not used: Aurelio, Carragher, Kuyt, Suarez.