Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains upbeat about his side’s FA Cup chances despite being taken to a quarter-final replay at Ewood Park.
Blackburn followed fellow Championship sides Middlesbrough and Bolton in avoiding defeat in 90 minutes at Anfield in a largely uneventful goalless draw and succeeded in taking their opponents back to Lancashire where they have already defeated Premier League clubs Swansea and Stoke.
Rodgers admits his side were below par but they are still in the competition and a Wembley semi-final remains within their grasp when they head back to Ewood, likely to be on either April 7 or 8.
“The objective in this game was to make sure we were in the hat for the semi-final. We didn’t quite win it but we are still in there,” he said. “Blackburn put in a great effort. You have to respect the opponent as well.
“The Championship teams when they come here we have never won in 90 minutes, with Middlesbrough and also Bolton or Blackburn.
“I am not overly disappointed. Of course we wanted to get through but we kept a clean sheet against a dangerous team, especially from set-pieces and long balls into the box.
“In the main we defended it well. We are still there to reach the semi-finals.
“We have to go to Blackburn and win but we are certainly capable of that.”
Blackburn created probably the better chances, with Alex Baptiste’s header tipped away by Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet just after half-time the closest they came.
Liverpool hit the post with Kolo Toure’s close-range header but also had a couple of penalty appeals turned down, one for a foul on Adam Lallana and also when substitute Mario Balotelli appeared to have his shirt pulled.
“I definitely thought we should have had one penalty. Adam Lallana got his body between the man and the ball and as he went to shoot he was knocked over,” said Rodgers. “I thought that was a clear penalty. The others were debatable.
“We probably needed that bit of luck to get the game opened up.”
Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer felt his side were well worth a replay at the very least. “Full credit to the players, they were magnificent and restored a bit more pride,” he said.
“Craig Conway had a fantastic chance and Alex Baptiste’s header brought a fantastic save from Mignolet.
“Aerially we were very dominant and had a couple of opportunities.”