Blackburn 0-1 Liverpool
FA Cup – Ewood Park – Wednesday, 8th April 2015
Goals: Coutinho (70)
Glen Johnson, Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge came into the team in place of Emre Can, Kolo Toure and Lazar Markovic. The former was suspended, while the latter duo were dropped. The 3-4-3 formation was ditched in place of 4-1-4-1.
Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling saw early efforts drift wide, while Mamadou Sakho was fortunate not to be punished after pondering on the ball in his own area.
Sakho left the pitch with a hamstring injury midway through the first-half, with Toure coming on in place of the Frenchman.
Coutinho almost squeezed a shot past Simon Eastwood, but the Blackburn goalkeeper managed to tip the effort wide of the post.
Glen Johnson poked a tame effort straight at Eastwood just before half-time, but at the interval it was goalless. Despite not creating much, Rodgers’ side had completely bossed proceedings.
Simon Mignolet made a fine save to deny Tom Cairney seconds after the restart, and the Belgian then made an even better stop from Ben Marshall’s header from the resulting corner. The hosts started the half strongly.
The game was still finely poised with a quarter of the game remaining, and there seemed to be an increasing amount of apprehension among the travelling Liverpool fans.
With 20 minutes remaining Liverpool were 1-0 up though. Coutinho linked up expertly with Henderson down the right, and the Brazilian rifled a superb finish in off the post from a tight angle. That apprehension was now a distant memory.
Sturridge, rusty all evening, missed a glorious opportunity to double his side’s lead, while the 25-year-old’s late replacement Rickie Lambert headed wide seconds after coming on.
Unbelievably, goalkeeper Eastwood almost equalised in the dying seconds, but he shot straight at Mignolet. It was the final moment of note in the game, and Coutinho’s clinical strike was enough to see Liverpool seal a trip to Wembley in 11 days time. Tim Sherwood’s Villa await.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Lovren, Sakho (Toure ’27), Moreno, Lucas, Allen, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Sturridge (Lambert ’85).
Subs not used: Jones, Manquillo, Borini, Brannagan, Markovic.
Blackburn starting XI: Eastwood, Henley, Baptiste, Kilgallon, Olsson, Conway, Williamson, Evans, Marshall, Cairney, Rhodes.
Referee: Kevin Friend