Seasiders leapfrog illustrious opponents in Premier League
The win sees Blackpool leap ahead of Liverpool in the league and it was no more than they deserved after playing some impressive passing football in a compelling clash.
Fernando Torres looked to have capitalised on the buoyant mood around Merseyside that Dalglish’s installation as manager has initiated by rifling home an excellent strike in the second minute.
However, a quick equaliser from Gary Taylor-Fletcher following a Torres mistake leveled matters and after DJ Campbell nodded home unchallenged late on, the hosts held on to register a fine win that further cements the burgeoning reputation of boss Ian Holloway.
The game burst into life in the second minute when Martin Kelly’s through ball saw a smart Torres run beat the offside trap. The Spaniard turned back the clocks and when closing down on Richard Kingson from a narrow angle, emphatically rifling the ball into the roof of the net at the near post.
The visitors were visibly buoyed by their flyer from the blocks and continued to push with Glen Johnson, starting at left-back, marauding down the flank. However, his inviting low cross across the box was not capitalised by the Liverpool forwards, who failed to match Johnson’s pace on the counter attack.
Torres quickly turned from hero to villain moments later. The goalscorer sloppily gave the ball away on the halfway line and when it cleared to Taylor-Fletcher, his fortunate ricochet off Daniel Agger saw him clean through on goal. With only Reina to beat, the winger side-footed home an assured finish.
The game swung from end to end in a tumultuous fashion and Campbell should definitely have done better when the ball pin-balled around the visitor’s box and fell to the in-form forward. Though, unmarked, he could only send his header from just outside the six-yard box frustratingly wide of Reina’s upright.
Torres began to look dangerous again midway through the first half and his delightful ball into the box looked to be on a sixpence for Milan Jovanovic. However, he mistimed his jump and inadvertently made contact with the ball with his arm. A vehement cry from fans and defenders alike saw the Serb perhaps unjustly booked for deliberate handball.
Liverpool continued to be prone to individual errors on the ball, with this time Reina the offender. His bungled pass out went straight into the path Campbell out on the right touchline. The home fans bristled with excitement as Campbell quickly attempted a lob, but it dropped just shy of the goal, leaving Reina to clear up the mess with relative ease.
Both teams looked more comfortable going forward, yet lacked the cutting edge to create many clear-cut chances. A great piece of Torres skill out of the byline saw him beat his man and sumptuously feed through Kuyt, but orange shirts crowded out the Dutchman.
In the closing moments of the first half Lucas, very hopefully, appealed for a penalty. Or a goal, depending on the Brazilian’s unclear interpretation of the incident. His near-post flick from a corner was saved in an unorthodox manner by Kingson, who opted to pull his hands out of the way and take the ball on the chest before clearing.
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With the players seemingly well rested, the second half began in a manner not too dissimilar from the first. Quality possession on the ball was at a premium as the ball rapidly changed hands whilst flying end to end.
The Liverpool defence soon invoked the fury of Reina, when sustained pressure from the hosts saw two promising attacks down the left side wastefully come to little fruition. Blackpool were certainly rattling cages with their high tempo approach and their swift counter-attacking worked as the best way to expose the evident frailties of the Liverpool back four.
Taking impetus from their waves of attack, Blackpool continued to crank up the pressure as Liverpool failed to respond. Reina was forced into two smart saves in quick succession, first from Campbell then more notably from Luke Varney, whose half-volley drew a fantastic reaction save from the keeper.
In their first chance of the half, a deep ball from Kuyt into the far post area finds Torres completely unmarked. Yet, perhaps trying to recapture the splendour of his first-half finish, he lashed a wild volley both high and wide of the hosts' goal.
With the game on a knife-edge both teams looked potent going forward, although probably more due to haphazard defending than innovative attacking. When a long hopeful ball into the box was well put back into the danger area by Ian Evatt and Campbell duly obliged by powering home a header which more than made up for his earlier effort.
With Liverpool struggling to respond to the blow, Blackpool clearly smelt blood and refused to rest on their advantage. With Charlie Adam pulling the strings, a series of delightful passes culminated in an outrageous effort from inside his own half, which caught Reina out cold, but bounced just fractions wide of the goal.
As the clock ticked down, Liverpool failed to respond to the energy shown by the Seasiders and with a lack of ideas and confidence abundant in the closing minutes from the visitors, Blackpool comfortably held on to take all three points.