After the recent couple of games that Liverpool Football Club had, it was hard to imagine our season taking a positive turn anytime soon. Two consecutive defeats at the hands of our fellow English heavyweights meant that any chances we had of making it into the Premier League top four were sent down the drain. Not only did we lose these games, we were convincingly beaten, especially in the second game against Arsenal. The first one however did in fact manage to maintain some level of competition between the two teams thanks to the scoreline, but a loss against Manchester United at Anfield is always unacceptable. When you add to it the kind of controversy that we had in the game you can truly comprehend exactly how bad the past couple of weeks have been.
After the dust had settled on our defeat at the Emirates, optimists looked forward to the next game on our fixture list. An F.A. Cup Quarter Final Replay against Blackburn Rovers is what stared back at us. Like the last two games that we played, this one too was a must win. However, unlike the last two games that we played, this was one occasion where we actually won. A lot was riding on this game.
A Wembley date against Aston Villa was the first thing on the line, the second big motivating factor was of course Steven Gerrard for reasons that need not be stated. Unfortunately for us though, the biggest thing that we had on the line for our Blackburn game was purpose. If by any chance we were to lose, we would have been knocked out of the F.A. Cup leaving us with absolutely nothing to play for. This one point just goes on to show how bad a season we are having. Luckily for us though, things did not get any worse as we did in fact manage to grab the victory that we so desperately needed. The manner in which this victory was attained however was not something that we’d like to speak about.
Had it not been for Phillippe Coutinho, god knows how the game would have ended. His 70th minute winner bailed us out and ensured that we had a lead to protect, but in truth however, the man of the match in my book has to be Simon Mignolet. The Belgian goalkeeper had one of his best games for the Reds after keeping out a number of good efforts from the home team.
His save to stop Rovers’ Ben Marshall heading home from a corner was simply out of the top drawer. I honestly thought that we were a goal down the moment Marshall headed that delivery. His stoppage time save to keep Blackburn ‘keeper Simon Eastwood off the scoresheet was another fine display of goalkeeping. Overall, the Reds owe a lot to both Mignolet and Coutinho for ensuring that they make it to the semis and even though our critics may say that we just scraped through this one, what I say is that a win is a win and the F.A. Cup is certainly within our sights.