There is a desperation about Liverpool at present that was hardly allayed by this result, although, for one of their number, some relief was to be had in stalemate. Craig Bellamy has been an exasperated blur of late, working himself up into a frenzy of frustration at his inability to make his mark at the club he had craved to represent for so long. The Merseysiders may labour eight points from the top today but at least their Welsh striker has broken his Premiership duck.
Bellamy's second-half goal, a header from an unmarked position at the far post as Fabio Aurelio's corner eluded Blackburn Rovers' stoic rearguard, went some way towards lancing the discontent swelling on Saturday even if no one, least of all the goalscorer, departed entirely reassured. "My performance wasn't anywhere near the level I want it to be," admitted the stand-in Wales captain. "It's probably all down to me, really. You're desperate to do well so you probably try too hard. Not getting a goal early on in my career here weighed a bit heavy on me."
The hope for Liverpool is that, with the burden shed, the 27-year-old will spark a season which has started so sluggishly that, already, the title appears to be slipping beyond reach. Bellamy has not been short of energy since his £6m arrival from Rovers in the summer, and scored on his senior debut in qualification for the Champions League, but his flicks and spins into space have simply not been paying off, chipping away at brittle confidence. This was another erratic performance but, in squeezing space in the cluttered six-yard box just after the hour mark, he did at least salvage a point from a lacklustre team display.
It took the striker a week longer to open his league account for Blackburn last season, his first Premiership goal coming in a victory over Birmingham on October 22. "No one cared then, but you would have known if I'd gone to November without scoring for Liverpool," he said. "You'd be reading about it, hearing about it - this is a completely different kind of club and you have to deal with that pressure, otherwise you wouldn't be here long.
"It had started to affect me and I was disappointed in myself. You want one or two goals to give you a bit of breathing space. I've missed a few chances and that can take over because nobody talks about performances, they only talk about goals. I've tried too hard because I'm desperate to do well here."
These are trying times for Liverpool, stripped of Mohamed Sissoko's bite in midfield and now surrendering points at home as well as away. Blackburn were the better side, admirably rugged and disciplined, with the excellent Benni McCarthy and Shabani Nonda, invariably supplied by the pesky David Bentley, making a mockery of the hosts' attempts at defence. Rovers' inability to prise a win from their first four league games had prompted panic, although Mark Hughes pointed out that this is their best start to a Premiership campaign since 1997.
A torrid opening aside, they emerged as the first half's dominant force and claimed the lead when Bentley's cross looped through and beyond Jamie Carragher and Steve Finnan for McCarthy, ignored, to side-foot his sixth goal of the season into the gaping net. Nonda might have extended that lead after yet more shoddy defending and Rovers, although thrust back by Liverpool's second-half revival, should have emerged with a first league win here in 13 years, only for José Reina to block Bentley's close-range attempt seven minutes from time.
There is a slickness to Blackburn these days which suggests they will flourish. "We were really brave and caught Liverpool unawares," added Hughes, whose £2.5m purchase of McCarthy, so long linked with a move to England from Porto, already appears inspired. "Benni understands it's a different game over here and he's bought into our work ethic. He understands you have to chase lost causes." Liverpool's pursuit of the championship may prove just as forlorn for another year.
Man of the match Zurab Khizanishvili (Blackburn Rovers)
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