Press Association match report
Martin Dahlin came off the substitutes' bench to maintain Rovers' unbeaten start to the season after Liverpool wonderkid Michael Owen's had threatened to put the Merseysiders on the victory trail at Ewood Park.
Owen, the 17-year-old striker given an extended run in the team because of Robbie Fowler's knee injury, scored a brilliantly executed opportunist strike seven minutes into the second half to give Roy Evans' men a scent of their first win of the season.
But Swedish international Dahlin, the £2 million summer arrival from Hamburg, came on as a 68th-minute substitute and grabbed an equaliser with an equally expert piece of precision seven minutes from time. It was a fair outcome to a pulsating Lancashire derby, although Rovers will probably claim they deserved the full spoils for a first-half performance that had the visitors hanging on grimly.
Blackburn looked every inch a team leading the Premiership as they tore into the heart of the Liverpool defence immediately, forcing four corners in the first three minutes and 10 by half-time. Patrick Valery smashed an early shot over and then Garry Flitcroft muscled his way beyond Mark Wright and hooked over a cross that Bjorn Kvarme desperately hacked against the legs of team-mate Rob Jones and was relieved to see the ball drop over the crossbar.
Liverpool, with Paul Ince working desperately to stem the tide, should have gone ahead though when Colin Hendry misjudged the bounce of the ball and Karlheinz Riedle raced clear only to see John Filan get the slightest of fingertips to his low shot to thwart him.
For a spell the Reds seemed to be getting their passing game into gear, but they were still being troubled by the more direct approach of Blackburn and the strength and speed of Chris Sutton and Jason Wilcox was a constant concern. Sutton turned inside neatly to force James to his knees to keep out a curling 20-yarder. And when the Liverpool keeper punched weakly at a Stuart Ripley corner he was fortunate to see Steve Mcmanaman head the ball off the line when Jason Wilcox's 18-yard drive took a wicked deflection off Kvarme.
Liverpool finally broke the stranglehold when Jones crossed from the right and McManaman crept around the back only to plant his far-post header wide. Then Owen broke the home side's offside trap but was beaten to Thomas' pass by Filan who raced from his goal to hack into the crowd.
And they enjoyed their best spell of the opening period when Henchoz went off for treatment to a facial wound and boss Hodgson waited 10 minutes before deciding to replace the Swiss defender with Ian Pearce. Rovers almost paid the price for playing the waiting game when Liverpool produced a superb move that was worthy of a goal. Thomas, Riedle and Owen linked down the middle and when the ball was swept out to Jones on the right he delivered an instant cross that was met by an emphatic header by Riedle, the German watching with disbelief as the ball beat Filan only to clatter the crossbar. Thomas then had a shot hacked off the line by Gallacher and Owen was just too high with a bicycle kick borne from pure instinct.
But if Liverpool thought that the Blackburn storm had blown itself out completely they were wrong and Pearce strode forward to crash in a rising angled drive that was turned behind by James. But the visitors went ahead on 52 minutes thanks to another piece of stunning finishing from Owen. He charged down Jason Wilcox's pass inside his own half and then showed a startling turn of speed to burn through the centre, holding off Valery before drilling a low shot under Filan for his second goal in the first three games and third in four starts.
McManaman should have made it 2-0 only to fire straight at the grounded Filan when he beat the offside trap - and Liverpool were made to pay when Dahlin's introduction sparked a Blackburn rally that brought a deserved share of the spoils.
The Swedish striker, still waiting for his full debut, was thrown into the fray with 23 minutes remaining for Wilcox. And with three strikers to deal with, Liverpool's defence soon began to bend before buckling completely seven minutes from time. Fellow substitute Lars Bohinen brought a quite stunning save from James, and the Liverpool keeper excelled again when he blocked out Dahlin. But the breakthrough came when Dahlin swapped passes with Bohinen - the ball taking a slight deflection off Wright - and the Swede buried his shot beyond James.
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