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Dalglish wide-boys narrowing the gap

A touch of Kenny Dalglish canniness helped to overturn his old mates from Liverpool.

Three Premiership points keep Blackburn in touch with the top of the table as well as a step closer to European football next season.

With Blackburn's England quartet all showing fine form and Manchester United losing it seemed that Ewood Park was surrounded by happiness on a cold, bright day.

Easter and the April 2 visit of United cannot come quickly enough for Blackburn.

Dalglish said his tactics had been forced on him because of injury. But the decision to take on the Liverpool defenders with two wide men, Stuart Ripley and Jason Wilcox, leaving Alan Shearer to prowl alone in the middle, paid the ultimate dividend in the 17th minute.

Direction

Liverpool left-back Julian Dicks was out of position as Blackburn goalkeeper Tim Flowers bowled a short clearance to the Norwegian Henning Berg. He lobbed the ball forward over Ronnie Whelan who was covering for Dicks and into the path of Ripley. This boy is greyhound fast and he was away, crossing swift and low for Wilcox to arrive at the far post to score with Liverpool wondering where he had sprung from.

An injury to centre-half Kevin Moran meant a major reshuffle and a change of direction but the damage to Liverpool had been done.

Dalglish was delighted. He said: "For any club that beats Liverpool it is a tremendous achievement. We are gratified that we got something out of the game. We were fortunate to win 2-0. Perhaps they might feel they should have had something out of the game. Any problem to do with our performance was mainly to do with me having to ask them to play a different way because of the personnel available. The players deserve the credit. All we can do is be in a position to take maximum benefit if somebody else slips up."

Under new manager Roy Evans' desire to go back to the old Anfield ways there was plenty of hard work and honesty from the men in red. As Evans said: "If you miss chances and defend poorly you can't expect to get anything. Blackburn are a big threat to Manchester United. And as they get closer the more they will put pressure on United."

All Liverpool lacked was a taker of chances. John Barnes missed the target when Steve McManaman put him in at the far post. Then McManaman headed over, while Flowers produced a splendid save when he stopped a dipping shot from Nigel Clough.

There was imagination, too, as Liverpool began to improvise promisingly in the second half. They should have equalised after 61 minutes when Jamie Redknapp met Rob Jones' cross unhindered but put his header straight at Flowers.

It was the reminder Blackburn needed. Four minutes later they swept out of their own half. Liverpool were struggling to get back as Wilcox came inside, cut out Shearer and found Tim Sherwood who scored with a low right-footer.

Copyright - The Daily Express

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