FA Cup Quarter-Final Preview: Liverpool vs Blackburn Rovers

FA Cup Quarter-Final Preview: Liverpool vs Blackburn Rovers

After recording a comfortable 2-0 win over Burnley in the Premier League, Liverpool turn their attentions to the FA Cup where they host Blackburn Rovers in the quarter-finals with a trip to Wembley the reward.

Having won eight of their last ten games in all competitions, Brendan Rodgers’ side will be confident of stretching their winning run of four straight wins at the expense of the Championship side who have the same number of league wins since December.

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Liverpool have seen off Wimbledon, Bolton and Crystal Palace so far while Blackburn have defeated two Premier League teams, Swansea 3-1 and Stoke 4-1, though the two matches had a combined three reds cards for their opponents which proved vital.

Gary Bowyer’s men won 2-1 at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday last time around and having rested several key players, they will be looking to force a replay akin to what fellow Championship side Bolton did at Anfield in the 4th Round. A first away win at Liverpool for more than 15 years looks unlikely however, as Blackburn have lost seven and drawn four since they prevailed in the FA Cup match back in January 2000.

Team News

Liverpool: Both Steven Gerrard and Mamadou Sakho will face late fitness tests before the game while Lucas Leiva and Jordan Ibe are definitely sidelined, though the youngster is already cup-tied.

Blackburn Rovers: Bowyer doesn’t have too many injury concerns as the hat-trick hero against Stoke City Joshua King is a doubt while Jason Lowe is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury.

Last Five Meetings

10 Apr 2012 Blackburn Rovers       2 – 3          Liverpool                       Premier League
26 Dec 2011 Liverpool                       1 – 1          Blackburn Rovers        Premier League
05 Jan 2011 Blackburn Rovers       3 – 1          Liverpool                       Premier League
24 Oct 2010 Liverpool                       2 – 1          Blackburn Rovers       Premier League
28 Feb 2010 Liverpool                      2 – 1           Blackburn Rovers       Premier League

Probable Line-Ups

Liverpool: 3-4-2-1: Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Lovren; Markovic, Henderson, Allen, Moreno; Lallana, Coutinho; Sturridge

Blackburn Rovers: 4-4-2: Steele; Henly, Hanley, Kilgallon, Olsson; Cairney, Evans, Williamson, Conway; Gestede, Rhodes

Interesting Stats

  • Liverpool have gone 12 games undefeated in the Premier League.
  • Liverpool have scored at least 2 goals in each of their last 7 home matches in the Premier League.
  • Liverpool have won three of their last four FA Cup matches 2-1.
  • Liverpool have won their last five home games in all competitions.
  • In their last five meetings, both Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers have found the net.
  • Blackburn have lost just once in their last 7 games in all competitions.
  • Blackburn have won just 2 of their last 12 away games in all competitions.
  • Blackburn have defeated both Swansea and Stoke in earlier rounds having gone a goal behind.
  • Blackburn have won just twice in their last 23 matches against Liverpool in all competitions.
  • Blackburn have lost in 4 of their last 5 trips to Anfield.
  • Blackburn win 29.7 aerial duels per game in the Championship, more than even Stoke’s league high 25.7.

Key Men

Liverpool: Daniel Sturridge 

Daniel Sturridge went through a lean patch of late and even though he missed a couple of good chances against Burnley, he scored a beautiful header and the signs are there that he is slowly but surely returning back to his high standards.

The England international has scored 10 goals in his last 12 FA Cup starts, and Blackburn’s visit will represent the perfect chance to add to his tally whilst improving on his finishing. The fact that he is getting on the end of chances proves that his runs are well-timed and that the goals will flow sooner rather than later. Sturridge is yet to complete 90 minutes in the league since returning though, and regaining his match fitness is of paramount importance at present, something which his manager acknowledges.

Blackburn Rovers: Rudy Gestede

With 15 goals so far in all competitions, Gestede is Blackburn’s top scorer so far this season. He is a giant of a striker, standing 193 cms tall which enables him to win 9.6 aerial duels per game making him a real threat from set-pieces and crosses. If Sakho doesn’t start, Blackburn can exploit Liverpool at the back with the pair of Gestede and Rhodes. 3.3 shots per game make the Frenchman dangerous as he is confident about his abilities.

He has already scored against Swansea and Stoke City in earlier rounds of the FA Cup and it will be a remarkable feat if he adds the cap of Liverpool on Sunday.

Prediction

It is difficult to see anything but a comfortable Liverpool win with the form the home side are in. Blackburn can cause major problems through set-pieces, but Liverpool’s defence has become sturdier over recent weeks and their attacking qualities should prevail in yet another home win. A 3-0 win for Liverpool is available at the odds of 13/2 on William Hill.