Cisse injury sours draw
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: 30/10/04 7:12pm
A horrific injury to Liverpool's Djibril Cisse cast a shadow over an entertaining, if bad-tempered, 2-2 draw against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Cisse was stretchered off in agony with a suspected broken leg, in a game that saw both teams lead and have chances to win it.
An early goal from John Arne Riise was cancelled out by Jay Bothroyd's first for Blackburn, and Rovers took advantage of Liverpool's shock at Cisse's injury to grab the lead through the hugely impressive Brett Emerton in first half injury time.
However, a second half equaliser by Milan Baros earned a share of the points - with both goalkeeper making crucial saves to limit the scoring further.
The Reds had started confidently and should have taken the lead when Cisse put Baros through, only for the Czech star to delay and allow Brad Friedel to race out and make a crucial intervention.
But with just five minutes on the clock, Liverpool did get the opener when Blackburn's woeful defending left Riise free.
Too be fair it took a raking diagonal ball of great quality form Xabi Alonso to pick out Riise, but he then had an age to pick out a low shot across Friedel and into the back of the net.
Blackburn fans must have feared that the floodgates would open following two drubbings in heir last two games - but to their credit the players bit in and Emerton's influence shoehorned them back into the game.
Barry Ferguson released the Australian into space on the left and he picked out a perfect low centre to allow Bothroyd to side-foot home and open his account for the club.
Cisse's injury then changed the mood of the match completely - and Rovers took advantage of their shocked opponents' weak defending to take the lead.
Sami Hyypia failed to clear from the centre of the box after Paul Dickov had bullied his way through, and the ball dropped invitingly for Emerton who curled home brilliantly into the bottom corner across the helpless Chris Kirkland.
Mark Hughes must have urged his side to keep their concentration in the early staged of the second half - but a dreadful error by young full back James McEveley gave The Reds a crucial route back into the game.
The defender took a free-kick without looking and gave the ball straight to Luis Garcia.
The Spaniard picked out a fine pass to put Baros through and he made no mistake with a fine finish past Friedel.
As tackles started to fly in Tugay in particular was lucky to stay on the pitch with a succession of niggling fouls and nasty high challenges.
Kirkland had to be alert to keep out sub Jonathan Stead's rising drive and Luis Garcia denied Craig Short on the line from a corner.
The Liverpool custodian then did superbly to race out and block a close range Dickov effort , but it was by no means one way traffic.
At the other end Friedel did superbly to deny Riise a second and Harry Kewell began to exert an increasing influence in the latter stages.
But the focus will be on yet another serious injury for Liverpool at this ground.
Jamie Carragher and Baros have both suffered major injuries at Ewood Park - and it now appears Cisse has joined that unfortunate list.
Click here for player ratings
|Team Name||Blackburn Rovers||Liverpool|
|Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||6||8|
|Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||1||3|
|Total Fouls Conceded||14||12|
Barclays Premier League
|5||West Ham United||18||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||18||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||18||17|