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Nic Ladds 10th Apr 2009 - 13:43

Big Sam to attempt to bore Liverpool into submission

Two questions hang over Liverpool's chances of justifying odds of 1/3 to beat Blackburn, can they shake off the beating by Chelsea and is Steven Gerrard fit?

Gerrard is an absolutely integral part of the Liverpool setup and without him, you may even get people starting to think they 9/1 about Blackburn is worth a bet, while the draw at odds of 18/5 is bound to have its supporters anyway.

The shock turnaround on Wednesday night against Chelsea is bound to be at the forefront of Liverpool players.

How static their defence was at defending set-plays, and how easily Chelsea sliced them open time and time again.

While Blackburn are not nearly the team Chelsea are, they could pose the home side some problems.

They have somehow managed to grind out 11 points out of the last 18 although how is quite beyond us as they should have lost by a cricket score against Tottenham but somehow ran out 2-1 winners.

This could be the boost they need to get away from relegation troubles, and they are as big as 28/1 for a repeat of the score line against Spurs, while a 1-0 win is 12/1.

Blackburn are likely to be setup extremely defensively which suggests a low scoring game, and it could take Liverpool sometime to break them down.

Scores like 1-0 to The Reds at 11/2 or 2-0 at odds of 5/1 are favoured, while a 0-0 draw is plausible at 12/1 while 1-1 is 13/2 in the betting.

For a double result, in keeping with the thinking that it will be a cagey start with Rovers keeping things tight, a draw at half time followed by a result could be the call.

Draw/Liverpool looks a fair bet at 10/3 while draw/draw is 13/2 and draw/Blackburn at massive 20/1. Liverpool/Liverpool is predictably the favourite at odds of 8/11.

It is of course possible that The Reds, like they did against Chelsea, carve the defence open early and score an early goal, in which case the game would take a while different complexion, with Blackburn having to attack more to find at least a point to stave of the relegation threat.

Should this happen then Benni McCarthy could be the man to profit and is big at 12/1 to score first or 5/1 to score anytime. He looks the main attacking threat with Jason Roberts out and big doubts about Roque Santa-Cruz.

El Hadji-Diouf could provide some attacking support at 6/1 to score anytime, with big defender and sometime striker Christopher Samba 7/1 to find the net.

For those who think lightening can strike twice, then perhaps 40/1 about Andre Ooijer scoring the last goal is the bet for you.

For Liverpool, they're repeated hero Fernando Torres is the obvious choice for first scorer at 3/1, especially if Gerrard doesn't play, even more responsibility will fall at the Spaniard's feet.

If it does however, take them a while to break down Blackburn then we could be seeing some late goals, which brings in super-subs and late goal specialists, Yossi Benayoun and Ryan Babel, who are both 13/2 for first goal or last goal, and 15/8 to score anytime.

Chances are this won't be pretty, and under two match goals at 13/5 may grab the attention of some, with over 2 at 8/11.

In front of expectant home fans and with Torres fit, even without Gerrard, you would expect Liverpool to batter Blackburn, especially as Rafa Benitez will not tolerate a slip up here as well as in the Champions League.

Sam Allardyce knows how to set a defensive line up though, and while you would be very surprised if Liverpool slip up, gritty, aggressive Rovers certainly won't make it easy for them.

Recommendation:
Ryan Babel to score last - 13/2
Draw/Liverpool - 10/3

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