Liverpool held 0-0 by second-tier Blackburn in FA Cup
LIVERPOOL, England (AP):
Liverpool were held 0-0 by second-tier Blackburn in the FA Cup quarter-finals as the English Premier League's in-form team lost their attacking sparkle at Anfield yesterday.
Blackburn came close to causing a huge shock, dominating parts of the first half after an eight-minute delay early in the game following an injury to Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel in an aerial challenge. Skrtel was wearing a neck brace as he was carried off on a stretcher, but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said the Slovakia centre back was "fine".
Liverpool pressed in the closing stages, with Jordan Henderson going close, but didn't play the free-flowing football that has helped the team remain unbeaten in the league since mid-December.
Bradford-Reading also went to a replay on Saturday. Aston Villa beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 and is the only team through to the semi-finals, which are both played at Wembley Stadium.
The final will also be played there on May 30 - the 35th birthday of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who is leaving the club this summer after a 26-year association to move to MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy.
Liverpool can still give Gerrard the perfect send-off, but - without their injured captain again yesterday - the team lacked fluency against committed and well-organised opponents.
"We kept a clean sheet and still have big confidence. We just lacked that final ball," said Rodgers, whose side had won its previous five home games.
Manchester United host Arsenal today in the other quarter-final match.