A replay was needed for Liverpool to finally figure out Blackburn, a Championship club, but a late Philippe Coutinho goal made all the difference in the FA Cup quarterfinal, sending the reds to the semifinals and a setup encounter against Aston Villa.
In the 180 minutes of football between the two former Premier League rivals, very few chances were created. The physical, tight and slow football Blackburn were able to force on Liverpool at Anfield was also what we saw for most of the match at Ewood Park.
However, despite their recent string of disappointing results in the league, Liverpool still had plenty of quality to overcome a clearly inferior rival.
It came down to a nice 1-2 combination between Jordan Henderson and Coutinho, while Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling continue to disappoint in their production and ability, to give Liverpool the goal. Coutinho didn’t have the best of angles, but managed to slip the ball beneath a defender and beyond the reach of Eastwood.
It was the same Eastwood that almost made a dramatic turn to the match, getting the go ahead from the bench to join a corner kick in injury time. His spin and shot were impressive, but Simon Mignolet made the save, and the referee, putting in a poor effort by allowing Blackburn to get away with too much contact, blew the whistle.
Liverpool are in the semifinal for only the third time since 2001. However, since 1991, any time they’ve made the semifinal, they’ve also advanced to the final, last winning the trophy in 2006.