Blackpool rock Reds with Anfield triumph

Liverpool's troubled season sunk to new depths as they slumped to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at home to Premier League newcomers Blackpool.

Last Updated: 03/10/10 at 22:58 Post Comment

Varney (top): Celebrates his goal with Taylor-Fletcher

Varney (top): Celebrates his goal with Taylor-Fletcher

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Thousands of fans staged a pre-match protest march against the continuing ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett but there was a real danger of revolt inside Anfield at the final whistle.

Charlie Adam's penalty and Luke Varney's perfectly-timed run and finish did the damage in the first half and, although Sotirios Kyrgiakos's header pulled one back, Liverpool will spend the next fortnight rooted in the bottom three because of the forthcoming international break.

Roy Hodgson has spent his three-month tenure at the club insisting there would be a transitional period but their current position is shameful for a club of Liverpool's stature.

There is little he can say to excuse this result, yet another in a string of disappointing displays which have been characterised more by poor performances than anything else.

Blackpool, to their credit, were well worth their win on their first-half performance but it should not be forgotten that they are a side who went to Arsenal and Chelsea and were beaten 6-0 and 4-0.

Prior to kick-off they had conceded more away goals than any of their rivals (10) but that record was not something which was exploited at all by their hosts.

They were not helped by the 10th-minute loss of striker Fernando Torres to a suspected groin injury, but even then they should still have at least dominated possession.

But they did not get chance as Blackpool attacked from the off and Adam's second-minute free-kick had Jose Reina batting the ball away.

Torres barely had time to flash a cross into the six-yard box where Joe Cole deflected it wide before he was replace by David Ngog.

Blackpool were enjoying far more of the play than they could have expected to at Anfield and DJ Campbell went close at the far post from Neal Eardley's teasing right-wing cross.

When Steven Gerrard gave the ball away in his own half it was only Martin Skrtel's sliding challenge which denied Varney's shot, but the pressure eventually told in the 29th minute.

Right-back Glen Johnson, in particular, has had a dreadful start to the season and it got worse when he brought down Varney, allowing Adam to fire home the penalty despite Reina getting a hand on it.

Liverpool's response was half-hearted with Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Johnson, Dirk Kuyt and Raul Meireles all failing to test goalkeeper Matt Gilks with chances.

Then seconds before the interval the Seasiders stunned their hosts when Gary Taylor-Fletcher flicked a ball into the penalty area and Varney ran on to fire past Reina.

Two minutes into the second half Ngog should have buried his header from Kuyt's cross when unmarked only to miss the target but Kyrgiakos showed him how it should be done in the 53rd minute, powering home Gerrard's quickly-taken free-kick.

The tide had turned as now Liverpool were enjoying all the possession, even if it had taken them nearly an hour to establish such a position.

Meireles had three attempts in quick succession, although only the first forced Gilks into a save, before Cole was put through by Carragher only to see his delicate dink beat the goalkeeper but roll past the far post.

A positive substitution removed defensive midfielder Christian Poulsen for forward Milan Jovanovic, with Meireles dropped back into his favoured central position.

But as quickly as Liverpool had gained their attacking momentum it seemed to desert them just when they needed it most in the final 15 minutes.

Kuyt's header at the far post from Gerrard's cross was the closest they came but it lacked the power or direction to beat Gilks.

The Reds have now gone five matches in all competitions without a win - no wonder the Kop chanted the name of Kenny Dalglish, who was overlooked for the manager's job in the summer.

Hodgson has some serious thinking to do while the majority of his squad are away with their national teams.

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