Liverpool F.C. manager Brendan Rodgers believes the Reds’ difficult schedule contributed to the club’s 0-0 FA Cup draw against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield on Sunday.
Blackburn were on top for the vast majority of first 45 minutes, and defended very well when Liverpool finally put them on the back foot in the second half.
Shortly after the introduction of Italy international forward Mario Balotelli on 59 minutes, Kolo Toure headed a Philippe Coutinho off the wrong side of the post.
A late half-chance for Jordan Henderson was kept out by Rovers goalkeeper Simon Eastwood, forcing a replay at Ewood Park for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
“I give credit to Blackburn, they’ve come here and defended well, and I’ve got to give a huge amount of credit to my own players,” Rodgers told BT Sport. “We weren’t at our best and we had two tough games leading into it.
“We probably just missed the sharpness in our game. But we kept going, we kept trying to create chances to get that goal from the beginning right to the very end.”
Rodgers added: “I thought we should have had a penalty – [the] Adam Lallana one was a clear penalty. The defender is recovering back in, he’s on the wrong side and he can’t get to the ball.
“You could argue when Gestede handballs it off the header from the free kick that we could have had another penalty. Sometimes you need that little bit of luck.”
Liverpool, who were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League by Turkish Süper Lig giants Beşiktaş late last month, will travel to the Liberty Stadium to take on ninth-placed Swansea City on Monday, 16 March.
Alderweireld uncertain over future
On-loan Southampton F.C. defender Toby Alderweireld has insisted he has on idea where his future lies after this season.
The Belgium international, 26, has impressed while on loan at St Mary’s this season, having started 16 league fixtures for the club with the best defensive record in the English Premier League.
Note: the Saints have conceded just 20 goals in 28 league matches. Chelsea have the second-best defensive record, having conceded 22 goals in 27 matches.
“In any case, that they speak well of one does not hurt anyone. If they speak well of me that signifies that I am having a good season,” Alderweireld said.
“I am not going to hide it – it is nice to read this kind of stuff. I feel good in the Premier League, but I have no idea about any concrete interest.
“Atletico can make me return because I still have two more years on my contract, Southampton can buy me, another club can make an offer…
“It seems, at least, that it is going to be another hectic summer for me.”