Goalscorers: Robbie Fowler 27, Mark Atkins 52, Chris Sutton 57, 72, John Barnes 59
Blackburn Rovers: Tim Flowers, Henning Berg, Tony Gale, Colin Hendry, Graeme Le Saux, Paul Warhurst, Mark Atkins, Stuart Ripley, Jason Wilcox, Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton
Liverpool FC: David James, Phil Babb, Stig Inge Bjornebye (Jamie Redknapp 80), Rob Jones, John Scales, Neil Ruddock, Jan Molby, John Barnes, Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush
Referee: Brian Hill, Attendance: 30,263
The name Kenny Dalglish will always be linked with these two clubs. Dalglish had achieved immortality with Liverpool FC, winning a clutch of league championships as a player and a manager. Now, he was aiming to win the title for the highly-ambitious Blackburn Rovers side. Both teams were in great form going into this match at Ewood Park in October 1994.
Blackburn had come within moments of ending Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the season a week earlier whilst a new-look Liverpool had lost just once in the Premier League and that was to reigning champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The home side started with great purpose and were doing all the pressing in the first 30 minutes. Rob Jones had to clear a Tony Gale header off his own goal-line. Alan Shearer was denied another goal by the legs of David James and Jason Wilcox blazed a shot over when put through by Chris Sutton. So it was totally against the run-of-play when Roy Evans’ side took the lead.
Red-hot Robbie Fowler was found in space by Steve McManaman. His shot took a deflection off the unfortunate Gale and the ball looped over Tim Flowers and into the net. The goal was very fortunate but it stemmed the tide and towards the end of the first half, it was Liverpool who were looking more dangerous.
Dalglish needed to rally his troops in the dressing rooms. It wasn’t the first time in recent weeks where deflections had gone against Blackburn. They’d lost a fortnight earlier to Norwich City because of a similar kind of goal. So, the response to going 1-0 down at the interval was magnificent. Six minutes into the second half, Shearer found some space in the penalty area and pulled the ball back for Mark Atkins to score from close-range.
Shearer might not have scored but he played such a crucial part in dragging Blackburn ahead. Five minutes after the leveller, he once again produced a wicked delivery into the box. Strike partner Sutton sneaked infront of Phil Babb and although James parried his first effort, Sutton managed to bundle the ball over the line to have the hosts into the lead.
Just before the hour mark and Liverpool were back on level terms. Stig Inge Bjornebye’s cross was perfect for John Barnes to remind everyone of his class. Barnes’ spectacular overhead kick into the bottom corner drew the game level at 2-2. That goal itself deserved something from the game but ultimately, it got nothing. Sutton got the better of Neil Ruddock on 72 minutes and as James advanced off his line, the forward drilled home his 12th goal of the season to put Blackburn ahead. It was a lead they would maintain until the final whistle.
Liverpool got their revenge six weeks later, knocking Blackburn out of the League Cup in the fourth round and the two sides played another important match later on in the season…but more on that later.