Liverpool may need extra time to see off Rovers
Liverpool’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League have nose-dived following back-to-back defeats by Manchester United and Arsenal and manager Brendan Rodgers admits that not playing in Europe’s top competition could harm the short-term future of the club.
It’s increasingly difficult to attract top players when you can’t offer them Champions League football – and just as difficult to hang on to those you already have under contract. Real Madrid are reportedly keeping a very close eye on Raheem Sterling, who has postponed talks about extending his contract at Anfield. Steven Gerrard is off to America and there are a number of senior pros at Liverpool who are probably in the twilight of their careers and will need moving on.
It’s probably imperative that the Reds win some silverware this season to keep their fans happy but the FA Cup is their last chance and they’ve made hard work of progress in the competition so far.
They could be without striker Rudy Gestede but Chris Brown has similar attributes and is ready to deputise – he also works well with top scorer Jordan Rhodes. Former Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing scored on Saturday and is set to keep his place.
The Reds are without the suspended Gerrard, Emre Can and Martin Skrtel while Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli are all injured. The Italian is on the way back but may not be risked meaning Sterling is likely to play as a striker.
An under-strength Liverpool may still sneak past their Championship hosts but might need extra time or penalties to do so. The draw in 90 minutes is 14/5 with the Draw/Draw in the Half Time/Full Time priced up at 43/10.
The match kicks off at 7.45pm on Wednesday, April 8 at Ewood Park.