English Premier League side Liverpool went into their FA Cup quarterfinal match against second-tier Blackburn Rovers of the Championship League as one of the hottest football teams in the world. However, they couldn’t find the back of the net during the game at Anfield on March 8th and were held to a 0-0 draw. The game got off to a slow and unfortunate start as Liverpool’s Slovakian international defender Martin Skrtel lay prone on the pitch for eight minutes after falling awkwardly to the pitch following a challenge for a ball in the air. Medical staff placed Skrtel in a neck brace and carried him off the pitch, but manager Brendan Rodgers claimed after the match that the player was doing fine.

Blackburn dominated parts of the first half once the play resumed and Liverpool had their best moments towards the end of the half. Their best chance in the opening 45 minutes fell to English international midfielder Jordan Henderson, but overall, the Reds didn’t play the same type of free-flowing game they have been since the middle of December, which was the last time they lost a league game. The winner of this match would have been through to the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley Stadium next month, but a replay will now be needed in Blackburn.

The FA Cup Final is scheduled for May 30 at Wembley, which just happens to be Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s 35th birthday. Gerrard has spent 26 years at Anfield, but will be leaving the club after the 2014/15 campaign to join the Los Angeles Galaxy of North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS). However, Gerrard was out of action again on Sunday against Blackburn and has now missed several consecutive games due to a leg injury.

Liverpool had won five straight home matches before meeting Blackburn, but Rodgers believes his side still has a good chance of capturing the FA Cup. He told the media, “We kept a clean sheet and still have big confidence. We just lacked that final ball.”

photo-AP