Blackburn V Liverpool at Ewood Park : Match Preview
Kean hoping to face distracted Liverpool
Blackburn manager Steve Kean is hoping Liverpool will have one eye on their weekend FA Cup semi-final when the sides clash in the Barclays Premier League encounter at Ewood Park. Rovers are desperate to halt a run of three successive league defeats which has sucked them back into the bottom three. Liverpool have won only one of their last nine league games and Kean is hoping their focus is already starting to turn to the semi-final with Everton at Wembley on Saturday.
He said: "There is no reason why we can't go out and beat Liverpool. We've done it before last year. We played very well. "Liverpool will have an eye on the FA Cup so us playing them now is a good time. "It will be difficult for them not to think about the semi-final, so we will try to use that to our advantage. "But they have got a very good squad, I have seen them live a number of times this season and they normally start the games very well and have had spells where they just haven't scored. "Then their opponents have managed to get themselves in front and it has been difficult for them. But it hasn't been the case where they have played poorly."
Kean believes the strength of character in the Rovers dressing room will help them win the survival battle. But he is demanding his players produce their best form for 90 minutes and knows they can ill afford a repeat of the lacklustre opening 45 minutes they turned in in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at West Brom. He said: "We might have got away with having a bad result from this round of games because we've not lost any ground. "We have got a very good dressing room with characters in it that want to win and stand up for each other and themselves. "But we know we can play better than in the first half at West Brom. We need to make sure we analyse the reasons for that poor display and get back on song against Liverpool. "We only need to go back to the last home game against Manchester United where straight away we were focused and on our game. "We have to bring that to the players' attention and try and spark ourselves into life a lot quicker.
"If we can put the first 80 minutes against Manchester United and the first 20 minutes of the second half against West Brom together, and have an overall performance, we can certainly get a result. "But there are going to be a lot of twists and turns in this relegation battle before anything is sorted." Blackburn will be without on-loan striker Anthony Modeste against the Reds following his dismissal at the Hawthorns. Kean will check on the fitness of defender Martin Olsson who suffered a shoulder injury against the Baggies although he was able to complete the game.
Defender Daniel Agger has denied Liverpool are focusing too closely on their FA Cup semi-final following their poor run in the Premier League. Agger has warned turning around their league fortunes is, for the time being, the main priority. "I don't think next weekend's game is in our heads now," he said. "We play Blackburn on Tuesday and we have to do a bit better if we want a result there. "When you play for a club like this it doesn't matter if there is a trophy or not, there is always a lot to play for. We have to try to win every single game - especially at Anfield - but that has not happened the last few weeks and we have to turn it around." Agger made his first appearance for six weeks as a substitute in the home draw with Villa, having returned from a cracked rib.
The Denmark international sustained the injury in the Carling Cup final at the end of February and in his absence the team have lost five of their six league matches. He admitted it was tough to watch on from the sidelines but is pleased to be back after a testing few weeks. "It is always nice to be out there," he said. "It doesn't matter what sort of run (the team is on), it is always difficult watching from the sidelines. "I should be used to it now (having had injury problems in the past) but it is difficult when you cannot do anything. "I've only trained two times so it will be a week or two more before I'm fully fit." Agger is pushing for a return to the starting line-up while striker Andy Carroll could be set for a recall after three substitute appearance in four matches.
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