Blackburn 3 - Liverpool 1
LIVERPOOL boss Roy Hodgsons job was left hanging by a thread last light after this bashing at Blackburn.
Blackburn heaped the pressure on former manager Hodgson as they raced into a deserved 2-0 half-time lead.
Speculation has been rife about the 63-year-olds future for weeks and goals from Martin Olsson and a double from Benjani did little to help.
Steven Gerrard scored what proved to be just a late consolation with nine minutes to go when he fired in from the edge of the box.
But the Liverpool skipper blazed a penalty over the bar fi ve minutes from time after he had been clipped in the area by Michel Salgado.
Liverpool midfi elder Joe Cole made his fi rst Premier League start since October 31 as manager Hodgson made four changes and still ended up facing catastrophe.
Cole, the late matchwinner against Bolton on Saturday, was last named in the starting XI for the win over Wanderers at the Reebok when he injured a hamstring and missed six games.
Steven Gerrard, a substitute against Wanderers, also returned along with Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Paul Konchesky as Daniel Agger and Dirk Kuyt dropped to the bench, with Fabio Aurelio rested and Raul Meireles injured.
Benjani was making his first start since November 6 while there were also returns for defenders Christopher Samba and Salgado.
Liverpools record against Blackburn is impressive, having lost just one of the last 24 league meetings.
! But the form book was no salvation for Hodgson last night.
And it was a sign of how sick Liverpool fans over this nightmare season that the away end was only two-thirds full almost unheard of in this fixture.
Liverpool at least started well with Fernando Torres flashing a header wide early on from Koncheskys cross.
Morten Gamst Pedersen replied with a curling free-kick which missed both the far post and Mame Biram Diouf, while David Dunn volleyed over from the edge of the penalty area.
Blackburn may have had one of the most lightweight midfields in the Premier League Dunn, Pedersen, Olsson and Junior Hoilett but they saw plenty of the ball.
Diouf should have put Rovers ahead in the 17th minute when he connected with Olssons left-wing cross eight yards out but he could only bundle the ball straight at Jose Reina.
Rovers goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who had been under-employed in the fi rst 27 minutes, got his fingertips to just defl ect Coles shot from an angle wide of the far post.
Cole would probably have put Liverpool ahead with his shot from the edge of the penalty area after Lucas Leivas forward run but Samba got in a timely block to deflect the ball over.
Liverpool looked at their most vulnerable when they attacked and when players were caught out of position.
And in the 32nd minute the home side made them pay.
! Ryan Nelsen was allowed time in the centre circle to play the ball out to the left and when Diouf knocked on the pass, Olsson ran past the static Glen Johnson to hit a low shot past Pepe Reina.
And in the 38th minute Pedersen clipped in a ball to Benjani, he controlled it on his chest but Kyrgiakos was slow to react as the striker turned and hit aferocious volley past Reina.
Benjani wrapped up the points on 57 minutes when he fired in to dump more misery on the under-fire Liverpool boss.
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