Andy Carroll’s stoppage-time goal gave 10-man Liverpool a 3-2 win at Blackburn and kept the home team in the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Carroll’s winner capped a match in which Liverpool goalkeeper Alexander Doni was red-carded for a foul and substitute ‘keeper Brad Jones saved the subsequent penalty kick from Ayegbeni Yakubu, who scored twice last night after Maxi Rodriguez got two goals in the first 16 minutes.
“We just about deserved to win,” Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish told his club’s website. “We’re delighted for the players. It’s not been the best of times for them recently. That doesn’t mean to say we’ve turned any corners but it certainly gives everyone a lift.”
Liverpool’s first victory in five Premier League games leaves it eighth in the 20-team standings with 46 points, one behind city rival Everton, which it faces in the first F.A. Cup semifinal on April 14.
Blackburn remains in 18th place with 28 points through 33 of 38 games after its fourth straight loss. The bottom three are relegated to the Championship at the end of the season.
Rodriguez struck in the 13th and 16th minutes before Doni upended Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett in the area in the 25th minute, resulting in a straight red card for the Brazilian. Australian goalkeeper Jones came on as replacement for right-back Jon Flanagan to make his league debut for Liverpool and saved Yakubu’s weak penalty with his first touch.
With Doni’s red card ruling him out of the F.A. Cup semifinal, Jones will start against Everton with teenagers Danny Ward and Tyrell Belford among the backup options. First-choice goalkeeper Pepe Reina is serving a three-game ban.
“We’ll see what we’ve got for the weekend,” Dalglish added.
Yakubu’s 36th-minute header made it 2-1 at halftime. The Nigerian striker tied it in the 61st minute when he converted a spot-kick after being pushed to the ground by Jones as the pair attempted to get to the ball near the goal. The referee showed Jones the yellow card.
Jones was forced to tip Carroll’s backward header over his crossbar to avert an own goal before Carroll, whom Liverpool signed for 35 million pounds ($55 million) last year, connected with a powerful header at the other end to win the game.
“We have been a bit unlucky in the past few games, but the luck will come on our side sooner rather than later,” Carroll said. “This is a great lift for all the lads before we go to Wembley on Saturday.”