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Monday 18 December 2017

Rafa joy as Reds silence Big Sam in style

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez took great satisfaction in dismissing counterpart Sam Allardyce's style of football after his side's 2-1 victory over Blackburn at Anfield yesterday.

On the field there was a goalscoring return for Fernando Torres, who marked his first start since January 13 by netting the winner.

Torres, who was sidelined for five weeks after a knee operation, scored his 13th goal in 17 Premier League appearances a minute before half-time.

Just before that, Keith Andrews had equalised from the penalty spot after Jamie Carragher's handball to cancel out Steven Gerrard's 20th-minute opener.

But all the action took place in the post-match press conference, with Benitez sarcastically claiming European champions Barcelona were considering adopting Allardyce's methods.

"It is really important (the way to play) but sometimes we cannot play football," said the Spaniard.

"If they (Blackburn) are pleased with the way they play under this manager, it is their decision. We won so they have to be thinking about whether the style is good or not.

"I think it is a model for all the managers around the world, their style of football, his (Allardyce's) behaviour.

"It is the perfect model for all the kids and I'm sure all parents will enjoy this model and encourage their kids to be the same.

"The style of football I think Barcelona are thinking of copying."

Scrapping

Prior to the match, Allardyce had claimed Benitez had turned Liverpool into a side scrapping for results, akin to his former Bolton team.

The pair have history dating back to Benitez's first encounter with Wanderers in August 2004, when Sami Hyypia sustained a broken nose in the opening minutes of a game that ended in defeat for the Reds.

Allardyce said of his pre-match criticism: "It was only because Liverpool have a go at me and because I am entitled to respond when I get criticised by Rafa Benitez.

"If you don't understand that over the last few years then you must be deluded.

"Not this time but many other times I have been criticised personally by the manager."

Allardyce felt his side deserved more out of the game, adding: "If we had had a goalscorer we would have won the game on chances created.

"We haven't come here and hung on, we've dominated the game for long periods.

"We had five bookings and 25 fouls given against us, which was, for me, a wrong reflection on how we played."

Blackburn's over-physical approach, however, could easily have seen Steven Nzonzi, who pushed Lucas Leiva in the face, and Pascal Chimbonda, who kicked Maxi Rodriguez in the chest, red-carded in off-the-ball misdemeanours.

"Nzonzi was very clear, touching the face of Lucas, and the rules are the rules," added Benitez.

"We have had four of five players with problems, bleeding, and Maxi with stud (marks) in his abdomen. Interesting, but we won."

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