EPL: Hodgson could be sack after Liverpool defeat

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Benjani Mwaruwari’s double fired Blackburn to a 3-1 win over Liverpool on Wednesday that heaped more pressure on under-fire Reds manager Roy Hodgson.

Sweden international Martin Olsson had deservedly put Rovers into a 32nd-minute lead at Ewood Park and the home side were 2-0 up before half-time courtesy of Zimbabwean forward Benjani.

Benjani notched his second from close range early in the second half with the Reds scoring a late consolation via Steven Gerrard, who then proceeded to miss a penalty.

Hodgson has been the subject of mounting speculation that he is in line for the sack after a woeful start to his reign at Anfield and it would be no surprise if he paid the price for a miserable result that left Liverpool only four points above the relegation zone.

Reds midfielder Joe Cole, scorer of a late winner against Bolton on Saturday, was handed his first Premier League start since October 31 in one of four changes which also included the return of skipper Gerrard.

Rovers, whose ambitious attempt to sign AC Milan’s Brazilian star Ronaldinho looks set to end in disappointment, made three changes of their own with wantaway defender Christopher Samba among those drafted into Steve Kean’s side.

There was an early warning for Rovers in the sixth minute when Paul Konchesky floated in an inviting cross from the left only for the unmarked Fernando Torres to head past the post.

Blackburn quickly found their stride, however and threatened from a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick and David Dunn’s volley.

Another chance went to waste when Mame Biram Diouf failed to make a clean connection with Olsson’s cross with just Pepe Reina to beat while, down the other end, Cole saw a cross-cum-shot from the right side of the area slide agonisingly beyond the far post.

That was as good as it got in the first half for Hodgson’s team and it was no surprise when Rovers went ahead when Biram Diouf bypassed Glen Johnson with a threaded ball to send Olsson through to shoot past Reina.

Within six minutes, the advantage was doubled with Pedersen the provider after he chipped a ball into Benjani who, with his back to goal, rolled Sotirios Kyrgiakos before unleashing an explosive volley into the back of the net.

Hodgson had to face chants of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ from the home fans and the Liverpool manager’s day to forget got worse still in the second half when the home side made it three in the 57th minute.

The superb Olsson was at the heart of the move once again, cleverly finding Junior Hoillett down the left channel and the youngster skipped past Johnson at the byline before crossing to leave Benjani with the simplest of tap-ins.

Gerrard fired in a consolation for the visitors with nine minutes to go when Torres’ blocked shot fell kindly for him inside the box and he drilled a low shot past Rovers keeper Mark Bunn.

But Hodgson would have known it wouldn’t be his night when England international Gerrard blazed a late penalty over the bar after he was caught by Michel Salgado.

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