London: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said his side had paid the price for their stunning recent form after they were held 0-0 by Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge reacts after missing a chance against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield on Sunday. Pic/AFP
Having gone 12 games unbeaten in the league, winning seven of their last eight matches, Liverpool were expected to breeze past second-tier Blackburn and give captain Steven Gerrard a chance to lead his team out at Wembley at least one more time before leaving at the season's end.
But instead they were frustrated by a disciplined and hard-working Blackburn team, who will hope to pull off a repeat of victories over Stoke City and Swansea in the replay at Ewood Park in early April.
"The last three months we have been in outstanding form, but that (the dip) is natural," Rodgers said.
"There is a physical energy in how we play and it is natural sometimes there will be a little bit of cost and that affected the speed of our play.
"Give Blackburn credit. They defended in a low block really well and put their bodies on the line and made it really difficult for us."
Describing himself as "not overly disappointed" by the result, Rodgers said the bottom line was that Liverpool were still in the tournament.
"We are still there to reach the semi-finals," he said. "Of course you want to do it and get through, but we will have plenty of coaching time to work. It just wasn't to be."
Gerrard missed Sunday's game as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, but Rodgers said the 34-year-old would be fit for the league trip to Swansea on March 16.