LIVERPOOL Reserves slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers at The Halliwell Jones Stadium this evening.

A solitary first half penalty strike from Irish youth international Alan Judge was enough to consign Gary Ablett’s men to their fifth defeat this season in front of just 455 fans.

And Mark Bunn was rarely troubled in Blackburn’s goal as the Reds struggled to establish their usual passing game in a dour Barclays Premier Reserve League North encounter.

Rovers looked to have taken the lead as early as the ninth minute when Marcus Marshall headed into Peter Gulacsi’s net, but his effort was ruled offside.

Spanish starlet Daniel Pacheco was at the heart of Liverpool’s best moves, the playmaker providing an early opportunity for Gerardo Bruna before testing the Rovers' rearguard with a teasing run and shot from distance.

But Blackburn wrestled control of the game two minutes later when Senegalese right back Emmanuel Mendy upended Aaron Doran in the penalty area.

Judge stepped up and dispatched the spot kick high to the right hand side of Gulacsi’s goal, with the young stopper diving the wrong way.

Hungarian hotshot Krisztian Nemeth had returned to the Reds’ frontline after overcoming a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

But Liverpool’s two best openings of the first period fell to centre half Mikel San Jose, who headed two crosses from corner kicks over the bar.

The second half continued in much the same vein, with Liverpool failing to exploit plenty of possession.

Their play became increasingly narrow and worryingly for the home side, Blackburn’s midfielders were first to the majority of tackles.

Pacheco was again the most likely source of inspiration, forcing an impressive save from Bunn with a long range lob.

Yet Rovers should have extended their lead in the 75th minute when Aaron Doran shot high and wide after a mix-up in the Liverpool defence.

The fourth official indicated three minutes of stoppage time and the Reds seemed destined for defeat.

However, they were handed their best chance of the game when Pacheco found San Jose unmarked at the far post from a free kick almost 30 yards out.

But the former Athletic Bilbao star was unable to convert the chance, his cut back across goal failing to salvage what would have been an undeserved point.

Liverpool Reserves: Peter Gulacsi, Emmanuel Gomis Mendy, Stephen Darby (Steven Irwin 46), Mikel San Jose, Ronald Huth, Damien Plessis, Gerardo Bruna (Jordy Brouwer 72), Jay Spearing, Krisztian Nemeth, Daniel Pacheco, Vincent Weijl (Ryan Crowther 59). Unused subs: Martin Hansen, Daniel Ayala.

Blackburn Rovers Reserves: Mark Bunn, Alex Marrow, Gavin Gunning, Jonathan Flynn, Dean Winnard, Bryan Hodge, Andrew Haworth (Josh O’Keith 72), Alan Judge (Jason Lowe 88) Julio Santa Cruz, Marcus Marshall, Aaron Doran (Michael Potts 82). Unused subs: Bjorn Bussmann, Callum O’Connor.

Warrington Guardian man of the match: Daniel Pacheco. His invention and determination merited a place on the winning side.