Ten-man Liverpool stopped Blackburn climbing out of the Premier League relegation zone thanks to Andy Carroll's injury-time header.
Maxi Rodriguez twice scored from close range before keeper Alexander Doni was sent off and a penalty awarded.
Andy Carroll's 2011-12 goals
West Brom (a)
Substitute keeper Brad Jones, who now looks set to face Everton in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final, saved from Yakubu.
The Rovers striker struck with a header and a second-half equaliser from the spot before Carroll's late header.
The £35m striker's intervention, from Daniel Agger's knockdown, capped an incident-packed 90 minutes and earned Liverpool only their second win in nine top-flight games.
While Reds manager Kenny Dalglish could not hide his delight as he skipped down the touchline, Rovers boss Steve Kean cut a forlorn figure as Blackburn remain in the bottom three courtesy of QPR's better goal difference.
In the build-up to this game, Dalglish had promised Liverpool would not be distracted by thoughts of Saturday's Merseyside derby in the FA Cup semi-final.
Kean wants more aggression
But the Wembley date was suddenly uppermost in Reds minds once Doni carelessly upended Junior Hoilett after a tame backpass by teenage right-back Jon Flanagan fell woefully short, resulting in a straight red for the Brazilian.
Australian keeper Jones immediately came on, replacing the unfortunate Flanagan, and with first-choice Pepe Reina already suspended after his dismissal against Newcastle last month, it will be the 31-year-old who will walk out to face Everton at Wembley on Saturday.
Jones, making his Premier League debut for the Reds, instantly became a hero at Ewood Park as he stopped Yakubu's weak penalty to protect a two-goal advantage established by Maxi's two early strikes.
But Jones's good work was undone after the break when he conceded a second spot-kick in calamitous fashion, first seeing his attempted clearance charged down by the advancing Yakubu then, having palmed away the rebound, pushing the Nigerian to the ground before he could pursue the loose ball.
Blackburn's relegation run-in
On this occasion, referee Anthony Taylor was content to produce just a yellow card, otherwise Liverpool's prospects - on the night and at the weekend - would have been even more perilous.
However, Yakubu, whose unmarked header had halved the arrears before the interval, made no mistake with his second penalty to bring the scores level.
It looked like rescuing what had seemed an unlikely point for the hosts after they were inexplicably caught napping twice within the opening 16 minutes, Argentine midfielder Maxi making the most of his first top-flight start in almost three months.
Dalglish credits players for win
Martin Skrtel's 60-yard pass out of his own penalty area picked out an unmarked Bellamy, who surged clear of a floundering Blackburn backline and cut the ball across to Maxi for the simplest of tap-ins.
And Liverpool - without top scorer Luis Suarez and talisman Steven Gerrard - made Blackburn pay for another defensive lapse when Rodriguez tucked home Carroll's pass.
Yakubu's brace in reply seemed to have earned Rovers the point that would have lifted them out of the bottom three.
But Carroll's winner means it is now four straight defeats for the Lancashire side, with the only consolation for their manager that it was owners Venky's, and not Kean himself, at whom the home crowd chose to vent their spleen on the final whistle.
Craig Bellamy is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Grant Hanley on Andy Carroll. Direct free kick taken by Brad Jones.
Assist on the goal came from Daniel Agger.
90:00 +0:41 Goal scored
Goal! - Andy Carroll - Blackburn 2 - 3 Liverpool Andy Carroll finds the net with a headed goal from inside the penalty box. Blackburn 2-3 Liverpool.
Daniel Agger fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick. Corner taken by Craig Bellamy, Bradley Orr makes a clearance.
Booking Grant Hanley is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Grant Hanley on Andy Carroll.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ruben Rochina from the right by-line, Andy Carroll manages to make a clearance.
A cross is delivered by Marcus Olsson, clearance by Martin Skrtel.
Ruben Rochina crosses the ball in from the free kick.
Booking Jordan Henderson shown a yellow card.
Foul by Jordan Henderson on Marcus Olsson, free kick awarded.
Sanchez Jose Enrique produces a cross, Jordan Henderson takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson.
David Hoilett concedes a free kick for a foul on Sanchez Jose Enrique. Free kick taken by Sanchez Jose Enrique.
Ruben Rochina takes a shot. Save made by Brad Jones.
Foul by Martin Olsson on Craig Bellamy, free kick awarded. Sebastian Coates takes the direct free kick.
Ruben Rochina has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.
Shot by Daniel Agger. Blocked by Scott Dann.
A cross is delivered by Scott Dann, Grant Hanley has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
Substitution Sanchez Jose Enrique is brought on as a substitute for Rodriguez Maxi.
Marcus Olsson takes a shot. Jordan Henderson gets a block in.
Outswinging corner taken by Ruben Rochina from the left by-line played to the near post, Jordan Henderson makes a clearance.
Andy Carroll is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
Substitution Jason Lowe joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Dunn.
Steven Nzonzi takes a shot. The ball is delivered by Ruben Rochina.
Ayegbeni Yakubu delivers the ball, clearance by Daniel Agger.
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Bellamy, Daniel Agger takes a shot. Bradley Orr manages to make a clearance.
Substitution (Blackburn) makes a substitution, with Ruben Rochina coming on for Mauro Formica.
Outswinging corner taken by David Dunn, Jay Spearing makes a clearance. A cross is delivered by David Dunn, clearance made by Jay Spearing.
Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
Booking The referee shows Craig Bellamy a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
Grant Hanley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andy Carroll. Daniel Agger crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bradley Orr by Martin Skrtel. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.
The offside flag is raised against Andy Carroll. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
Unfair challenge on Andy Carroll by Grant Hanley results in a free kick. Craig Bellamy restarts play with the free kick.
Free kick crossed by Craig Bellamy, clearance made by Grant Hanley.
Booking Mauro Formica receives a caution.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Daniel Agger by Mauro Formica.
Jordan Henderson crosses the ball, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sebastian Coates by Steven Nzonzi. Direct free kick taken by Jonjo Shelvey.
Brad Jones restarts play with the free kick.
Booking The referee shows David Hoilett a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
Foul by David Hoilett on Brad Jones, free kick awarded.
60:53 Goal scored
Goal! - Ayegbeni Yakubu - Blackburn 2 - 2 Liverpool Placed penalty scored by Ayegbeni Yakubu. Blackburn 2-2 Liverpool.
Booking Brad Jones goes into the book.
Brad Jones concedes a Penalty for a foul on Ayegbeni Yakubu.
Effort on goal by Jonjo Shelvey from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Martin Olsson by Craig Bellamy. David Dunn delivers the ball, Grant Hanley takes a shot. Save made by Brad Jones.
Scott Dann concedes a free kick for a foul on Rodriguez Maxi. Craig Bellamy produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
David Dunn takes a shot. Save by Brad Jones.
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Craig Bellamy.
Substitution Glen Johnson goes off and Daniel Agger comes on.
Craig Bellamy crosses the ball, blocked by Scott Dann.
The ball is crossed by David Hoilett, blocked by Jordan Henderson. Corner taken by David Dunn from the left by-line, Andy Carroll manages to make a clearance.
Centre by David Dunn, save by Brad Jones.
Grant Hanley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andy Carroll. Shot comes in from Craig Bellamy from the free kick, Grant Hanley gets a block in. Craig Bellamy takes the inswinging corner, Header from close range by Andy Carroll misses to the right of the goal.
The offside flag is raised against Ayegbeni Yakubu. Indirect free kick taken by Brad Jones.
The referee gets the second half started.
45:00 +2:05 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.
The ball is delivered by David Hoilett, Brad Jones makes a comfortable save.
Paul Robinson takes the free kick.
45:00 +0:11 Booking
Booking Rodriguez Maxi is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
David Dunn fouled by Rodriguez Maxi, the ref awards a free kick.
Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Steven Nzonzi gets a block in.
David Dunn challenges Jonjo Shelvey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Craig Bellamy, Scott Dann makes a clearance.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Glen Johnson. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.
David Dunn takes a shot. Brad Jones makes a save.
Centre by Martin Olsson.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Glen Johnson on Mauro Formica. David Dunn delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, Rodriguez Maxi manages to make a clearance.
Foul by Mauro Formica on Glen Johnson, free kick awarded. Martin Skrtel restarts play with the free kick.
Assist by David Dunn.
35:51 Goal scored
Goal! - Ayegbeni Yakubu - Blackburn 1 - 2 Liverpool Ayegbeni Yakubu finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the area. Blackburn 1-2 Liverpool.
Craig Bellamy is adjudged to have handled the ball. David Dunn sends in a cross,
Craig Bellamy crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, Scott Dann makes a clearance.
Booking Bradley Orr is shown a yellow card.
Bradley Orr concedes a free kick for a foul on Glen Johnson.
A cross is delivered by Bradley Orr, save by Brad Jones.
Drilled right-footed shot by Craig Bellamy. Paul Robinson makes a save.
Penalty taken by Ayegbeni Yakubu is saved by Brad Jones. Blackburn 0-2 Liverpool.
Substitution Brad Jones joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jon Flanagan.
Dismissal Alexander Doni sent from the field by the ref for professional foul.
Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on David Hoilett by Alexander Doni.
Craig Bellamy takes a shot.
David Hoilett sends in a cross.
Jay Spearing gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ayegbeni Yakubu. David Dunn restarts play with the free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Nzonzi by Jonjo Shelvey. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.
Jonjo Shelvey fouled by David Dunn, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Alexander Doni.
Unfair challenge on Marcus Olsson by Jon Flanagan results in a free kick. Martin Olsson takes the free kick.
Andy Carroll provided the assist for the goal.
15:09 Goal scored
Goal! - Rodriguez Maxi - Blackburn 0 - 2 Liverpool Rodriguez Maxi gets on the score sheet with a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Blackburn 0-2 Liverpool.
Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Save made by Paul Robinson. Andy Carroll takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Dann.
The assist for the goal came from Craig Bellamy.
12:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Rodriguez Maxi - Blackburn 0 - 1 Liverpool Rodriguez Maxi gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Blackburn 0-1 Liverpool.
David Dunn crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Sebastian Coates.
Booking Jon Flanagan receives a caution.
Unfair challenge on Marcus Olsson by Jon Flanagan results in a free kick.
Sebastian Coates gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Hoilett. Strike on goal comes in from Martin Olsson from the free kick.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Nzonzi on Jordan Henderson. Alexander Doni takes the direct free kick.
Andy Carroll is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.
Bradley Orr produces a cross, save by Alexander Doni.
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