Alex McLeish has defended Birmingham forward James McFadden following questions regarding his commitment from Scotland boss Craig Levein.[LNB] McFadden was taken off at half-time during the fortunate 2-1 win over Liechtenstein and Levein was less than complimentary about the former Everton player.[LNB]But McLeish, whose side entertain Liverpool on Sunday, insists McFadden's commitment cannot be questioned.[LNB]He said: "I've worked with James for a long time now and he is actually one of the best trainers at the club.[LNB]"I can show you James' figures and they are way up there in terms of sports science. If anything he probably does too much in training.[LNB]"I don't think there should be any aspersions cast against James. He would walk over hot coals to play for Scotland.[LNB]"The last year has been typical James McFadden. He has been mercurial for Scotland, a real talisman and the Tartan Army love him - and he loves them back."[LNB]McLeish added: "James deserves respect and I am sure him and Craig will go on to have a good relationship.[LNB]"I am not going to take Craig Levein to task because he has criticised one of my players.[LNB]"I will continue to manage players my way and Craig has got to do it his way."[LNB]Birmingham are unbeaten in their last eight league meetings with Liverpool but McLeish expects new manager Roy Hodgson to make them difficult to beat.[LNB]He said: "If I am comparing it to Roy's Fulham team he will make it very difficult to penetrate.[LNB]"He organises his teams very well. He's been in the game a long, long time.[LNB]"Liverpool are using a slightly different style this season. Roy will stamp his personality on the team."[LNB]McLeish, who is optimistic of signing a new contract in the next week, will make a late decision on whether to give a debut to newcomer Alexander Hleb.[LNB]The on-loan Barcelona player suffered a knock to his ankle when on international duty for Belarus against Romania in midweek.[LNB]McLeish said: "He limped in the door and we thought 'no chance' and we think he has got to a stage where he has got half a chance.[LNB]"We just have to wait and see his progress over the next day or so.[LNB]"He got a kick in the ankle and it upset the ligaments a bit. We won't take any chances but he's got half a chance."[LNB]Veteran striker Kevin Phillips and defender Stuart Parnaby are still ruled out through injury.