Birmingham City 0-0 Liverpool: Report
Liverpool were indebted to a superb display from goalkeeper Jose Reina for earning a point against Birmingham in a goalless Barclays Premier League clash at St Andrew's.
Reina produced excellent reflex saves to keep out point-blank headers from Cameron Jerome and Craig Gardner.
The home side were also left to regret spurning a hat-trick of clear-cut chances and were the more impressive of the two sides. And on this evidence, new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has plenty of work to do to make the Merseysiders a force to be reckoned with.
Barry Ferguson and Gardner bossed the midfield while James McFadden and Cameron Jerome linked well up front. Reds skipper Steven Gerrard tried to spark his side into life but Fernando Torres still looks short of full sharpness with Scott Dann excellent at the back for Birmingham.
The first decent chance fell to Torres after 12 minutes after Glen Johnson made a good break down the right flank before sending in a low cross. But the Spaniard failed to make a clean contact on his attempted shot which he dragged a couple of yards wide.
Reina kept Liverpool on level terms with a superb reflex save away to his right to keep out Jerome's powerful header from Lee Bowyer's left-wing centre. Blues midfielder Gardner became the first player to be yellow carded after 28 minutes for a challenge on Lucas.
Birmingham continued to look the more dangerous and Gardner dinked a shot over the bar after being teed up by Sebastian Larsson. But Reina made another outstanding save to keep out a close range header from Gardner after another dangerous cross from Larsson.
In a rare threat to the home goal Roger Johnson's tackle prevented Torres from turning and shooting from inside the box although replays suggested he may have had claims for a penalty.
Roger Johnson missed a good chance when he turned a Ferguson cross over from close range.
Blues keeper Ben Foster made his first save in the opening minute of the second half in clinging onto a dipping drive from Gerrard. But City were soon back on the attack and Liam Ridgewell had a powerful header blocked from a Larsson free-kick.
Paul Konchesky got forward to good effect for the first time and his pass almost played in Milan Jovanovic but he failed to take the ball in his stride. But Liverpool continued to look uncomfortable at the back and Dann missed another good chance for the home side. He found himself unmarked from a Larsson free-kick but his downward header bounced over the crossbar.
The Reds enjoyed their best spell of the game and Foster beat out a rising shot from a narrow angle by Torres after he had been found in space by Gerrard.
Another chance went begging for the home side when Jerome headed wide at the far post from Stephen Carr's cross after Konchesky had given the ball away.
Raul Meireles made his Liverpool debut after 76 minutes in place of Lucas.
A minute later Konchesky limped off to be replaced by Daniel Agger. Reina again did well in racing out of his area to chest clear from Jerome. Foster went down to keep out a late drive from Torres although he failed to make full contact.
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