Liverpool v Birmingham City - Match preview
Liverpool will hope to put another dismal week behind them by taking all three points against Birmingham City at Anfield. A Premier League defeat at Fulham last weekend was followed by a 1-1 Champions League draw at Lyon in midweek, a result which left the Reds facing a likely premature exit from the competition.
- Liverpool v Birmingham City: Match centre
- Premier League table
Rafa Benitez's side have now won just once in their last eight games in all competitions and desperately need to see off City to maintain any hope of challenging for the Premier League title.
They have picked up just three points from a possible 12 in recent weeks, with those coming from a superb 2-0 win over champions Manchester United which was meant to see an upturn in the team's fortunes.
However a dreadful display in a 3-1 loss at Craven Cottage and a failure to win in France has meant that Benitez is again a manager under intense pressure.
Good news for the Spaniard came with star striker Fernando Torres lasting almost the full 90 minutes against Lyon, but skipper Steven Gerrard will definitely miss out due to a groin problem.
Defensive duo Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher are both suspended following their red cards at Fulham.
Meanwhile, visiting City travel to Merseyside looking to build on impressive results in their last two games.
Sunderland were seen off 2-1 at St Andrew's before Manchester City were lucky to escape with a goalless draw after Shay Given saved a James McFadden penalty.
Veteran goalkeeper Maik Taylor started against the Citizens and may retain his place, despite loanee Joe Hart being back in contention after being ineligible to face his parent club.
Boss Alex McLeish has the luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from as his side seek to take advantage of their hosts' recent struggles.
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