• Date: Sun 04 April 2010
  • Venue: St Andrews Stadium
  • Ref: Atkinson, M
  • Attendance: 27,909
Birmingham City

Birmingham City

Ridgewell (56)

1 - 1
Liverpool

Liverpool

Gerrard (47)

Birmingham City vs Liverpool

Team Lineups

Birmingham City

Joe Hart
Stephen Carr
Liam Ridgewell
Roger Johnson
Scott Dann
Craig Gardner
Lee Bowyer
Barry Ferguson
Keith Fahey
Cameron Jerome
James McFadden (Kevin Phillips, 78)

Liverpool

Jose Manuel Reina
Glen Johnson
Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Emiliano Insua
Jamie Carragher
Steven Gerrard
Yossi Benayoun (Ryan Babel, 71)
Maximiliano Maxi Rodriguez
Leiva Lucas
Fernando Torres (David N'Gog, 65)
Dirk Kuyt (Alberto Aquilani, 81)

Match Report
The prospects of Rafa Benitez leading Liverpool in the Champions League next season suffered another setback as the Reds were held to a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City. The result was hardly a surprise as Liverpool have now failed to beat Birmingham in any of their eight Premier League encounters. It was clearly evident why Liverpool were without a win in their previous six away games. They were unable to produce any startling play to overcome the tenacious Birmingham side. In a very ordinary opening period neither side really got on top. Steven Gerrard operated in more of a holding role and there were few telling passes from the Liverpool skipper, although he came up trumps with a 47th minute goal. The home side deservedly shared the spoils as a result of a 56th minute equalise from their ever improving defender Liam Ridgewell. The Merseyside club, beaten in three of their previous seven league games, certainly lacked fire and passion to dominate the home side. Birmingham often took the game to Liverpool but the strength of Jamie Carragher and Sotiros Kyrgiakos gave the home side no goalscoring opportunities in the first half. City have not been noted for keeping clean sheets but their defence had a relatively quiet game against the subdued threat of Fernando Torres. The only real danger occurred late in the first half following a long throw-out by goalkeeper Pepe Reina. A five-man move ended with a rising shot from Maxi Rodriguez which clattered the crossbar and finally brought the game to life. This effort was followed by Birmingham's first shot on target by Cameron Jerome, which Reina hastily pushed out for a corner. But two minutes into the second half Liverpool finally found their goalscoring form when Gerrard produced a vintage finish. There was some measure of luck about the goal in as much that Gerrard gained possession from a mis-hit shot by Glen Johnson. Gerrard cut back inside Lee Bowyer and fired home a low cross shot past the despairing hand of Joe Hart. Liverpool of old would have built upon this lead but instead they allowed Birmingham back into the game with a comparatively simple equaliser in the 56th minute. A long ball from the right by Craig Gardner found the unmarked Ridgewell rushing in from the left for the defender to nudge the ball home from close range. Liverpool's frustration was emphasised when Benitez took off his leading scorer Torres and sent on David Ngog, who was involved in a controversial penalty equaliser against Birmingham at Anfield earlier in the season. Ngog, booed every time he was in possession, very nearly had the last laugh when his header from Johnson's cross went just wide, while another effort hit the side-netting. But the miss of the match fell to the unmarked Bowyer, who made a complete hash of Ridgewell's cross only yards away from the visitors' goal.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

Full-time at St Andrews. Disappointment for Liverpool as they drop more points in the race for fourth place.

90

Birmingham have faded in the final 10 minutes but are doing well to retain possession as the match goes into its final minute.

89

N'Gog is released by Gerrard but shoots at Hart via a deflection. Three minutes will be added.

89

The Reds continue to throw players forward, Johnson crossing behind when he had men to aim at in the middle.

87

Liverpool are suddenly dominant. Hart spills a Gerrard cross into the path of Maxi, who shoots over under pressure from defenders.

86

Liverpool know the importance of this match and are pouring men forward - Aquilani sets up Gerrard who fires over from 20 yards.

84

Liverpool break quickly and release Maxi in the Blues' penalty area, but a goal-bound shot is blocked by Alberto Aquilani. Frustration for the visitors.

83

Birmingham continue to press but cannot fashion a clear-cut chance.

81
Substitution
 

Alberto Aquilani makes an entrance in place of Dirk Kuyt.

80

City are in the ascendency and win another corner. Liverpool clear.

78
Substitution
 

Kevin Phillips scored an important goal last week and comes on for James McFadden.

78

James McFadden wins a corner after Liverpool concede possession. Fahey's delivery is cleared by N'Gog.

76

A weak effort by Fahey is easliy gathered by Reina.

75

This match is really opening up - both teams are showing intent to win it.

74
Yellow Card
 

Craig Gardner is booked for hacking down N'Gog. Gerrard's free-kick is well-claimed by Hart.

73

Kuyt and Maxi combine well for N'Gog, but the substitute again misses the target when well-placed.

71
Substitution
 

Yossi Benayoun makes way for Ryan Babel.

70

Birmingham should be in front - an excellent cross by Liam Ridgewell is met by Lee Bowyer, who miscues from eight yards with the Liverpool defence again absent.

68

N'Gog heads a good chance wide from close range - Benitez could have done with that going in.

66

The travelling fans showed their displeasure at that substitution - if Liverpool do not win this one Benitez will have some questions to answer.

64
Substitution
 

A bizarre move by Benitez, who replaces an uninjured Torres with David N'Gog. The Spaniard ignores his manager on the way to the bench.

61

Liverpool look shell-shocked by City's equaliser, although they should be surprised by their flakiness on the road - they have not won away in six games.

58

Glen Johnson was guilty for not picking up Ridgewell, who arrived totally unmarked from left back.

56
Goal
 

The hosts show their resilience by earning an equaliser, Liam Ridgewell scoring from close range after good play by James McFadden. Poor Liverpool defending is punished.

54

Liverpool are well on top but will be aware of Birmingham's record at home and their ability to recover from conceding first.

52

Keith Fahey goes into the book for a foul on Lucas.

50

Liverpool have been boosted by the goal and are tearing into City, who are rather hanging on at the moment.

47
Goal
 

Steven Gerrard gives Liverpool the ideal start to the second half, expertly curling in from distance after his own corner broke to him.

Second half
 

The second period starts with no half-time changes.

Half time
 

The first half comes to a close. Both defences did their jobs, with the only clear chance falling to Maxi. Liverpool need to find another gear if they are to stay in the hunt for fourth place.

44

Liverpool are finishing the half strongly as one minute of added time is signalled.

42
Yellow Card
 

Lucas Leiva is booked for a late tackle.

42

Gerrard whips in a cross from a dangerous position, but City again defend well.

40

City win another corner as Insua clears behind after good work by McFadden and Fahey. Liverpool win a free-kick as the corner comes in.

39

The corner is met by Dann and Johnson and Reina is relieved to see the ball loop onto the roof of the net.

38

Jerome appears to be in an offside position when firing off a snap-shot that Reina pushes wide at his near post.

36

A speculative effort by McFadden is easliy saved by Reina.

35

Liverpool nearly take the lead. A quick break by the Reds frees Torres, whose cross finds Maxi six yards out - a firm half volley is superbly palmed onto the bar by Hart.

33

Cameron Jerome robs Sotirios Kyrgiakos and wins a corner, but Keith Barry Ferguson's delivery is claimed by Reina.

31

Torres curls a harmless shot wide of Hart's goal.

30

Maxi Rodriguez cuts in from the right and has a scuffed shot blocked, Gerrard shooting wide with a similarly weak shot from the rebound.

28

Insua trips Stephen Carr on the City right flank as the home side continue to come into the game.

25

Blues' best spell ends with a timely Jamie Carragher intervention from a dangerous Keith Fahey cross.

23

Birmingham make good progress down Liverpool's right, but a poor flick concedes possession with men in the box.

21

Roger Johnson directs a terrible back pass wide of Hart behind for a corner. A short one is delivered by Insua, but the cross is poor.

19

A Steven Gerrard corner is cleared by Roger Johnson, who has been the busiest player so far.

17

City have barely threatened Liverpool's box, whilst the Reds continue to bombard Hart's box with crosses.

15

Dirk Kuyt lets fly from distance, but a deflection sends the ball softly into the arms of Joe Hart.

13

A frenetic start has given way to a more sedate pace of play, with Liverpool's midfield winning the passing battle in the centre of the park.

11

The Blues are gradually gaining a foothold in the game but Liverpool still look the most dangerous team.

9

A spell of good possession for Liverpool culminates in a dangerous cross towards Fernando Torres, but Scott Dann intercepts well.

7

Cameron Jerome seems to beat Sotirios Kyrgiakos for pace as the pair chase a ball over the top, but the striker is penalised for a foul.

4

James McFadden, making his 200th league start, gives the crowd a lift by nutmegging Emiliano Insua and winning a free-kick. The Scot's delivery is punched clear by Jose Manuel Reina.

2

Liverpool are making a lively start as the hosts struggle to keep hold of the ball.

Kickoff
 

Referee Martin Atkinson gets play underway at St Andrews.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Birmingham are seeking to maintain their record of being the only Premier League team to have not been beaten by Rafael Benitez's Liverpool - the Spaniard is winless in seven attempts against the Blues.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Alex McLeish names an unchanged team from the one that drew 1-1 with Arsenal last weekend, whilst Rafael Benitez brings in Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Lucas Leiva and Yossi Benayoun for Daniel Agger, Javier Mascherano and Ryan Babel.