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By Chris Bevan
1804: And that's where I'm going to have to leave you folks. If you want more football, then there's live coverage of England Women's World Cup play-off with Switzerland on BBC Three from 1900 BST (and on this website in the UK) and remember you can catch up with all the weekend's Premier League games by watching MOTD2 on BBC Two (and this website if you're in the UK) at 2230 BST. Also, don't forget to join Pranav Soneji on Monday night for Stoke versus Aston Villa. I'll see you again on Tuesday, when the Champions League group stages get going. Bye for now.
1800: Birmingham midfielder Barry Ferguson on Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina: "He was outstanding, and made three or four great saves. We deserved to win the game and he was the only reason we didn't."
From redboychris on 606:
"I expected Liverpool to get a draw. Birmingham are so hard to beat at home so there is nothing wrong with a draw. However Liverpool were far to negative for much of the game they need to attack more."
1753: Hmmm, that wasn't great was it? Liverpool will be happy with a point but Birmingham will rue two great saves by Pepe Reina in the first half, and they looked far more interested in trying to win the game. Let's not dwell on the second half for too long, though, because there wasn't much to shout about for either side.
1752: FULL-TIME Birmingham 0-0 Liverpool
1750: Raul Meireles gets on the end of a Daniel Agger cross at the far post but he can't find the target and the linesman's flag is up in any case.
1749: The 90 minutes are up. We are going to see three minutes of added time.
1748: A first change of the afternoon for Birmingham. Nikola Zigic is on for James McFadden.
1747: Scott Dann does well to clear a dangerous Steven Gerrard cross from the right... and repeats the trick a few seconds later after a powerful run from the Reds captain. All the late pressure is coming from the visitors.
nickmbr on Twitter:
"Benitez was criticised for failure to react with substitutions, wonder if Hodgson can be afforded the same criticism?"
1745: A half-chance for Birmingham, when Craig Gardner picks up the ball in space 25 yards out and drives at goal. He could keep going, but elects to shoot, and his shot swerves wide of Pepe Reina's left-hand post. Just four minutes of the 90 left for someone to break the deadlock, but there should be a fair bit of injury time too.
From anon via text: "I've got to say as a Villa fan that the Blues look good! Or is it that Liverpool haven't got what it takes anymore? Torres looks well off the pace. Top four for Hodgson will be like winning the title!"
1741: Birmingham have been a bit quiet coming forward themselves in the last few minutes - they haven't really built on their first-half display if I'm being honest. James McFadden tries to change that by curling a long ball forward for Cameron Jerome to chase but Pepe Reina is off his line quickly to clear.
1738: Raul Meireles is looking for the ball all the time but hasn't had much of an opportunity to show what he can do with it yet. Liverpool have just had a shot, through Steven Gerrard, but it was a rushed effort and way off target.
1736: Another change for Liverpool, this time an enforced one. Paul Konchesky has picked up a knock and limps off - his debut is over, Daniel Agger is on instead at left-back.
1733: More possession by Liverpool, and Birmingham's turn to defend, until Maxi Rodriguez turns on the edge of the box and balloons a shot over the bar. Good news for Reds fans, though, because Raul Meireles is on for Lucas.
1731: Steven Gerrard has got rid of that bandage already, and is in the thick of the action again. It's not quite happening for him today, though, and he sees his free-kick easily cleared before a poor touch lets him down as he runs on to a clipped Paul Konchesky through-ball.
1730: Mind you, I'm not sure who I would take off if I was Roy Hodgson. Only his goalkeeper Pepe Reina has had a decent game so far. Birmingham have just threatened again, after some sloppy defending allowed Stephen Carr to cross... but Cameron Jerome could not get enough on his header at the back post.
1726: Liverpool have improved in the last few minutes, but they still seem to be lacking ideas going forward. Time for a change Roy?
From 4fabregas on 606:
"At 1540 you said Liverpool needed to win by three goals to get into the top four... Have you still got that flying pig graphic?"
1725: More treatment for Steven Gerrard, who now has a huge white bandage wrapped around his head. It all looks very dramatic but he is going to be able to play on.
dcraig83 on Twitter:
"Lucas is awful. He offers absolutely nothing. I really think we are going backwards. Torres wont hang around much longer"
1722: Liverpool attack again, and this time the ball reaches Fernando Torres on the right-hand side of the area. He should probably pull the ball back but elects to shoot from a tight angle and Ben Foster stands up well to block the ball at his near post.
1721: Steven Gerrard is back on the field, and almost gets a shooting chance when Paul Konchesky crosses from the left, but the ball doesn't reach him because Fernando Torres takes a very heavy touch take it way from him. Birmingham clear their lines.
1720: Steven Gerrard's ear is bleeding now. It was his eye before, so he is really in the wars today. Liverpool are down to 10 men temporarily.
From darkanddom on 606:
"Birmingham will live to regret not putting away those chances. How many have they missed so far? Incredible. They will lose to a Torres strike... mark my words."
1716: Another chance goes begging for Birmingham. Seb Larsson hoists a free-kick into the Liverpool box and it comes through to Scott Dann, who is unmarked and about eight yards from goal, but can only direct his header down into the turf. It bounces up and over the bar, and Liverpool survive again.
davegale88 on Twitter:
"Anyone remember the first season of Houllier when we finished 7th...? Think it could be a long season of disappointments."
1712: We've not seen much of Paul Konchesky coming forward today but, at last, he has linked up with Milan Jovanovic down the left. Sadly for Liverpool, Jovanovic's first touch is much too heavy as he bursts into the box, and the ball flies out for a goal-kick.
1710: Birmingham are still looking the more lively side, and more dangerous when they come forward. Craig Gardner has just had a pop from the edge of the box but his low shot rolled harmlessly wide.
1705: An instant improvement by Liverpool. Lucas finds Steven Gerrard with a header, whose first-time shot from about 30 yards out brings a diving save from Ben Foster. The Blues keeper got there easily enough.
1703: No changes by Roy Hodgson or Alex McLeish just yet though. Liverpool get the second half under way.
1702: A few of you (Liverpool fans I'm guessing) are calling for the introduction of Raul Meireles. Surely Roy Hodgson isn't going to leave £11.5m of Portuguese international midfielder on the bench after that first-half display by his side in the middle of park?
MPH1982 on Twitter:
"I simply can't understand why Liverpool play with two holding midfielders against the likes of Birmingham."
I disagree. I don't think Liverpool can expect to sweep sides like Birmingham aside at St Andrew's. The Blues have come on a lot in recent months, and Roy Hodgson is trying to revitalise Liverpool - so a point here is not a bad result for him.
1655: Lots to think about for Liverpool at half-time then, but equally Birmingham will be kicking themselves because they will know they should have turned their pressure into at least one goal. They have created all the best chances but cannot find a way past Pepe Reina, who may have had a torrid time playing for Spain in their 4-1 defeat by Argentina in midweek, but is on top form today.
From Jamie in London via text: "Roy Hodgson needs to spend less time talking to the media and more time on his dismal away record. Liverpool are getting dominated."
1647: HALF-TIME Birmingham 0-0 Liverpool Mandeep Sanghera's half-time snap-shot:
How are Birmingham not in the lead against Liverpool? One man is the answer and it's Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina."
From Robbie in Sedgefield via text: "The problem isn't that Liverpool play two holding midfielders, it's that Lucas and Christian Poulsen are immobile, poor passers and not particularly strong."
1644: Barry Ferguson curls in a deep cross from the left and Roger Johnson almost gets a toe on it. Liverpool are still very much on the back foot here.
1643: Less than five minutes to go until half-time, and not much time for Liverpool to improve on this stat, courtesy of
Liverpool have scored only one first-half goal away from home in the Premier League in 2010. That was Fernando Torres' opener against Manchester United on March 21, a match which Liverpool lost 2-1.
1642: I'm just watching that second Reina save again, from Cameron Jerome. I think he might have got to Larsson's cross fractionally before Jerome, rather than a hand to his header, but it was still excellent goalkeeping.
1639: Nothing is getting past Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina today. He's just produced another superb save to keep out Craig Gardner's header from another inviting cross by Seb Larssson out on the right. Reina is keeping his side in this game.
1638: Liverpool break forward quickly and feel they should have a penalty when Fernando Torres is felled by Roger Johnson... nothing given.
1637: Birmingham threaten again and, after good work by Lee Bowyer, Seb Larsson crosses for Cameron Jerome but he is denied by Pepe Reina again.
From Robsoninho on 606:
"Full credit to Birmingham, they have nullified the effect of both Torres and Gerrard, and when you do that, you give yourself a great chance of beating Liverpool."
1634: Liverpool's turn to have a bit of pressure but the final ball, be it from corners or free-kicks, isn't up to scratch at the moment. Birmingham break forward and when Christian Poulsen is caught in possession, Seb Larsson pulls the ball back for Craig Gardner to lift a shot over the bar.
1632: Ouch. Poor old Lucas is sent tumbling again, this time by Barry Ferguson. No card this time though.
1630: Craig Gardner catches Lucas with a crunching late tackle and becomes the first name into Mark Halsey's book. Liverpool come forward from the free-kick but a promising move ends when Steven Gerard smacks a hopeful long-range shot into Row Z.
1627: Oh dear, a bit of a waste that. James McFadden tries to bend the ball over the wall, but lifts it high over the bar too.
1626: Jamie Carragher trips James McFadden on the edge of the area and Birmingham have a free-kick in a very dangerous position...
1625: Gordon Banks, eat your heart out. A brilliant save from Pepe Reina keeps Birmingham at bay. Lee Bowyer crosses from the left, and Cameron Jerome heads the ball back across goal towards the opposite corner... it is heading for the net, before the Spaniard somehow gets across to push it away. Top-class stuff.
1623: Steven Gerrard gets some treatment for a cut above his right eye, after tangling with Barry Ferguson. There's not much blood, so he is patched up pretty quickly.
1621: More pressure from Birmingham, who are pumping balls into the Liverpool area. The visitors are coping comfortably enough at the moment though.
1618: Liverpool give the ball away on the half-way line and it takes a strong defensive header from a back-tracking Martin Skrtel to stop the ball dropping into the path of Cameron Jerome.
Ex-Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live: "You can see Liverpool want to play the more expansive football and linking play, whereas Birmingham are looking for knock-downs from Cameron Jerome."
1615: Two similar formations, two different styles of play. Liverpool are trying to pass it around, whereas Birmingham are trying to find Cameron Jerome as quickly as they can.
1614: A decent chance for Liverpool. Glen Johnson gets forward down the right and sends over a low cross for Fernando Torres... who makes a bit of a hash of his finish, and doesn't trouble Ben Foster.
1612: Better from Liverpool, who have started to enjoy more possession. They have also just had a corner that ended with Steven Gerrard scuffing his shot from the left-hand corner of the area, and it did not reach Ben Foster in the Blues goal. By the way, you can listen to this game on BBC Radio 5 live if you're in the UK - just give this page a refresh if you cannot see the icon on the top right of the page.
From Brummerdickens on 606:
"I'm disappointed to see neither Beausejour nor Hleb featuring today. They aren't luxury signings for Blues; they were necessities. Makes me worry as to how we'll fare today."
1607: Fernando Torres tries to take the ball around Craig Gardner in the Birmingham area but cannot get the better of the Birmingham midfielder. The Blues are also playing with one out-and-out striker, Cameron Jerome, and he is seeing more of the ball at the moment.
1603: Lots of throw-ins for Birmingham in the first couple of minutes, as well as a shot from Barry Ferguson that flies high into the stand behind Pepe Reina's goal. Not much from Liverpool yet.
1601: Right, we're off. Birmingham get us started at a very noisy St Andrew's.
1559: There's still a bit of speculation over just how Liverpool will line up formation-wise. I'm expecting five across the middle and a very cagey start.
HalwestHadad on Twitter:
"Birmingham are very, very hard to beat at St. Andrew's. McLeish has them well organised. 1-1 draw written all over this."
1555: The players are in the tunnel at St Andrew's. Kick-off is just minutes away.
From Barterr via text: "Re anon text at 1540. Why do people persist in criticising two holding midfielders? 4-2-3-1 is a modern formation that three of this years World Cup semi finalists used! Besides it's about the flexibility of the players in the system. Outside the UK, Lucas is regarded for his box-to-box qualities."
1548: By the sounds of what he's just said, Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson will be happy to leave new £11.5m signing Raul Meireles on the bench today, and hand him his debut against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League on Thursday. We shall see...
peterjharvey on Twitter:
"So, a win today could see Liverpool soar 11 places from the brink of the relegation zone into the Champions League places?"
1544: Mind you, any sort of win would leave Birmingham fourth tonight and if they win by six goals or more they will be third. I'm sure it's still too early to be looking at league tables anyhow... but that won't stop me banging on about it.
1540: If Liverpool win by three goals or more today, the top four of the Premier League will have a very familiar look to it. Who said the 'Big Four' was a thing of the past? Still, let's not get ahead of ourselves... as it stands, the 'Pool currently in fourth place are the ones wearing tangerine shirts, not red.
From anon via text: "Hmmm, is there any difference in set-up to the side Hodgson selects to that of Benitez? Liverpool persist with two holding midfielders... no longer the powerhouse of football but frightened mice when venturing away from home! I was hoping for a change in mindset!"
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish on what he expects from Liverpool under Roy Hodgson today: "If I am comparing it to Roy's Fulham team he will make it very difficult to penetrate. He organises his teams very well. He's been in the game a long, long time. Liverpool are using a slightly different style this season. Roy will stamp his personality on the team."
Exodude on Twitter:
"On paper Liverpool look strong. Will depend on their frame of mind - but Birmingham should definitely not be taken lightly."
1530: Here's a stat for you too, courtesy of
Steven Gerrard loves playing against West Midlands clubs and has scored 19 of his 80 Premier League goals against Aston Villa, Birmingham, West Brom or Wolves. His total of six against Birmingham is only bettered by his nine against Villa and the seven goals he has netted against Bolton Wanderers.
Birmingham City v Liverpool team news Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Birmingham's new arrival Alexander Hleb does not figure because of an ankle injury and boss Alex McLeish keeps the same starting XI that drew 2-2 with Bolton last time out. Czech defender Martin Jiranek, who was brought in on transfer deadline day, is on the bench but fellow new-boy Jean Beausejour is not even in the country. Liverpool left-back Paul Konchesky replaces Daniel Agger as he makes his first start for the club, while fellow new signing Raul Meireles is on the bench. Maxi Rodriguez starts on the right of midfield in place of the injured Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard plays in attack with Fernando Torres as Joe Cole serves the last game of his domestic suspension."
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish on his future at St Andrew's: "Talks have progressed and I'm just inches away from signing a new contract. The figures and everything are fine. We've just got to iron out the rough edges. We're pretty close and there are just a couple of technicalities - a release clause and that kind of thing - but it's not excessive from either camp and it's absolutely standard. Contracts are not something I like talking about in public, but it will be nice to get it resolved."
From Usama_SA on 606:
"Liverpool have a great chance of winning this one as Torres and Gerrard enter the game with a positive mind set, but you never know what can happen at St Andrew's."
1515: Whether you are red or blue (or neither), I want to hear from you lot too. It's easy if you know how:
Tweet me at chrisbevan_bbc on Twitter,
join the regulars on
or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide).
1512: I'm hearing that Paul Konchesky starts for Liverpool, and Meireles is on the bench. Full team news to follow shortly.
1510: Lots to look forward to today then, not least the possibility of seeing some new faces in both teams. Birmingham could hand debuts to Jean Beausejour and Martin Jiranek, while Alex Hleb says he is 50-50 to feature. Raul Meireles and Paul Konchesky are in line to make their Liverpool debuts.
Birmingham City v Liverpool (1600 BST KO) Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson says his side are in for a 'very stern' test at St Andrew's and he's not wrong. In the league, the Reds have lost two and drawn six of their last eight encounters with Birmingham. Can Hodgson improve that record and show he is moving Liverpool in the right direction? Or will City continue to show that they are one of the top-flight's emerging clubs after an impressive ninth-placed finish last season?"
1505: Mind you, it's not just Liverpool who find it tricky at St Andrew's these days. The Blues have not lost on home soil in 16 games (since September last year), and they have made a bright, not to mention unbeaten, start to the new campaign too.
1502: Yep, it's more than six years since Liverpool beat the Blues in a league match (although in the meantime they have beaten them in both domestic cups, including a
in 2006). In May 2004, the Reds
won 3-0 at St Andrew's.
Michael Owen opened the scoring and Gerard Houllier was manager... I wonder what happened to him?
1459 BST Afternoon all. It's time to find out whether Roy Hodgson can do what Rafael Benitez never managed as Liverpool boss. Win the title? Don't be silly (it's only September). I'm talking about beating Birmingham in a Premier League game...
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