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Birmingham   1 - 1   Liverpool

Liam Ridgewell scores the equaliser
Liam Ridgewell takes advantage of Liverpool's sleepy defence to equalise

By Mark Ashenden

Liverpool's hopes of securing fourth spot and Champions League qualification suffered a big blow after a lacklustre draw at Birmingham.

In a dour first half, Maxi Rodriguez hit the bar for the Reds, while Roger Johnson headed over at the other end.

Liverpool took the lead when Steven Gerrard turned Lee Bowyer to curl in after Glen Johnson's mis-hit pass.

Birmingham hit back as Liam Ridgewell bundled in James McFadden's cross and survived three late David Ngog chances.

Starting the day five points adrift of fourth spot, a win for Liverpool was a must, but instead they relinquished a lead, no doubt to the delight of closest rivals Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa.

606: DEBATE
Horshamred

With an eye on Thursday's Europa League tie with Benfica, Reds boss Rafael Benitez opted to rest Javier Mascherano and Daniel Agger and bring in Yossi Benayoun and Sotiros Kyrgiakos.

It was a risky strategy against a team riding high in ninth spot and unbeaten at St Andrew's since September and Liverpool, again using Fernando Torres as a lone striker, seemed short of ideas and drive in the opening exchanges.

Their best efforts in the first half-hour were timid shots from Dirk Kuyt and Torres, while at the other end of a very sticky pitch, the skill of McFadden, making his 200th club career start, proved a regular nuisance for the visitors' defence.

As the interval approached, the game finally woke from its slumbers with both teams having their best opportunities to break the deadlock.

Benitez defends substituting "exhausted" Torres

On the back of a swift four-man move, Torres curled the ball into Maxi eight yards out, but the Argentine could only crash his shot against the bar.

Desperate to pick up their first win in five league games, Birmingham's tempo also increased and after an inswinging McFadden corner, Johnson headed just over as keeper Pepe Reina flapped uncharacteristically.

Liverpool's slowly increasing pressure paid off just after the break, when Johnson mis-hit a shot over to Gerrard on the left, and he turned Bowyer inside out to curl a fine shot inside the far post.

The stage was there for Liverpool to dominate and boost their hopes of Champions League qualification, but instead the lead lasted just eight minutes and it was all down to the continuing tricks of McFadden.

The Scottish midfielder tip-toed around three defenders and curled in a delightful ball to the back post for the unmarked Ridgewell to bundle the ball in with his thigh.

Benitez reacted by bringing on Ngog for Torres, who walked off the pitch seemingly perplexed at his manager's decision, while Gerrard also appeared to be a little confused.

However the substitution introduced new venom to the Liverpool attack and Ngog, the striker who won a controversial penalty against Birmingham in November, went close twice with a header and shot.

Fans crucial to fortress St Andrews - McLeish

The second half was proving to be a much livelier affair and Birmingham's scorer almost turned provider as Ridgewell crossed into Bowyer from the left but the unmarked midfielder fluffed his volley.

Liverpool dictated proceedings in the final 15 minutes and should have scored a winner from one of their hatful of chances.

Maxi blasted the ball straight at his own player Alberto Aquilani, while Gerrard shot over from the edge of the box.

The England midfielder looked desperate to secure the three points and he set up Maxi with a stunning through-ball but the Argentine wasted his shot.

Benitez's record of his team not beating Birmingham extends to eight games but the Spaniard's thoughts will now move towards Benfica as hopes of qualifying for the Champions League perhaps begin to fade.

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Birmingham 1-1 Liverpool FT
(HT 0-0)
  • Ridgewell 56
  • Gerrard 47

Birmingham

Substitutes

Liverpool

Substitutes

  • 01 Cavalieri,
  • 05 Agger,
  • 27 Degen,
  • 04 Aquilani,
  • 20 Mascherano,
  • 19 Babel,
  • 24 Ngog
Ref: AtkinsonAtt: 27,909
BIRMINGHAM
LIVERPOOL

Possession

  • Birmingham 49%
  • Liverpool 51%

Attempts on target

  • Birmingham 3
  • Liverpool 8

Attempts off target

  • Birmingham 5
  • Liverpool 8

Corners

  • Birmingham 5
  • Liverpool 4

Fouls

  • Birmingham 14
  • Liverpool 9
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+3:15 The referee signals the end of the game.
  • 90:00+2:19 Kevin Phillips takes the chance to get an effort at goal and missed to the right of the target.
  • 90:00+0:25 David Ngog takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
  • 89:36 Effort from deep inside the area by Ryan Babel misses to the left of the target.
  • 89:30 Glen Johnson produces a cross.
  • 88:27 Emiliano Insua takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Gardner.
  • 88:17 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson, Liam Ridgewell makes a clearance.
  • 87:51 Foul by Lee Bowyer on Alberto Aquilani, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Alberto Aquilani.
  • 86:28 Steven Gerrard crosses the ball, Shot on goal by Rodriguez Maxi from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 85:04 Steven Gerrard produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 84:55 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson.
  • 83:24 The assistant referee signals for offside against Kevin Phillips. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
  • 82:42 Centre by David Ngog, Rodriguez Maxi takes a shot. Blocked by Liam Ridgewell.
  • 82:19 Keith Fahey concedes a free kick for a foul on Alberto Aquilani. Alberto Aquilani restarts play with the free kick.
  • 81:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by David Ngog on Roger Johnson. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 81:20 Cameron Jerome concedes a free kick for a foul on Leiva Lucas. Leiva Lucas takes the direct free kick.
  • 80:45 Effort from outside the penalty box by Keith Fahey goes wide right of the target.
  • 80:12 Substitution Alberto Aquilani replaces Dirk Kuyt.
  • 78:40 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Keith Fahey, Leiva Lucas makes a clearance.
  • 77:20 Substitution Kevin Phillips replaces James McFadden.
  • 76:23 Corner taken by Keith Fahey from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by David Ngog.
  • 75:01 Keith Fahey takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.
  • 73:48 Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick, save by Joe Hart.
  • 73:48 Booking The referee shows Craig Gardner a yellow card.
  • 73:44 Unfair challenge on Ryan Babel by Craig Gardner results in a free kick.
  • 72:27 Effort on goal by David Ngog from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
  • 70:41 Substitution Ryan Babel is brought on as a substitute for Yossi Benayoun.
  • 70:29 The ball is delivered by Glen Johnson.
  • 68:36 Liam Ridgewell produces a cross, Effort from inside the area by Lee Bowyer misses to the right of the target.
  • 67:54 The ball is crossed by Glen Johnson, Headed effort on goal by David Ngog from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
  • 66:10 Foul by Steven Gerrard on Lee Bowyer, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 65:32 Emiliano Insua takes a shot. Blocked by Lee Bowyer.
  • 65:03 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.
  • 64:28 Substitution Fernando Torres goes off and David Ngog comes on.
  • 63:20 Craig Gardner challenges Emiliano Insua unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
  • 62:02 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Carragher on Cameron Jerome. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Stephen Carr from right wing.
  • 61:49 Emiliano Insua crosses the ball, clearance made by Stephen Carr.
  • 59:51 Emiliano Insua challenges Stephen Carr unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by James McFadden.
  • 58:44 Dirk Kuyt fouled by Barry Ferguson, the ref awards a free kick. Steven Gerrard restarts play with the free kick.
  • 55:38 Assist on the goal came from James McFadden.
  • 55:38 GOAL - Liam RidgewellBirmingham 1 - 1 Liverpool Liam Ridgewell finds the back of the net with a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Birmingham 1-1 Liverpool.
  • 55:34 A cross is delivered by James McFadden,
  • 51:55 Steven Gerrard produces a right-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.
  • 51:20 Free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.
  • 51:20 Booking Keith Fahey goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
  • 50:53 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Keith Fahey.
  • 49:25 Craig Gardner sends in a cross, Sotirios Kyrgiakos makes a clearance.
  • 46:27 Glen Johnson provided the assist for the goal.
  • 46:27 GOAL - Steven GerrardBirmingham 0 - 1 Liverpool Steven Gerrard finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Birmingham 0-1 Liverpool.
  • 45:54 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Steven Gerrard, clearance by Stephen Carr.
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half underway.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:12 The match has reached half-time.
  • 45:00+0:48 Free kick awarded for a foul by James McFadden on Rodriguez Maxi. Direct free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
  • 41:51 Scott Dann challenges Fernando Torres unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Steven Gerrard, Craig Gardner makes a clearance.
  • 41:31 Booking The referee shows Leiva Lucas a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
  • Correction - 41:00 Booking Leiva Lucas goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
  • 40:41 Dirk Kuyt fouled by Scott Dann, the ref awards a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
  • 40:04 Inswinging corner taken by James McFadden.
  • 39:56 Centre by Keith Fahey, Emiliano Insua manages to make a clearance.
  • 37:42 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by James McFadden, Roger Johnson produces a header from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.
  • 37:20 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
  • 36:00 James McFadden takes a shot.
  • 35:24 Centre by James McFadden, clearance by Emiliano Insua.
  • 34:52 Rodriguez Maxi takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.
  • 34:08 Corner taken right-footed by Keith Fahey from the left by-line, Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.
  • 32:37 Free kick awarded for a foul by Roger Johnson on Fernando Torres. Direct free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
  • 31:00 Effort from just outside the area by Fernando Torres goes over the target.
  • 30:19 Rodriguez Maxi takes a shot. Liam Ridgewell gets a block in.
  • 28:43 Emiliano Insua gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Carr. Stephen Carr takes the free kick.
  • 27:42 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Keith Fahey by Glen Johnson. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
  • 25:24 Foul by Fernando Torres on Roger Johnson, free kick awarded. Barry Ferguson restarts play with the free kick.
  • 21:07 Steven Gerrard takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Keith Fahey. Emiliano Insua takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.
  • 19:09 Corner from right by-line taken by Steven Gerrard.
  • 18:56 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson, clearance made by Stephen Carr.
  • 17:29 The ball is swung over by Fernando Torres, comfortable save by Joe Hart.
  • 15:44 Foul by Liam Ridgewell on Fernando Torres, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard from right wing, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.
  • 14:08 Shot by Dirk Kuyt. Blocked by Barry Ferguson.
  • 10:30 A cross is delivered by Dirk Kuyt, comfortable save by Joe Hart.
  • 8:18 Cameron Jerome challenges Sotirios Kyrgiakos unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
  • 6:24 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson, Stephen Carr manages to make a clearance.
  • 5:18 Unfair challenge on Jamie Carragher by Lee Bowyer results in a free kick. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
  • 4:40 Unfair challenge on James McFadden by Emiliano Insua results in a free kick. James McFadden crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing.
  • 4:04 James McFadden fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Keith Fahey from left wing, Jose Reina makes a save.
  • 2:29 The ball is delivered by Rodriguez Maxi, clearance by Scott Dann.
  • 0:00 The match begins.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League results

4 Apr 2010 23:59 UK


Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 4 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 33 54 74
2 Man Utd 33 50 72
3 Arsenal 33 41 71
4 Man City 32 24 59
5 Tottenham 32 26 58
6 Liverpool 33 21 55
7 Aston Villa 32 12 54
8 Everton 33 8 50
9 Birmingham 33 -4 46
10 Stoke 32 -3 42
11 Blackburn 33 -15 42
12 Fulham 32 -2 41
13 Sunderland 33 -7 38
14 Wolves 33 -23 32
15 Bolton 33 -25 32
16 Wigan 33 -34 31
17 West Ham 33 -17 28
18 Hull 32 -35 27
19 Burnley 33 -39 24
20 Portsmouth 33 -32 14

see also
Sunday football as it happened
04 Apr 10 |  Football
Benitez defends replacing Torres
04 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Mancini keen to have Hart at City
08 Apr 10 |  Man City
Sunday's football photos
04 Apr 10 |  Premier League



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