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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 21:49 GMT
Birmingham 0-1 Liverpool
Craig Bellamy
Bellamy missed a second-half penalty
Liverpool reached the Carling Cup quarter-finals after a narrow win over Birmingham - but at a cost after losing Mohamed Sissoko to a shoulder injury.

Daniel Agger volleyed in from close range in the seven minutes of first-half stoppage time added after Sissoko fell awkwardly on his shoulder.

Just past the hour Maik Taylor saved a penalty from Craig Bellamy after Radhi Jaidi had fouled Mark Gonzalez.

Birmingham had chances but Jerzy Dudek denied DJ Campbell and Julian Gray.

The game was held up for more than five minutes as Sissoko received treatment, before he was stretchered off to be replaced by Xabi Alonso.

Sissoko had tumbled when was tackled by Mehdi Nafti, with the Mali midfielder landing heavily on his right shoulder.

Earlier Nafti had been booked for an ugly two-footed challenge on Boudewijn Zenden, though his tackle on Sissoko was innocuous.

Just before Sissoko's injury, Robbie Fowler missed the best chance of the opening half, when he miscued from a good position after Lee Peltier crossed from the right.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on the match

Agger's goal came from a corner taken by former Birmingham winger Jermaine Pennant.

Birmingham were unable to clear the ball as Pennant crossed from the left and Agger was quick to pounce, thumping it into the roof of the net.

Campbell had Birmingham's best chance in the opening half, but his close-range effort was saved by Dudek.

With 15 minutes remaining Dudek was in the right place at the right time in saving from Julian Gray.

Before that Bellamy should have put the game beyond Birmingham's reach, but he placed his penalty too close to Taylor.

The Welsh striker, who has scored just two goals for Liverpool this season, missed another chance after Zenden crossed, but Bellamy embarrassingly failed to make any connection with just Taylor to beat.

With three minutes remaining Zenden teed up Bellamy for a second time only for the Welshman to drag his shot wide of the post.


  • Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:
    "It was a difficult game, we had some clear chances, they had one or two and gave us a good game.

    "I felt the players worked really hard.

    "I changed some players, there were some young boys out there but we were good against a difficult team."

  • Birmingham boss Steve Bruce:
    "We had two or three good opportunities - you have to take them but Maik Taylor kept us in it with the penalty save."

    The Blues boss was also was angry with his player Mehdi Nafti for kicking a hoarding when he was substituted.

    "He was disappointed but we'll deal with him over the next 24 hours," he added.


    Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Kelly, Martin Taylor, Jaidi, Sadler, Larsson, Nafti (Muamba 68), Danns, Gray, Campbell (McSheffrey 58), Jerome (Bendtner 58).
    Subs Not Used: Doyle, Kilkenny.

    Booked: Nafti, Jaidi, Larsson.

    Liverpool: Dudek, Peltier, Agger, Paletta, Warnock, Pennant, Sissoko (Alonso 26), Zenden, Gonzalez, Fowler (Kuyt 72), Bellamy (Guthrie 88).
    Subs Not Used: Martin, Carragher.

    Booked: Paletta.

    Goals: Agger 45.

    Att: 23,061.

    Ref: H Webb (S Yorkshire).

    SEE ALSO
    Carling Cup photos
    08 Nov 06 |  Football
    Sissoko facing spell on sidelines
    08 Nov 06 |  Liverpool


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