Looking at stats, 18 shots by the visitors (three on target) versus 17 (2) for the hosts. This compares to eight fouls for Birmingam to nine for LFC, four corner kicks for the hosts to three for L'pool, 44% possession for the hosts. Not much to divide the two sides, right? Birmingham's overall possession was better quality but finishing poor. Liverpool's quality shone in flashes but there was little to no creativity going forward.
Roy's team lined up as follows:
Johnson Carragher Skrtel Konchesky (Agger)
Poulsen Lucas (Meireles)
- Once more, Reina is priceless, awesome, superb, magnifique..........(add any accolades as you wish) and I have no idea what we'd have done without the legend that's Pepe.
- [Directly related to point one] Super saves by Reina - 22nd and 36th minute were my pick of the day.
- Another clean sheet.
- Jovanovic's industry and work rate. Pure commitment, never-say-die, positive attitude throughout.
- We continue to defend set pieces admirably.
- The new boys, Konchesky and Meireles, will both fit well in this team. Raul almost had a dream debut goal but unfortunately blazed it over. Konchesky had a sublime pass to Jova in the 52nd, which, unfortunately, produced nought.
- An improved second half performance - is Rodge a second half miracle worker?
- Livelier second half especially after introduction of Raul Meireles and Agger in the 77th.
- Is our defense slow or what? We play a high defensive line but unfortunately don't have speed at the back.
- We really need to think of gradually replacing Carra. Granted like Hyypia he was never renown for pace, his legs are noticeably gone now.
- GJ's defensive positioning was awful throughout the game.
- Lack of communication at the back.
- Where was our defense in the 56th when the Blues had a free header that fortunately blazed over Reina's goal?
- Cynical fouling which continually put us in trouble. A better team at set pieces could have killed us.
- Wayward passing.
- Playing too deep.
- What has Torres been doing on the flanks instead of playing as a classic nine?
- No service whatsoever to Torres upfront.
- Playing through the middle, to Birmingham's advantage, and non-existent use of flanks.
- No keeping of possession nor seeking to win the second ball.
- Maxi was disappointing on the day and invisible. His only rival for the Nervous Cup was the coach himself.
- We were very predictable upfront. No guile at all.
- Might there have been a case for either introducing or playing Pacheco-Babel sometime in the game for pace and cunning upfront?
A mention for Alex McLeish's team. They conceded less goals last season than the champions Chelsea and are currently unbeaten at St. Andrews over one year. They were fully committed, a fortress, made good use of flanks, were real hungry for the ball and difficult to play against. They have fantastic team spirit and good organization. For a second week in a row I have enjoyed watching our opponents much more than I have my own team.
The Reds escaped with a point thanks to wayward finishing by their hosts. In truth, the scoreline didn't reflect the game and it fully flattered us.
If ever a case was put forward for change of owners, one needs look at how much progress Birmingham City have made since their own ownership change. Alex McLeish has made some sensible recruitments all over the pitch, the likes of Zigic who made a cameo, and created a solid team in tune with its fans.
Their more illustrious neighbors, Villa, seem to have regressed quite a bit in recent seasons. There is no escapism here as our own plight, coupled with that of Manchester United puts us in a perilous cycle. The coach cannot spend without selling, distracting him from core duties; can never get the players he wants; new injuries are a nightmare; and all club gains end up going to servicing the debt! This firmly puts a proud club like Liverpool between Scylla and Charybdis, a no win situation any way one wants to look at it.
There's no excuse whatsoever for the continued stay of Gillette and Hicks at Anfield.