A far-from first-choice Liverpool side came back from two goals down to earn a point against Birmingham today, a comeback inspired by Jermaine Pennant against his old club.
Liverpool are now nine points above Everton in fourth place, with the Reds’ neighbours 15 goals worse off, meaning Liverpool have all-but secured a place in next season’s Champions League Qualifiers. Everton have to win all three of their remaining fixtures and Liverpool have to lose both theirs, and all those matches would have to won and lost by a gap averaging more than three goals each game.
The team Rafa put out was picked with Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea in mind. Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt were unused subs, Ryan Babel and Fernando Torres not even in the 16.
Liverpool’s side had nine changes in all, but Chelsea weren’t afforded the same chance to rest players in their fixture today, where they claimed a late victory over Manchester United in the league.
After the game Liverpool boss Rafael Benítez said: “The team was controlling the game in the first half but we conceded a goal that changed things a bit. The second goal gave them more hope and we needed to score and did so.
“We scored the second goal with a bit of luck but we created enough chances to win. The players showed character and quality.
“The idea was to win and guarantee fourth place. We didn’t achieve that but a draw is another option and puts us in a very strong position. Now we can think about the next game against Chelsea and hopefully we can progress in the Champions League and be really focused in the final.
“I am really pleased with the second-half because I think that the team played much better. To score two goals in the second-half and create the chances we did was very, very positive.
“We started the game controlling things for the first 30 minutes but then we conceded the goal and we couldn’t manage. So at half-time we talked about how we could improve and I think the mentality of the players was positive.
“You must guarantee the Champions League for next season. We are almost sure now in fourth position and so we can think about Chelsea.
“I’d like to finish as high as possible but sometimes this cannot happen and at the end you must be happy with the fourth position and happy if you do well in the Champions League.
“Today we needed to change some players and keep up a high tempo during the game. We also created a lot of chances too so we approached it in the right way.
“Clearly if you have players playing well they can give you an option on another day and that was another positive from today.
“Pennant was a threat for them throughout the game and he is an option we have on the right side and when he is playing well he is really dangerous.
“Offside rule is stupid now. When you have a player in an offside position, this player has influence, it is very simple.
“It is a big problem for the referees and I think they must change it for the future because a player can be in the middle and say he has no influence, but he does because he is in the line of vision of the keeper.
“It will be tough for all of teams at the foot of the table, but at the end of the day they need to keep going which is the only way forward and the only way you can change things.”
“I don’t think it will have any bearing (Chelsea’s win over Manchester United). I think it’s a different competition and a different situation.”
On fitness: “Everyone is fit. There are some knocks but we will see in one or two days the situation of the squad.”
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish: “My feelings are a little bit mixed. I’m angry, particularly with the first goal we let in. There was a bit of naivety and it cost us dearly. Their second was a bit scrappy but they had the smell of blood.
“We didn’t throw away two points but Liverpool earned it. But what I did get was a great reaction from the players after the loss to Aston Villa.”
Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Kelly, Jaidi, Ridgewell (Queudrue 77), Murphy, Larsson, Muamba, Nafti, Kapo (McSheffrey 77), Forssell (Zarate 87), McFadden
Unused subs: Not Used: Doyle, Jerome
Booked: Murphy, Nafti
Goals: Forssell 34, Larsson 55
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Skrtel, Riise (Insua 64), Pennant, Plessis, Lucas, Benayoun, Crouch, Voronin
Unused subs: Itandje, Gerrard, Kuyt, Carragher
Goals: Crouch 63, Benayoun 76
Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).
77 thoughts on “Result: Birmingham 2 Liverpool 2”
GUEST COLUMN : VIEW FROM THE PRESS BOX
TONY BARRETT ON CHELSEA V LIVERPOOL
Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo 29 April 2008
According to French statisticians, Liverpool only have a 23 per cent of making it through to the Champions League final in Moscow.
But then, when did anyone at Anfield take any notice of what French statisticians have to say?
Those experts at L’Equipe may be able to rate Liverpool’s chances by going through every single European Cup semi-final since 1971.
And they may even be justified in making Chelsea statistical favourites to go through on Wednesday night.
But one thing they could never factor into their complicated equations is that mythical factor that Liverpool are at their best in Europe when their backs are against the wall.
Is a club which has come back from the dead in Istanbul, which has won twice at the Nou Camp, which has defied logic against the likes of St Etienne, Olympiakos and, more recently, Arsenal really going to be cowed at the prospect of “only” having 90 minutes to score a single goal away at Chelsea?
Will a club that once won a European Cup against AS Roma in their own backyard with all its hostility be afraid of the blue and white chequered flags which will be unfurled at Stamford Bridge?
Not a chance.
This is Liverpool’s stage, not Chelsea’s. Had those French statisticians also bothered to look at European Cup finals since 1971 they would have discovered that Chelsea have not appeared in a single one of them.
In the same period of time, Liverpool have appeared in seven and, in my book at least, that makes them favourites.
Forget that 95th minute equaliser at Anfield last week and focus on almost every single one of the 94 minutes that preceded it.
Liverpool were comfortably the better side and had it not been for the excellence of Petr Cech would be heading into the second leg with the kind of lead that even miracles cannot overcome.
Pepe Reina, by contrast, was hardly tested and there were times when the Spanish keeper must have been tempted to join in with the Kop as they did the Torres bounce just to keep himself warm.
Yes, John Arne Riise’s own goal did shift the balance of the tie because it gave Chelsea that crucial away strike and yes, Liverpool could have done without conceding.
But all they have to do to cancel it out is score a single goal at Stamford Bridge and the tie will be back in their hands.
A legend will be created tomorrow. Someone will carve his name on Liverpool’s unique European history alongside the likes of Dalglish, Smith, Rush, McDermott, Keegan, Fairclough, Garcia and Gerrard.
One player dressed in red will seize the moment and give the travelling Kop a moment they will treasure until their dying day.
The stage is set for a hero to emerge and open up a path to Moscow. No one will care if it’s Torres, Gerrard, Kuyt, Carragher or Skrtel, just as long as someone does it.
Liverpool have nothing to fear from Chelsea. What is their to fear from the functional or the perfunctory?
This is not the Real Madrid of Figo and Zidane, the Milan of Van Basten, Baresi and Gullit, the Barcelona of Stoichkov, Romario and Koeman or even the Man United of Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez.
It is the Chelsea of the eternally balance-challenged Didier Drogba, the vastly over rated Ashley Cole and the perennially weak Paulo Ferreira. And what’s more, they’re even fighting among themselves if Saturday’s embarrassing squabble over whether Drogba or Michael Ballack took a free kick is anything to go by. !
Throw into the mix the fact that Avram Grant is totally untested at this level and is no doubt currently fretting about whether he should stick or twist and all of a sudden all those doubts and fears which followed Riise’s unfortunate intervention are rendered almost meaningless.
If roles could be reversed and it was Liverpool who had the away draw with a second leg to come at Anfield but you had to have Grant in charge rather than Rafa Benitez, would you take it?
I didn’t think so.
Benitez is an arch alchemist in the rarified atmosphere of the Champions League and he will be heading to Stamford Bridge with the kind of battle plan Napoleon would have been proud of.
Every eventuality will have been considered, all strengths and weaknesses assessed and a tactical masterplan will be implemented which will give Liverpool every chance of getting the result they need.
We know this is the case because we have seen it so many times over the last four years. We have seen it against Arsenal, Inter Milan and Juventus. And we have seen it against Chelsea. Twice.
The Spaniard will be relishing the opportunity of going into the Londoners’ own backyard and making it a hat-trick. He won’t see his team as the underdogs and he certainly won’t be afraid.
As is the case for his team, this is Benitez’s stage, a place where he is rarely found wanting.
Chelsea, by contrast, have been to the Champions League semi-finals on three separate occasions and are still to make it to a single final. To borrow a phrase from bookmaking parlance, the Londoners do not have course and distance.
They do have an away goal to their name, but it is only one. Liverpool now know exactly what they have to do and every single
Liverpool fan should today be believing that they will do it.
It is they who have history on their side no matter what those French statisticians might say.
And anyway, 23 is a lucky number for Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. Remember Kenny Dalglish’s goal to win the league at Chelsea in 1986? It was scored after exactly 23 minutes.
That’s fate, history and a beautiful omen. It’s going to be Liverpool’s night. All we have to do is believe.
Fred, thanks for that. It just goes to show what a precarious position Liverpool FC are in under Hicks’ ownership. He has very little control over the club. We are totally in the hands of the banks. And if there is one thing banks don’t suffer from its sentimentality when they want their money back. This situation could have arisen in a season or two’s time under Hicks. At that point we would possibly have only been able to raise funds by selling players. And just like Leeds the vultures would circle and we would be selling players for way under value.
And as for stadium finance – it ain’t going to happen under Hicks – no way.
Fred – Where did you get that story from?
Whatt Hicks engaging in a “facade” ? – I don’t believe it !
Try this link (from Pierre).
If the J P Morgan and/or this story are true then I’ll be a very happy man.
Tom Hicks should remember that what goes round comes round.
Here’s the link for Fred’s story:-
Dawg – Your sugar daddy is getting told where to go by the banks. Does that bit of news dammage your percieved image of Hicks being the ‘dapper’ owner, no-ones got nothing on my man Hick’s ‘claims his bitch Dawg’ Ha Ha Ha.
” Texas Dawg saying “well done for your balanced view” to posters like he’s some sort of all time Liverpool FC fan and arbiter of reasonableness. Various other Tommy-come-lately posters being nakedly biased, no …worse – trying to drip feed Hicks’ agenda. Don’t bother with cutting and pasting this and adding some glib little one liner with a stupid smiley, Texas – I’m not bothering with this site any more. ”
SJ – Dawg has been grooming the visitors to this site, he will start to ask to meet people him and they will find to their horror that he is a dirty old man who wants to bugger them. Dawg is nothing other than a predator preying on the good people who visit this site. All should be aware of the predator who is Texas – Dawg, the predatory animal. Don’t give him your personal details or arrange to meet him!
Jim hasn’t been heard of for a while? He must be around Anfiled rubbing of all the anti Hicks grafiti, there is quite alot and they are using paint which is very difficult to remove. That will explain the absence of the man they call Jim B?
Jim – Are you from Liverpool?
Thanks for putting up the link Anthony and your post regarding dawg was bang on the money.
Rafa has got his way by getting a ref who will take no shit from ‘Oh no I’ve been shot and I’m in agony’ Drogba. Didn’t quite catch his name but he is an experienced Italien ref.
“Dawg – Your sugar daddy is getting told where to go by the banks. Does that bit of news dammage your percieved image of Hicks being the ‘dapper’ owner, no-ones got nothing on my man Hick’s ‘claims his bitch Dawg’ Ha Ha Ha.”
Do you also believe The Daily Express when they tell you they are “The World’s Greatest Newspaper”?
Dawg – A thousand times more than I believe you. No contest.
“Dawg – A thousand times more than I believe you. No contest.”
Hmmm… that’s not what I asked… but whatever.
What don’t you believe me about?
I can understand where you coming from when you say you would like to consider the alternative and Im not having a go but I do find one thing you say amusing:
“I know it doesn’t really matter what we think because its very unlikely to change anything, but part of me is also cautious – you know that expression, be careful of what you wish for. I’d hate to be sat here in 12 months time reflecting on how we’d been suckered as fans into supporting something we then regretted”
Forget about 12 months down the line but is that not exactly how most Liverpool fans feel now.
We are living through most fans worst conceivable nightmare and I am at odds to see how fans believe things could getting any worse if the Sheik were to buy the club.
Unless a potential buyer is well known to Liverpool fans (like in the case of Steve Morgan) it is always going to prove impossible to really know their true intentions for the club.
Although I initially preferred the prospect of DIC owning the club as opposed to Tom and George, I did reluctantly put my trust in the Americans once their bid was sucessful.
My trust was abused and I wont be as quick to offer the same level of acceptance even if DIC do manage to gain control. My trust will have to be earned.
But as with any potential investor I will gage DIC with the same scepticism that I would gage any non footballing party looking to buy Liverpool. There is definitley a case for once bitten twcie shy here but I also think the Sheik and DIC do have their intentions demonised by some pro Tom fans just as a means of retaliation for accusations levelled at Hicks himself.
In relation to the articles above – the fact that this is been published a day before match day just makes me wonder if the intention of the story is again to distract. I would like to think its true but for the time being I will choose to ignore.
Hicks is up shit creek which is where he belongs for what he’s done to our club. And if you don’t believe the Daily Express try the Financial Times (what do they know ? well quite a lot actually)
” What don’t you believe me about? ”
Dawg – Well I do not read the Express so I don’t personally share the opinion that the quote “the worlds greatest paper” is true. With regards to you here’s a quote “Talk is cheap!” and I am sure you will not presume it to be unreasonable of me to not believe you. I think the way you persistantly try to justify the fact that you are who you say are is a dead give away that you are not who you claim to be. If you was then you would have thought sod this, Hick’s would be wanting to string you up by your balls and you could probably make a fair bit of money selling all of your ‘inside information’ to the papers.
“And if you don’t believe the Daily Express try the Financial Times (what do they know ? well quite a lot actually)”
Where did the FT say the same thing the Daily Express article says?
Dawg – If DIC take over LFC are you still going to visit this site.
“I think the way you persistantly try to justify the fact that you are who you say are is a dead give away that you are not who you claim to be. If you was then you would have thought sod this, Hick’s would be wanting to string you up by your balls and you could probably make a fair bit of money selling all of your ‘inside information’ to the papers.”
“Dawg – If DIC take over LFC are you still going to visit this site.”
Probably not, Anthony. Maybe occasionally.
Like I’ve acknowledged, I’m not really a Liverpool fan but just pull for and follow the team now that my friends are partial owners.
Dawg – What do you do for a living?
“Dawg – What do you do for a living?”
I work for an equity research firm in New York, Anthony. You?
Dawg – I am a tax dodging student. At this moment in time I have taken a year of college so I start to learn French and Spanish to increase my future employment prospects. Will be going onto Liverpool University to do a combined honours degree in the following componants – Physics, Chemistry , Maths ,Law, Economics, Accountancy, Business studies, French and Spanish. Will go on to do a Phd and then a post doctorate, want to work in the chemicals industry. Their is a large chemicals industry on the banks of the river Mersey very close to my house, and subsequently Liverpool Uni has a top reasearch facility for all things scientific.
Also have you heard the news story in Austria where the man kept his daughter locked up for 24 years and ahd 7 kids by her.
@Anthony Fakir: “Also have you heard the news story in Austria where the man kept his daughter locked up for 24 years and ahd 7 kids by her.”
Someone’s going to try and pin that on Tom Hicks now aren’t they?
On a separate note, I need to plough / plow / crack on with that forum.
Best of luck with your studies. Sounds like you’ve got some good plans.
” On a separate note, I need to plough / plow / crack on with that forum. ”
Jim – Don’t know whether you missed it or it has just appeared but more anti Hicks grafiti has appeared in the alley way at the side of the Albert. Aren’t they persistant. I think they’re trying to make a point, would you agree.
Comments are closed.