23 September 2007


BBC 22 September 2007

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez left Fernando Torres out of his starting line-up and paid the price again as Birmingham earned a point at Anfield.
Torres looked a cut above the rest of Liverpool's strikers when he emerged on the hour, but Birmingham's defence had established the platform for a point.
John Arne Riise was just off target and Steven Gerrard's shot was kicked off the line in a lacklustre display. Torres' over-head kick was inches over, but Birmingham deservedly held on.
Benitez surprisingly preferred Ryan Babel to £26m Torres, and his side lacked punch in the opening 45 minutes.
Riise posed the main danger with a shot across the face of goal and a rising shot off target. Birmingham suffered a setback after 10 minutes when Borja Oubina, signed on loan from Celta Vigo, was stretchered off with what looked like a serious knee injury.
Former Birmingham winger Jermaine Pennant had a 20-yard drive turned over by Maik Taylor, but otherwise Steve Bruce's side survived in relative comfort. Liverpool showed a greater purpose after the break, with Gerrard having a shot turned off the line by Mehdi Nafti following Pennant's corner.
Andriy Voronin saw a shot saved by Taylor before Torres was finally introduced for the disappointing Babel. Peter Crouch was sent on with 17 minutes left in place of Voronin, but a moment of magic from Torres almost broke the deadlock. The Spain striker produced a brilliant bicycle kick from Pennant's cross that flew only inches over the bar.
Birmingham had barely been seen as an attacking force, but Gary McSheffrey wasted a chance with 10 minutes to go, shooting wildly off target when well placed. Torres' flick then set up Crouch in the area, but the England striker hesitated and Stephen Kelly produced a superb saving tackle.
utusanLFC : Birmingham did the defending splendidly and annoyingly with 10 guys parked infront of the goal post. LFC tried and tried, even Carra ventured often near the penalty box... showing how confident he can leave his post, in order to try helping his mates. But of course, when an opponent team come over your place with no intention to win... just a mere one point or may be, lost with a goal... surely it is difficult. But again... LFC is becoming more and more like the team we have known yesteryears... they win when we expect them to lose, and they failed to win when we expect them to do so... hmmm....

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