Blues frustrate Reds in 4th spot setback
By Mark Allaway
Monday 05 Apr 2010 12:26:00
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Liverpool were frustrated by Birmingham City at St Andrews yesterday, a 1-1 draw further denting their ambitions to chase down the fourth Champions League spot in the Premiership table.

Rafael Benitez had one eye on Thursdays crucial second leg against Benfica but still fielded captain Steven Gerrard, who grabbed the opener only to be cancelled out by Liam Ridgewell nine minutes later.


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Sandwhiched between two European ties Rafa Benitez made three changes as Javier Mascherano, Ryan Babel and Daniel Agger dropped to the bench.
But Fernando Torres was not rested and was first to find range, but curled a shot high and wide.
The Spaniard thern turned provider for Maxi Rodriguez and the Argentnian poked a shot at goal that was turned onto the bar by Birmingham 'keeper Joe Hart.
Cameron Jerome, who scored against the Reds last season, then stung the palms of Pepe Reina with as fierce drive from the angle, with Roger Johnson heading the resulting corner over.
But it was a corner at the other end that brought the opener, as two minutes into the second half a Gerrard delivery was cleared to Glen Johnson who scuffed a shot terribly that found its way out to the captain- who then bent a ferocious strike into the far corner of the net.
The lead lasted less than ten minutes though as slack defending allowed Ridgewell to drift in unnoticed behind the Reds backline and bundle in James McFadden's cross.
Then came the substitution that lead to all sides of the ground booing- Torres had faced an icy reception from the home crowd all game but they were joined by the visiting supporters as they disagreed with Benitez's decision to swap Torres for David N'Gog.
Almost instantly N'Gog found a chance, Johnson's ball in sitting up nicely as the Frenchman could only nod wide.
And the miss was almost penalised as Lee Bowyer was guilty of a shocking miss at the other end as he failed to connect with Ridgewell's cross.
N'Gog then flashed a shot wide again, Gerrard shot over, Maxi flashed over, Babel hit the side netting then N'Gog chested down a Gerrard long ball superbly but failed to connect properly and the Reds saw their final chance bobble into Joe Hart's arms.
The draw is a massive set back, and both Tottenham and Manchester City have a game in hand as well as point barriers over the Reds in the race for fourth.

 

 

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