Reds held by Blues
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 24/09/05 1:43pm
Liverpool and Birmingham played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at St Andrews on Saturday.
After a dull first half, substitute Luis Garcia put The Reds ahead on 68 minutes, before two errors from Rafa Benitez's side saw them 2-1 down.
Stephen Warnock firstly headed into his own net just four minutes after going in front, and then Pepe Reina's bad mistake in spilling Emile Heskey's header allowed Walter Pandiani to prod home from close range.
However, the final period of the game saw Neil Kilkenny sent off for handball on the line allowing Djibril Cisse to level from the penalty spot, and Liverpool had two headers cleared off the line as they searched for a winner.
Liverpool had an early chance inside two minutes when a long ball to Peter Crouch was knocked down the lanky strike to Steven Gerrard, but the skipper could not get a clean shot in on goal.
Emile Heskey had a glorious chance on 25 minutes when a Birmingham up-and-under dropped to him after some hesitation between Sami Hyppia and Jamie Carragher, but the former Liverpool marksman's shot was saved by Reina's legs.
Gerrard came close to breaking the deadlock just before the half hour when he collected Crouch's delicate lay-off before firing a vicious left-footed effort onto the post with Maik Taylor well beaten.
Blues were visibly growing in stature in the second half and they started to push Liverpool back - in part due to a number of mistakes being made by the European champions.
Spanish keeper Reina made a real hash of an attempted punch from a deflected cross which looped high into the air, but Mikael Forssell's control let him down when he had a great chance to get a shot in on goal.
The breakthrough did come on 68 minutes when substitute Garcia latched on to Gerrard's superb through ball to slot past Taylor.
However, the lead was to last just four minutes as Julian Gray's cross from the right after a corner was flicked into his own net by Stephen Warnock, although Reina did not cover himself in glory as the ball flew past his hands.
Reina was definitely at fault as Blues took the lead on 76 minutes, when he spilled Heskey's tame header and allowed Walter Pandiani to prod the ball home from close range.
Liverpool were now chasing the game and only a superb header off the line from Jamie Clapham stopped Garcia from heading in a second goal for The Reds.
More drama was in store eight minutes from time when Neil Kilkenny was sent off on his Premiership debut for slapping Carragher's header off the line with his hand after the ball had bounced down off the bar.
Substitute Djibril Cisse stepped up and sent Taylor the wrong way from the resultant penalty to restore parity at 2-2.
Still, a pulsating end to the game had more action as Cisse whipped in a great cross for Crouch but he could only head narrowly over after straining his massive frame to get to the ball.
Crouch again could have won it two minutes from the end when he headed towards goal from a corner only for Clapham to head off the line for a second time to earn a point for the hosts.
|Birmingham City||Team Name||Liverpool|
|4||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||6|
|0||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||9|
|16||Total Fouls Conceded||15|
Barclays Premier League
|5||West Ham United||18||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||18||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||18||17|