Liverpool 5-0 Birmingham
Soccer Saturday analysis
Birmingham may be four points clear of the bottom three but Paul Merson was left fearing for their safety after they were thrashed at Anfield.
A hat-trick from Maxi Rodrigues and singles from Dirk Kuyt condemned the Blues to their worst ever Premier League defeat.
The three points kept Liverpool firmly in the hunt for fourth spot, but Merson believes there are some worrying times ahead for Alex McLeish over the coming weeks.
The Blues manager saw Ben Foster taken off with a back problem at 2-0 down and replacement Colin Doyle concede three times in the second half.
They can all but secure their Premier League future with a win in their next game against fellow strugglers Wolves, but Merson says that is anything but a formality.
"It's a local derby, they're at home, but the pressure's on," he told Soccer Saturday.
"Foster went off and Doyle made a major mistake for Joe Cole's goal at the near post and that would be a worry. We all know local derbies can go any way so they're not out of trouble yet.
"It's very rare that a team gets beat 5-0 and they're unlucky. But to be fair Birmingham had a spell, especially when they went 1-0 down. when they did well.
"But after that Liverpool weren't great and they won the game. That would be a bit worrying for me if I was Alex McLeish."
In contrast, Liverpool are flying high under Kenny Dalglish and made it seven points from their last three games following the win over Manchester City and the draw at Arsenal.
The win was a personal triumph for Argentina international Rodriguez.
He has struggled to win over the Anfield faithful at times this season but grabbed a hat-trick to end a goal drought that dates back to December 6th last year.
"He did well," said Merson.
"The first one was a shot spilt by Foster and he reacted quickest; the second one was a great ball by (Luis) Suarez - some of his touches you'd pay to watch - who just dinked it to the far post for a side-foot volley.
"The last one again, he was the one that shot from outside the box, the goalkeeper saved it, Kuyt missed it and he followed in. It was a good hat-trick.
"You look at Liverpool three or four months ago and now... they're playing like a top-four team."