You are viewing the content for Thursday 2 February 2006

Alonso slip-up earns 10-man Brummies point

God

Liverpool 1 Birmingham 1
By Paul Walke
EVEN Robbie Fowler could not produce the miracle to save Liverpool as they failed to beat 10-man Birmingham.

Fowler entered the action just past the hour mark, after Liverpool had taken the lead through Steven Gerrard’s 17th goal of the season.

But Birmingham, who had Damien Johnson sent off for a heavy tackle on Daniel Agger in the first half, refused to give up and were rewarded when Xabi Alonso gave away a freak own goal. He let Chris Sutton’s header bounce off his chest a couple of yards out and the ball wrong-footed a surprised Jose Reina.

Cue Fowler as Liverpool piled forward, Dietmar Hamann hit the bar and the returning hero saw a dramatic overhead kick crash past Maik Taylor with seconds of injury time left. The Kop erupted, but it turned to groans as a linesman’s flag correctly signalled that Fowler was offside.

Hence, Liverpool saw their eight-match streak of home league wins end and Birmingham poached a point that could be crucial to them as the relegation battle unfolds.

They played the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah over the tannoy as Fowler - the man the Kop call God - walked off the pitch at Anfield after his return to the club he left four years ago.

While Fowler started on the bench, there was a debut for new Danish defender Aggar as Hamann and Luis Garcia also returned to the side. Birmingham had a debut boy of their own in the form of Czech star Martin Latka, with recent signing Sutton up front.

Referee Uriah Rennie took a hand in the proceedings after 28 minutes when he produced an instant red card after Johnson’s foot caught Agger on the knee as they both threw themselves at the ball.

Rennie was only a few feet away and had no doubt about the decision. Birmingham protested, but to no avail. TV replays showed Johnson’s foot high but perhaps without as much intent as Rennie felt was there.

Six minutes later, Birmingham lost Dunn, clearly troubled by an injury to his right leg, and Stan Lazaridis came on.

Liverpool’s breakthrough arrived after 62, minutes when Gerrard exchanged passes with Morientes, took the return ball from the Spaniard and forced it through a forest of legs into the net.

Before the restart, Fowler rose from the bench to tremendous acclaim, and a standing ovation, to take over from Crouch. Birmingham replaced the injured Kilkenny with Olivier Tebily at the same time. Xabi Alonso, meanwhile, replaced Gerrard on 72 minutes.

Two minutes from time, Pennant’s cross was headed down into the six-yard box by Sutton, only for Alonso to make his howling error, resulting in a goal that sent Birmingham fans wild.

Fowler’s dramatic overhead kick looked to have provided the returning hero with the perfect start to phase two of his Liverpool career. But an alert linesman denied him, and Liverpool were left to rue several misses.

LIVERPOOL: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Agger, Riise, Luis Garcia, Gerrard (Alonso 72), Hamann, Kewell, Crouch (Fowler 63), Morientes.

BIRMINGHAM: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Latka, Upson, Gray, Pennant, Kilkenny (Tebily 64), Johnson, Dunn (Lazaridis 34), Heskey, Sutton, Lazaridis (Bruce 90).

Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).

 

Alonso slip-up earns 10-man Brummies point

God

Liverpool 1 Birmingham 1
By Paul Walke
EVEN Robbie Fowler could not produce the miracle to save Liverpool as they failed to beat 10-man Birmingham.

Fowler entered the action just past the hour mark, after Liverpool had taken the lead through Steven Gerrard’s 17th goal of the season.

But Birmingham, who had Damien Johnson sent off for a heavy tackle on Daniel Agger in the first half, refused to give up and were rewarded when Xabi Alonso gave away a freak own goal. He let Chris Sutton’s header bounce off his chest a couple of yards out and the ball wrong-footed a surprised Jose Reina.

Cue Fowler as Liverpool piled forward, Dietmar Hamann hit the bar and the returning hero saw a dramatic overhead kick crash past Maik Taylor with seconds of injury time left. The Kop erupted, but it turned to groans as a linesman’s flag correctly signalled that Fowler was offside.

Hence, Liverpool saw their eight-match streak of home league wins end and Birmingham poached a point that could be crucial to them as the relegation battle unfolds.

They played the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah over the tannoy as Fowler - the man the Kop call God - walked off the pitch at Anfield after his return to the club he left four years ago.

While Fowler started on the bench, there was a debut for new Danish defender Aggar as Hamann and Luis Garcia also returned to the side. Birmingham had a debut boy of their own in the form of Czech star Martin Latka, with recent signing Sutton up front.

Referee Uriah Rennie took a hand in the proceedings after 28 minutes when he produced an instant red card after Johnson’s foot caught Agger on the knee as they both threw themselves at the ball.

Rennie was only a few feet away and had no doubt about the decision. Birmingham protested, but to no avail. TV replays showed Johnson’s foot high but perhaps without as much intent as Rennie felt was there.

Six minutes later, Birmingham lost Dunn, clearly troubled by an injury to his right leg, and Stan Lazaridis came on.

Liverpool’s breakthrough arrived after 62, minutes when Gerrard exchanged passes with Morientes, took the return ball from the Spaniard and forced it through a forest of legs into the net.

Before the restart, Fowler rose from the bench to tremendous acclaim, and a standing ovation, to take over from Crouch. Birmingham replaced the injured Kilkenny with Olivier Tebily at the same time. Xabi Alonso, meanwhile, replaced Gerrard on 72 minutes.

Two minutes from time, Pennant’s cross was headed down into the six-yard box by Sutton, only for Alonso to make his howling error, resulting in a goal that sent Birmingham fans wild.

Fowler’s dramatic overhead kick looked to have provided the returning hero with the perfect start to phase two of his Liverpool career. But an alert linesman denied him, and Liverpool were left to rue several misses.

LIVERPOOL: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Agger, Riise, Luis Garcia, Gerrard (Alonso 72), Hamann, Kewell, Crouch (Fowler 63), Morientes.

BIRMINGHAM: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Latka, Upson, Gray, Pennant, Kilkenny (Tebily 64), Johnson, Dunn (Lazaridis 34), Heskey, Sutton, Lazaridis (Bruce 90).

Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).