<strong>LIVERPOOL (2)</strong> vs <strong>BIRMINGHAM CITY (2)</strong><br /><br />LIVERPOOL boss Rafael Benitez admitted striker David Ngog “probably” dived for the penalty that earned his struggling side a precious draw.<br /><br />Birmingham looked set to heap yet more pressure on the under-fire Reds boss when goals from Christian Benitez and Cameron Jerome put the visitors 2-1 up.<br /><br />But substitute Steven Gerrard salvaged a point after Ngog, who had put Liverpool ahead early on, tumbled over Lee Carsley’s challenge.<br /><br />It was still not enough to lift the gloom at Anfield after a match that leaves Liverpool, with just one win in nine games, in seventh place and 11 points off the top.<br /><br />But it might have been worse without the controversial equaliser. Replays showed Carsley did not appear to touch Ngog, leading the Blues skipper to call it “an embarrassing case of cheating”.<br /><br />Benitez revealed the French forward had told him the decision might have been questionable, but insisted his team’s performance had merited all three points anyway.<br /><br />“We scored with a penalty that probably wasn’t a penalty, but we deserved to win the game,” said the Spaniard. “It was clear, it was not a penalty, even if that works against us. There have been many times this season that we have not been awarded penalties we should have had. I have asked Ngog and he said that maybe it wasn’t a penalty either.”<br /><br />A frustrated Carsley had earlier said: “I was absolutely nowhere near him. It’s a joke. That is an embarrassing case of cheating.”<br /><br />Birmingham manager Alex McLeish added: “There is no real debate, Ngog has dived to win his team a penalty. It happens in the game and has done for years and years.”<br /><br />The night started well enough for Liverpool, despite being without injured top scorer Fernando Torres and captain Gerrard having to start on the bench. In the 13 minute right-back Glen Johnson pulled back for Ngog, whose initial shot was saved by Joe Hart. But when Albert Riera found Ngog again at the back post, the youngster gave Hart no chance, thumping a left-foot volley into the roof of the net.<br /><br />Birmingham were soon level, however, Ecuador striker Benitez nodding his first for the club after a series of headers in the Reds box. And Jerome put them ahead on the stroke of half-time with a venomous shot that beat Pepe Reina from long range.<br /><br />Liverpool threw on Gerrard as they pressed for a leveller, and the midfielder soon headed onto the post. But it took a moment of controversy to deliver a penalty, which Gerrard duly despatched.