Reina rescues Reds to force stalemate

BIRMINGHAM CITY (0) vs LIVERPOOL (0)

LIVERPOOL boss Roy Hodgson was indebted to goalkeeper Pepe Reina as his side avoided a second defeat of the season.

The Spanish international pulled off fine reflex saves to deny Cameron Jerome and Craig Gardner as Alex McLeish’s men were denied a deserved three points at St Andrews.

The Blues were also left to rue a number of missed chances as the visitors held on to ensure this fixture ended in stalemate for a record seventh successive time.

“Pepe is one of the best keepers in the world and it showed,” said Blues striker Jerome. “It’s one of those things and you take it on the chin.”

Relieved Hodgson added: “They played extremely well in the first half.

“We started well but the final 15 minutes before half-time they pressurized the ball well and made life very difficult and we were depending on two very good saves from Pepe Reina.

“It was a good performance by Birmingham and I’m not too disappointed with our performance either. We kept to our task well.”

That said, it won’t have gone unnoticed by Hodgson that lacklustre Liverpool only carved out one chance of note – Fernando Torres seeing an angled shot blocked by Blues keeper Ben Foster.

But they did look brighter on the introduction of midfielder Raul Meireles, who came on for his Reds debut following his £11m move from Porto.

Birmingham, protecting a 16-match unbeaten record at home in the league, were strong at the back and inventive up front.

But they simply couldn’t find a way past Reina, who followed up a superb diving save to deny Jerome’s header with an equally acrobatic effort to keep out a downward header from Gardner from Stephen Carr’s cross.