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Premier League preview: Liverpool v Birmingham

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Apr 2011

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Birmingham face a tough challenge away to Liverpool on Saturday as they look to secure valuable points in the battle to avoid the drop.

Alex McLeish’s Birmingham side endured a poor run of form – losing three out of four English Premier League matches – after winning the Carling Cup in February.

Two wins and a draw in their last four outings have seen the team climb to 15th in the table, five points clear of the relegation zone.

But their revival came to an end with a 3-1 defeat at home to defending champions Chelsea on Wednesday.

Away from home and up against an in-form Liverpool at Anfield, they would appear hard pressed to bounce back at the first opportunity.

Kenny Dalglish’s team have lost just once in their past five league matches.

They are unbeaten at home in all competitions under the crowd favourite, who took over in January.

Liverpool drew 1-1 away to Arsenal on Sunday, with Dirk Kuyt’s penalty 12 minutes into injury time cancelling out a Cesc Fabregas spot-kick four minutes earlier.

The draw put a serious dent in Arsenal’s fading title aspirations, the latest coup in a successful return to the managerial hot seat for Scotsman Dalglish.

He has guided the club from the lower reaches of the table to sixth place, five points behind Tottenham and seven behind Manchester City, both of whom have played one match fewer than Liverpool.

The hosts have a number of injury concerns in defence, with fullback Glen Johnson, centre-back Daniel Agger and youngster Martin Kelly all out.

Central midfielder and captain Steven Gerrard will miss the rest of the season with a groin injury.

Veteran defender Jamie Carragher and striker Andy Carroll were both forced out of the Arsenal match with injury and are in doubt as a consequence.

Birmingham also have a full treatment room.

Defenders Scott Dann and Martin Jiranek and forwards Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins are all doubtful.

Unused midfielder Enric Valles and forward James McFadden are not expected to play this season.

Reserve goalkeeper Maik Taylor is sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder problem.

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