After The Match 


Birmingham-Liverpool 0-1 (0-1)    08.11.06     Carling Cup - 4.r.
Goals: Agger (45)
Team: Dudek, Warnock, Agger, Paletta, Peltier, Sissoko, Zenden, Pennant, Gonzalez, Bellamy, Fowler (c)
Subs: Alonso (Sissoko 27), Kuyt (Fowler 72), Guthrie (Bellamy 89)
Not used: Martin, Carragher
Yellow: Paletta (54)                       Nafti (13), Jaidi (63), Larsson (88)
Red: None
Referee: H Webb
Attendance: 23,061
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Fouls conceded:
HEADLINES "It will be harder without Momo, but
we can make
it work."
       Xabi Alonso

0911: Alonso: Momo injury a massive blow
0911: Paletta: Don't compare me to Carra
0911: Sissoko likely to be out until New Year
0811: Agger goal helps Reds edge through


Alonso: Momo injury a massive blow

By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website

Xabi Alonso admits Momo Sissoko's latest injury setback has come as a massive blow to the club - but he insists they will be able to cope without their influential midfielder.

Sissoko dislocated his shoulder during last night's Carling Cup victory at Birmingham and faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

With the Mali midfielder a virtual ever present in Rafael Benitez's first team plans this season, Alonso accepts the Reds will have to reorganise to compensate for his absence.

"We'll have to wait and see how long he's out, but it doesn't look very good," said the Spanish midfielder.

"If he's out, it's clear we'll have to change something in the team. There are times when we've played without him before and we've still managed to get good results.

"But now we will have to think of a new system and I'm sure Rafa will do something.

"Stevie and I have played together in the middle a lot. Sometimes it's worked really well and other times we've had some problems.

"We know we need to work together to find the balance which is important for the team.

"Stevie has massive qualities. He has an ability to get into the box and we have to make sure he's still able to do that because that's where he works so well.

"If the team is compact and we work as hard and show the same form we did last season, I'm sure the identity of the players in the position isn't important. It will be harder without Momo, but we can make it work."

Paletta: Don't compare me to Carra

By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website

Gabriel Paletta has laughed off suggestions he is the next Jamie Carragher but admitted he can't wait for more chances to show the Liverpool fans what he can do.

The Argentine centre-back put in another impressive Carling Cup display against Birmingham alongside Daniel Agger on Wednesday.

"It is nice to know that people see us as the future of the club," Paletta told LFC Magazine.

"I just want to play as many matches as I can and see how it goes. I am realistic though, and know that every new young player has to go through a period of adaptation.

"Daniel Agger went through it and is doing well this season. I just hope it goes as soon as possible for me.

"Everybody has said that I am like Carragher and Daniel is more like Hyypia. There are maybe parts of our games that remind people of those two but it is not for me to compare myself to a player of Jamie Carragher's quality.

"Perhaps when I play more and people get to see me properly they will talk about Gabriel Paletta."

The 20-year-old, who arrived from Banfield in the summer, also revealed the club's senior centre-backs have taken him under their wing.

He said: "Sami and Jamie have been great in training. They are always teaching me things about positioning and the language of defending. For a young, developing player like myself this is of great importance."

Sissoko likely to be out until New Year

By Nick Smith - Daily Post

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is facing up to the prospect of being without Mohamed Sissoko until the New Year.

The influential midfielder dislocated his shoulder at St Andrews last night, as Liverpool reached the Carling Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City.

Sissoko fell awkwardly in a challenge with City's Mehdi Nafti in the 22nd minute of the fourth round tie, and was stretchered off after receiving five minutes of treatment.

He was kept in hospital overnight to examine the extent of the damage but Benitez said: "At this stage, it's safe to say he will be out for a month. It may be more, I hope not a lot more, but we'll see.

"It could be that we'll have to run until January with the players we've got, which we are happy with because they are good players.

"But when you lose someone like Momo who plays in every game, it's a blow."

Benitez also expressed his sympathy for the personal plight of Sissoko who missed a long spell of last season with a serious eye injury.

He made his return from that lay-off wearing a protective mask in Liverpool's 7-0 win in the FA Cup at Birmingham in March.

The manager added: "He's unlucky with the type of injuries he has, they are not common.

"We haven't seen a replay of the incident but it seems to be an accident.

"It was clear that he couldn't go on because normally he doesn't like to stay down."

Daniel Agger scored Liverpool's winner as they won away on English soil for the first time this season.

Craig Bellamy also had a penalty saved by Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor in an exciting Cup clash.

Benitez said: "It's bad news about Sissoko's injury, but it's good news that we are in the next round.

"It's clear that we had chances to score more goals and finish off the game but we didn't concede a goal because of a great save from Jerzy.

"So for the supporters, it was a good game and it was a difficult game for us, very very tough."

Bellamy was also guilty of a couple of glaring misses in open play, but Benitez praised his striker's work rate.

He added: "Craig was working really hard, but he didn't have the luck with those two or three chances in front of goal.

"He is a striker and so if he keeps working as hard as he is now, he will score goals.

"It was a good chance for him because it was a penalty and the goalkeeper was on the ground before he hit it, but at the end of the day I'm thinking about the next round and I'm happy because we are through."

Benitez however, is wary of Chelsea and Arsenal also being in Saturday's draw for the last eight, after both won their respective ties last night.

Benitez said: "There are a lot of good teams in it, so we'll see what happens in the draw.

"But I'm pleased we because we got there using different players who played really well and worked hard."

The draw for the Carling Cup quarterfinals will be made at Saturday lunchtime live on Sky Sports.

Meanwhile Birmingham manager Steve Bruce said: "We had two or three good opportunities - you have to take them but Maik Taylor kept us in it with the penalty save."

Bruce added: "The league is the bread and butter - we've got a couple of huge games coming up at home now."

Agger goal helps Reds edge through


Daniel Agger's goal in first-half stoppage time secured Liverpool's place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory at Birmingham.

Blues had been humiliated 7-0 on the same ground in an FA Cup tie last season - the lowest point of Steve Bruce's managerial career.

This tie was a far more competitive affair against a Reds side who made nine changes from the starting line-up against Reading at the weekend - although the visitors were worthy winners.

Several Birmingham players appeared to throw in the towel on that ill-fated March night but the current side showed plenty of effort and determination.

But Danish international Agger's second goal of the current campaign was sufficient to earn the Merseysiders a place in the quarter-finals.

Birmingham occasionally threatened and looked more lively when Nicklas Bendtner and Gary McSheffrey were brought on up front for the final half hour.

But Liverpool were by far the better side in the second 45 minutes and Craig Bellamy could have notched a hat-trick - and saw a penalty saved by Maik Taylor.

The first chance fell to Steve Bruce's side after six minutes when Cameron Jerome battled for the ball before it fell invitingly to Julian Gray - but he fired over the bar when Reds goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek should have at least been tested.

Liverpool threatened for the first time when Mark Gonzalez exchanged passes with Boudewijn Zenden before unleashing a fierce drive which flew inches wide of Taylor's goal.

Blues midfielder Mehdi Nafti became the first player to be yellow-carded a minute later after a challenge in the centre circle on Zenden.

Liverpool enjoyed a spell of concerted pressure and recalled striker Robbie Fowler completely miskicked when attempting to convert a cross from Lee Peltier.

Liverpool were forced into a substitution after 26 minutes when, after a lengthy delay, Mohamed Sissoko was stretchered off with what appeared to be a dislocated right shoulder after he had fallen awkwardly following a challenge by Nafti.

The visitors were looking more threatening and the impressive Gonzalez exchanged passes with former Blues favourite Jermaine Pennant after taking a short corner - and his powerful cross-shot was deflected just past Taylor's far post.

Birmingham produced their best chance of the opening half after 44 minutes when Martin Taylor made a run down the left flank before sending over a low cross for DJ Campbell to run onto but he was denied at point blank range by Dudek.

But in the fifth of seven minutes of stoppage time Liverpool finally went ahead through Agger, who had the space to lash the ball into the roof of the net from close range after the hosts had failed to deal with a corner from Pennant.

Liverpool suddenly stepped up a gear at the start of the second period and began to carve open the Birmingham defence almost at will.

A cross from Gabriel Paletta picked out Bellamy, whose shot lobbed up into the hands of Maik Taylor after he had initially gone down in anticipation of a low effort from the Welsh international.

Maik Taylor then had to scramble across his goal-line to keep out a fiercely driven effort from Gonzalez at the base of a post.

The Northern Ireland number one also dealt with a long range attempt by Zenden as Liverpool started to dominate proceedings.

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce made a double substitution just before the hour mark replacing the front duo of Jerome and Campbell with McSheffrey and Bendtner.

Liverpool had the chance to double their lead after 64 minutes when Jaidi was adjudged to have fouled Gonzalez after a surging run.

But Maik Taylor kept Birmingham in contention by comfortably saving Bellamy's penalty low to his left.

Bellamy appeared to miskick with the goal at his mercy from Zenden's low centre, before Nafti showed his frustration when being replaced by Fabrice Muamba - heading straight for the dressing room and kicking an advertising hoarding before disappearing down the tunnel.

Gray could have taken the game into extra-time when he shot straight at Dudek from close range, before Bellamy dragged a low shot across goal.

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Thor Zakariassen