pleads for patience
Jose Reina has called for patience over
Liverpool's prospects of challenging for honours this
And the Reds keeper believes matters may not alter until the
club's ownership situation is resolved.
Roy Hodgson's side failed to impress in their goalless draw
at Birmingham yesterday when only a fine display by Reina
denied the home side victory.
They are already seven points adrift of leaders Chelsea
after just four matches and face an uphill battle to reclaim
a Champions League spot.
Reina said: "We have to make sure that people don't think of
winning the league or being in the top four already at this
"It is going to take a while. We have got to get used to the
new players and then the system.
"There are many good teams and our target is to be up there
but we have to be realistic.
"Is a Champions League spot realistic this season? I don't
know. We will find out at the end of the season what we can
"Of course, we have to challenge for being up there. Maybe
it will take a while."
Reina added: "No-one has patience nowadays. We are just
asking for a little bit.
"We did not spend much money and in football to compete with
the others sometimes it is important to do it.
"We couldn't. We sold some players and we used the money for
buying some others.
"It's going to be like this for a little while until we sort
out the (owners) situation.
"All we believe is that we have to win the next game and
game and after game and don't think about the end of the
"We just have to concentrate on the next game and take it
"April and May is the time to talk about targets."
shows Torres support
Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson was quick to
defend Fernando Torres following Sunday's goalless draw with
Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool player Jamie Redknapp
was critical of the striker's performance as the Reds failed
to find the back of the net at St Andrew's.
But Hodgson insists he was satisfied with the Spanish World
Cup winner's display, and has tipped the 26-year-old to
improve as the season goes on.
"Fernando came into the centre on a few occasions and, when
he did that, he caused havoc," said Hodgson.
"You've got to give the back four of Birmingham credit. They
worked very hard to contain him and pressurise him.
"But he is looking much fitter with every game and I thought
he looked dangerous and I thought, the longer the game went,
the stronger he became.
"I think he is working hard for the team. He is a constant
thorn in the side of defenders.
"We know he lacks match training. He missed matches at the
end of last year and during the World Cup.
"But I'm not at all concerned about Fernando Torres. He will
get better and better."
a different class
Birmingham midfielder Barry Ferguson
believes Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina was all that stood
between Blues and three points on Sunday.
Reina made a series of fantastic saves as the Premier League
match finished 0-0 at St Andrew's.
"The goalkeeper was outstanding," Ferguson told Sky Sports.
"He made three or four great saves. I think we deserved to
win the game, but the goalkeeper was outstanding."
It is a measure of Birmingham's progress that they felt
disappointed to have drawn with Liverpool, but their
fantastic home record means they do not fear anyone at St
"We're always confident, we have a great record at home and
you could see today the work ethic of the team - it's
outstanding," Ferguson added.
"We don't get enough credit for the way we try to play. We
play good football and we're disappointed not to get the
three points, although a point against Liverpool is not
Cameron Jerome was one of the players denied by a great
Reina save as he looked to have found the net with a
"Pepe is one of the best keepers in the world and it
showed," he said. "He made three or four brilliant saves,
and barring that we walk away with the three points.
"It's one of those things and you take it on the chin."
Blues boss Alex McLeish praised his players for the effort
they put in.
"The players were magnificent. They created four or five
chances and we restricted Liverpool and gave some great
players very little," he said.
"The players put in a phenomenal shift.
"We're maybe just lacking that out-and-out goalscorer, but
most of the lads will get their fair share of goals this
season if we're playing like that."
Pepe Reina was in inspired form as
Liverpool held Birmingham to a goalless stalemate at St
The Spaniard produced three top-class pieces of goal-keeping
in the first period to keep his side in the game, first
denying Cameron Jerome's goal-bound header with a great
reaction save in the 23rd minute.
He then punched away Sebastian Larsson's cross ahead of the
advancing Jerome, before making another fine reaction save
to deny Craig Gardner's header.
Liverpool improved after the break, but Birmingham's
unmarked Scott Dann headed the best chance over the bar as
the game ended as a stalemate.
On this evidence, new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has plenty
of work to do to make the Merseysiders a force to be
Darren Ferguson and Gardner bossed the midfield while James
McFadden and Jerome linked well up front.
Reds skipper Steven Gerrard tried to spark his side into
life but Fernando Torres still looks short of full sharpness
with Dann excellent at the back for Birmingham.
The first decent chance fell to Torres after 12 minutes
after Glen Johnson made a good break down the right flank
before sending in a low cross.
But the Spaniard failed to make a clean contact on his
attempted shot which he dragged a couple of yards wide.
Reina kept Liverpool on level terms with a superb reflex
save away to his right to keep out Jerome's powerful header
from Lee Bowyer's left-wing centre.
Blues midfielder Gardner became the first - and only -
player to be yellow carded after 29 minutes for a challenge
on Lucas Leiva.
Birmingham continued to look the more dangerous and Gardner
dinked a shot over the bar after being teed up by Larsson.
Reina then punched away Larsson's cross ahead of the
advancing Jerome before making another outstanding save to
keep out a close range header from Gardner after another
dangerous cross from Larsson.
In a rare threat to the home goal, Roger Johnson's tackle
prevented Torres from turning and shooting from inside the
Roger Johnson then missed a good chance when he turned a
Ferguson cross over from close range.
Blues keeper Ben Foster made his first save in the opening
minute of the second half in clinging onto a dipping drive
But City were soon back on the attack and Liam Ridgewell had
a powerful header blocked from a Larsson free-kick.
Paul Konchesky got forward to good effect for the first time
and his pass almost played in Milan Jovanovic but he failed
to take the ball in his stride.
But Liverpool continued to look uncomfortable at the back
and Dann missed another good chance for the home side.
He found himself unmarked from a Larsson free-kick but his
downward header bounced over the crossbar.
The Reds enjoyed their best spell of the game and Foster
beat out a rising shot from a narrow angle by Torres after
he had been found in space by Gerrard.
Another chance went begging for the home side when Jerome
headed wide at the far post from Stephen Carr's cross after
Konchesky had given the ball away.
Raul Meireles made his Liverpool debut after 76 minutes in
place of Lucas. Two minutes later Konchesky limped off to be
replaced by Daniel Agger.
Reina again did well in racing out of his area to chest
clear from Jerome, while Foster went down to keep out a late
drive from Torres as the game ended as a draw.