BBC Sport Online
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier praised the
contribution of under-fire striker Emile Heskey after
the 3-1 victory over Birmingham on Sunday.
Heskey scored Liverpool's third - only his third league
goal of the season - with an acrobatic volley as
Liverpool moved into their highest Premiership position
for almost three months.
Houllier said: "Emile's effort was outstanding. He does
that sort of thing every week in training, and I am
pleased for him because he gets so much stick all the
Liverpool had to come from behind after Mikael Forssell
gave Birmingham the lead.
Steven Gerrard equalised with a disputed penalty within
two minutes and Liverpool confirmed their superiority
with second-half goals from Harry Kewell and Heskey.
Houllier added: "The table looks a lot healthier now,
but to be fair we should have been in this position
before, we have lost about six points we should have
"But this was a good three points, and a good win.
Considering we played a European game on Thursday I was
very pleased with the effort and workrate.
"We started well but they were on top and doing well
when they scored. That was a wake-up call for us.
"At half-time I told them they had to be realistic and
they had to get going. I said they had not used up much
energy before the break so they should find it
"And what they produced was a performance of energy and
fumes at penalty
Steve Bruce was left fuming after Birmingham's 3-1
defeat at Liverpool claiming a penalty for the home side
turned the game.
Birmingham took the lead against the run of play in an
even first half, but that was cancelled out by Steven
Gerrard's penalty after Kenny Cunnigham had pulled down
Florent Sinama-Pongolle inside the box.
Referee Neal Barry gave the spot-kick and Bruce believes
that turned the game against the visitors.
Bruce says the penalty was a 'soft' decision and that it
gave Liverpool the edge as they went on to win the match
in the second half.
"We bleat on about referees but I doubt it would have be
given at the other end," fumed Bruce
"To say it was soft was an understatement. I think
everyone in the ground would agree with me and say that
it was a soft penalty.
"But that's changed the game and given them the boost to
go on and win the game.
"We've come here and competed and given them a good game
but in my opinion the penalty has ruined the game for
Bruce's side have endured a slump after a great start to
the season, but he says they have faced some tough
opposition and is now looking to pick up again heading
"We started well but we haven't done as well in the last
month and picked up the points I think we deserved.
"We've had a tough month and there has been a lot of
"It's important now that we get back to winning ways and
start doing what we were good at at the start of the
Reds comeback sinks Blues
Liverpool came from a goal down to earn a 3-1 win
over Birmingham City at Anfield on Sunday.
striker Mikael Forssell shocked the hosts by putting
Blues ahead against the run of play on 33 minutes, but
the lead lasted just two minutes and Steven Gerrard's
penalty restored parity before The Reds stepped up a
gear in the second half and Harry Kewell's header and
Emile Heskey's superb volley gave them a well-earned 3-1
The home side started brightly and applied most of the
early pressure, with Igor Biscan flashing his far post
header across the face of goal after ten minute but
nobody was there to put the ball in.
Kewell celebrates his goal.
Blues nearly shocked Anfield with a breakaway goal
six minute later when Sami Hyypia's dreadful back-pass
allowed Christophe Dugarry to race in on goal but his
heavy touch allowed Chris Kirkland to close him down and
the ball went harmlessly wide.
Kirkland then had to be alert to turn away a Stan
Lazaridis header before Harry Kewell had a header of his
own that went just over the bar.
Steve Bruce's side then took the lead largely against
the run of play when Robbie Savage's free kick found
Mikael Forssell at the far post and he poked the ball in
from close range after poor marking from Djimir Traore.
The lead lasted just two minutes as Liverpool drew level
from the penalty spot after Florent Sinama-Pongolle was
wrestled to the ground by Kenny Cunningham.
Referee Neal Barry pointed to the spot and Reds skipper
Steven Gerrard stepped forward and took the
responsibility of drawing his side level - and did so by
dispatching the ball under Ian Bennett.
Gerard Houllier's side stepped up a gear in the second
half and duly took the lead after 69 minutes when John
Arne Riise supplied a great cross with his first touch
as a substitute and Harry Kewell flew in with a diving
header that gave Bennett no chance.
Dietmar Hamann then looked to have made it 3-1 when his
header seemed to have gone over the line before being
hacked away by Jamie Clapham, only for the officials to
deny the goal the Kop was screaming for.
The third goal did come on 78 minutes when Emile Heskey
controlled Salif Diao's cross on his chest before
swivelling and slamming in a superb volley the flew into
the back of the net.
Vladimir Smicer hit the frame of the goal late on as
Liverpool secured a moral-boosting victory to get their
challenge for a UEFA Champions League place back on