My fellow REDS,
Another escape… this time 1 precious point… all thanks to Reina !!
Otherwise it was nothing to shout about and we look to the return of Joe Cole and more of Raul Meireles.
In all honesty, we didn’t play well.. And we really have Pepe Reina to thank for this precious point that we manage to extract away from St Andrews, a venue that has never brought much success to us in the Premier League.
Roy started as expected with a double holding midfield of Lucas and Poulsen as Gerrard partnered Torres upfront. Maxi was given his first competitive start with Jovanovic on the other flank.
In defence, Konchesky was handed his debut to line-up alongside Johnson, Carragher and Skrtel as Reina kept goal in what would soon to be a showcase of his incredible goalkeeping talent !!
The game was cagey early on as both teams tried to get a foothold in the game. There were not many goal-scoring opportunities for either team. Johnson did have a fine run which ended with a scuffed shot from Torres going wide.
But the energy shown by the Brums were soon to obvious as they poured forward in numbers and had us on the backfoot. Cameron Jerome was to have the first glorious chance with a downward header that seemed destined for goal. But there was Reina in an AMAZING one-handed dive to push the ball round the post.
We did escape from the set-pieces as the Birmingham players were clearly enjoying the height advantage. Yet thankfully, their deliveries never reached them and were easily dealt with.
There was to be another WONDER SAVE from Reina, this time from another header by Craig Gardner.
By then, we were like a boxer reeling at the ropes from the punches of our opponents. At least our arms were still up, blocking off the onslaught.
As the second half started, we were obviously smarting from the one-sided attacks so far. This time the Men In Red were the ones probing & testing the home defence. There were a few zipping runs.. the occasional shots.. but alas, nothing else to show.
A worrying sight was Konchesky limping off due to a hamstring strain. Otherwise, it has been an encouraging debut from our new leftback. Plenty of precise tackling and good hard running. We look to his speedy recovery in time for Man Utd next weekend.
Another encouraging outcome on an otherwise dull, blue afternoon was the short cameo by Raul Meireles. In the brief 15 minutes he had, Meireles was employed upfront with Torres to let Gerrard drop back into midfield. The Portuguese showed enough enthusiasm in his runs for us to relish a promising future to come.
At the end, in the wake of a disappointing overall performance… we will be thankful for the precious point, all due to the agility and capability of our No 1 keeper, Pepe Reina.