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Liverpool to Defend Home Form against Cup Winners Birmingham

Liverpool's Raul Meireles

League Cup winners Birmingham face a daunting trip to Anfield to battle sixth-placed Liverpool, where manager Kenny Dalglish remains undefeated since taking over in January.

Blues boss Alex McLeish has claimed his side need just one more league win to secure their place in the Premier League next season, as they head into the match in 15th place, five points above the relegation places.

The Midlands team were the last of the two sides to record a league victory against the other; seven draws have been recorded since the Blues picked up a 2-0 win back in 2005. They last secured three away points against Liverpool a year prior to that, a 1-0 win in November 2004.

McLeish will be boosted by the return of central defender Martin Jiranek, who has missed the last handful of games with a groin and abdomen injuries. The Czech Republic international is expected to slot straight into the starting 11, due to Scott Dann’s absence.

Liverpool have defensive absentees of their own; Jamie Carragher is unlikely to be fit to start after suffering a concussion in the Reds last fixture, a match in which Fabio Aurelio also limped off with a thigh injury. Youngsters John Flanagan and Jack Robinson are likely to continue in the side, which is also missing defenders Martin Kelly, Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger.

Reds striker Andy Carroll is also considered a doubt for the match, with a jarred knee.

Reds midfielder Raul Meireles, who was named PFA Fans' Player of the Year this week, has highlighted the improvement of the Liverpool side regardless of recent injuries; a feat he puts down to the management of club legend Kenny Dalglish.

“It's a pleasure to play for Kenny,” the Portuguese International asserted this week. “He is a fantastic manager and everybody loves him.”

“He knows a lot about football. He has encouraged us to play good football and he has given us a belief that every time we go out on the pitch we can win.”

Despite the praise, Dalglish will be more than aware that Liverpool are still a long way from claiming European football on Merseyside for next season. His side claimed a late draw against Arsenal on Sunday, moving them to within five points of Tottenham Hotspur in fifth.

Liverpool are yet to be beaten at Anfield so far this year.


All Competitions:

Liverpool: DWLWD (7 goals for, 3 against)
Birmingham: LWDWL (7 goals for, 7 against)

Premier League:

Liverpool: WWLWD (10 goals for, 4 against)
Birmingham: LWDWL (7 goals for, 7 against)

Premier League 09/10:

Liverpool 2-2 Birmingham City
Birmingham 1-1 Liverpool

Premier League 10/11:

Birmingham 0-0 Liverpool

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