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Birmingham Face Daunting Anfield Trip

Birmingham City had gone some way to saving their Premier League lives before the loss to Chelsea in midweek, and now they face a tough trip to Anfield on Saturday.

Alex McLeish's side have flirted with danger for many months but a run of seven points from nine helped lift them out of trouble and put them within one win of ensuring their top flight future for another season.

Birmingham (15/2 to get the win) seemed to fail to focus after winning the Carling Cup in February but they are very close now and one win would take them past that 40-point barrier – a marker which has seen only two teams in the history of the Premier League get relegated with.

"I would say we need another win. We'll try and get as many points in the last five games as we can," stated McLeish after the Chelsea defeat.

The main problem for Birmingham this season has been scoring goals, and with just 34 all season only Wigan have scored fewer than the Blues in the Premier League.

It does not help McLeish that striking duo Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins are ruled out, so Cameron Jerome (10/1 to be first goal scorer) will lead the line like he did against Chelsea.

Defender Martin Jiranek is fit again after a three-match absence, but Scott Dann and James McFadden continue to be on the sidelines with long-term injuries.

The last seven clashes between Liverpool and Birmingham have ended in draws, with the corresponding fixture at St Andrews earlier in the season ending in a goalless stalemate.

However, Liverpool (1/2 with bookies to win the game) have been a real force at Anfield in recent weeks with eight wins from their last 11 matches. That run has helped lift them up to sixth in the table and with one eye on European qualification.

Kenny Dalglish has concerns over record signing Andy Carroll (4/1 to score the first goal) after he injured his knee last time out and he faces a race against time to be ready for Saturday. Jamie Carragher is also struggling after suffering concussion and Fabio Aurelio damaged a thigh in the same game.

Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger are all out long-term but confidence is likely to be high around Anfield after the late comeback at Arsenal. Dalglish has yet to taste defeat at Anfield since his return, while only once have Liverpool not managed to score in front of their own fans this season.

The danger man for Liverpool is likely to be Dirk Kuyt, who has scored six goals in the club's last five Premier League matches. (Kuyt 6/1 to score the first goal)

Liverpool know a win is vital if they are to keep their dreams of European qualification alive but, given the tight nature of the league, Birmingham could climb as high as eighth win a shock win at Anfield and end any lingering relegation fears.


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