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Sunday, September 12, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: September 13, 9:53 AM UK
Birmingham players hail 'outstanding' Reina

ESPNsoccernet staff

Birmingham midfielder Barry Ferguson believes Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina was all that stood between the Blues and three points, as the sides shared the spoils at St Andrew's.

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Reina made a series of fantastic saves in the 0-0 draw, and Ferguson believes that the Spaniard was undoubtedly the difference between the two sides.

"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 Andrew's according to Ferguson.

"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,'' he said.

"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 bad.''

Cameron Jerome was one of the players denied by a great Reina save as he looked to have found the net with a powerful header.

"Pepe is one of the best keepers in the world and it showed today,'' 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.''

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson was not too disappointed to come away with a draw.

"They played extremely well in the first half,'' he said. "We started well but the final 15 minutes before half-time they pressurised the ball well and made life very difficult and we were depending on two very good saves from Pepe Reina.

"But I thought we kept our shape well, kept working at what we were doing, and the longer the game went on the stronger we were getting. It was a good performance from Birmingham and I'm not too disappointed with our performance either.

"We kept to our task well. It's early days for me and there's a lot of new players coming into the team trying to come to terms with what is being asked of them.''

Birmingham are now unbeaten in 17 games at home, and Hodgson expects many more teams to come here and struggle this season.

"This is a very tough place to come and play,'' he said. "They've got a very good home record, they're unbeaten in goodness knows how many games and this is also a game on the back of an international week where we've had a lot of people away.

"My expectations were not that high anyway. It would have been disappointing to lose but I'm not that disappointed to draw.''




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