The Reserves: Liverpool 2 - 0 Birmingham

Posted by AdamS on January 26, 2005, 09:32:20 PM

So after literally months without a reserves 'home' game it was back to The Racecourse (where Wrexham's future is looking brighter after a take-over was agreed yesterday) for the visit of Birmingham. It was the kind of night that pretends it is going to be quite mild, before surreptitiously freezing you knees at right angles.
Otsemobor was back in the starting line-up and there was a debutante in the form of new signing Scott Carson.

Liverpool lined up in a 4-5-1 formation, which was probably more to do with lack of strikers than tactical manoeuvres. From the off they looked a different team than I have been watching for the rest of the season (Thank God!), there was more verve about their passing, they were more vocal and from the off they started to cause the visitors problems.

The first actual shot of the match was from Birmingham, but the tame 25 yarder on 3 minutes was the kind of first shot Carson must have been hoping for. Liverpool created a much better opportunity two minutes later when Potter slipped Mellor through but he curled his shot just round the far post with the inside of his right foot. Just a few moments later Potter again put Mellor through, but this time the keeper came racing out of his area to clear. The pressure was kept on the Birmingham defence and Mannix headed just wide when he connected well to a Foy cross. You could feel the confidence beginning to grow in the 130 strong crowd *ahem*.

Whitbread and Potter were looking assured at centre half although on ten minutes Whitbread had to make a bit of a last ditch tackle to prevent a shot on goal. From that Liverpool played what must have been 25 passes, eventually finding Foy on the left, his cross was deflected behind for a corner. Again the corner was cleared behind and when the second delivery came in it fell for Whitbread, who from nine yards pivoted like a world class striker and then struck fresh air.

Liverpool didn't have to wait too much longer for the lead. Warnock won the ball off the Birmingham right back and forced yet another corner. This time the ball fell to Welsh with his back to goal, he spun round and unleashed a powerful left footed volley which beat the keeper all ends up 1-0.

A few minutes later and Carson got another touch, this time catching a cross (I bet we'll stop him doing that in time).

Until half time Liverpool dominated. They didn't create lots of clear cut chances but crosses from Mannix and Foy flew just past the onrushing Mellor on a few occasions. Just before half time after good work from Potter and Welsh, who was dominating the midfield saw Mellor slipped through in the inside right channel. He shot early and across goal and celebrated as the ball struck the post and rolled into the back of the net. A deserved 2-0 to Liverpool.

they nearly made it three in injury time as Raven's seemed to have scored in a goal mouthed scramble, but was adjudged to have taken it out of the keepers hand. Half time, 2-0, even colder!

Liverpool began the second half as they had ended the first, Mannix coming closest with a header just wide. Foy was again menacing down the right flank and Smyth had finally woken up on the left. He left the right back for dead which saw the first yellow card of the match. Within a minute Smyth had skinned him again. I'm sure that the fullback had made a genuine attempt to play the ball, but the referee went to his book and Birmingham were down to ten men. A very harsh decision in my view.

Strangely after that Birmingham nearly created their best chance. A through ball caught the defence static, but Carson was quickly off his line to clear the danger. On the break Mellor headed down to Foy, he cut back onto his left foot and squared to Mannix, who from thirty yards out saw a left foot curler crash off the upright - the keeper hadn't moved.

Liverpool continued to dominate and the intricate passing in midfield was very pleasing to see. Once again we were creating crosses, but with only Mellor in the box we struggled to convert.

Birmingham managed to break on 63 minutes and the ball fell to their number 6 who cracked a left foot volley from 9 yards. It looked certain to be a goal, but Carson was down like a knackered lift and also managed to keep hold of the ball.

The next 25 minutes could be summed up by saying that Liverpool attacked and Birmingham defended. Ostemobor was freed from his shackles and was dangerous going forward, but we just failed to convert the chances. Welsh proved his goal was a fluke by slicing several left foot shots and Birmingham managed their damage limitation policy quite effectively.

Late on Carson was forced to tip around the post, just a regulation save and that was that. I had finally seen us perform well. I had finally seen us win. It's funny to think that this team last season would have hardly contained a recognisable face to most, but now 7 starters have first team caps!

A much improved performance. First views on Carson: He seems to have 2 good feet (especially his booming right), he's vocal, he's got a presence and he did everything asked of him, although that was limited.

MOM. John Welsh. He and Potter were excellent and Mannix also chipped in very well. It could have been Potter but I'll go for Welsh due to the goal.


Scott Carson
Jon Otsemobor
Stephen Warnock
David Raven
Zak Whitbread
Darren Potter
Robbie Foy (Wilkie, 81)
John Welsh
Neil Mellor
David Mannix
Mark Smyth
Ryan Wilkie
Patrice Luzi
Daniel O'Donnell
James Smith
Danny Guthrie

© Adam S 2005

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