Birmingham 0 Liverpool 0: Hodgson content although Liverpool produce blank

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson leaped to the defence of striker Fernando Torres after this goalless draw with Birmingham at St Andrew's.

Hodgson was satisfied with the contribution of the Spanish World Cup winner despite the visitors drawing another blank on their travel and believes he will get "better and better."

Hodgson said: "Fernando came into the centre on a few occasions and, when he did that, he caused havoc.

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"You've got to give the back four of Birmingham credit. They worked very hard to contain him and pressurise him.

"But he is looking much fitter with every game and I thought he looked dangerous and I thought, the longer the game went, the stronger he became.

"I think he is working hard for the team. He is a constant thorn in the side of defenders.

"We know he lacks match training. He missed matches at the end of last year and during the World Cup.

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"But I'm not at all concerned about Fernando Torres. He will get better and better."

Liverpool needed two superb first-half saves from Pepe Reina to earn them a point but Hodgson was satisfied with his side's overall performance.

He said: "I thought they really pressurised well for a spell in the first half and we were dependent on two exceptionally good saves from Pepe Reina.

"But we kept our shape well during that period and the longer the game went on, the stronger we were getting.

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"It was a good performance from the Birmingham team but I was not that disappointed with our performance either.

"We kept to our task well. It is early days for me and the team. We've had players coming into the team trying to come to terms with what we are asking of them.

"A lot of teams will come here and find it very difficult. This is a tough place and they are unbeaten here for goodness knows how long (12 months).

"I've got to say my expectations were not that high anyway. I would have been disappointed to lose the game but certainly not that disappointed to draw it."

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Blues manager Alex McLeish was full of praise for midfielder Barry Ferguson after another classy display.

He said: "Ferguson was fantastic. He trains every day, is never on the treatment table, is just a dream to work with.

"When he plays the way he did today, you see he is a real top class player."

McLeish admitted: "We never took the chances, that is why we didn't win but I've got to be thrilled with the performance.

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"The chances we did create, Reina was outstanding. Whether they were world class saves, that's for the experts to decide.

"But they certainly looked tremendous saves from where I was.

"We were just looking for the killer touch but the performance level of the whole team was fantastic."

Ferguson believes Liverpool goalkeeper Reina was all that stood between Blues and three points. "The goalkeeper was outstanding," Ferguson said. "He made three or four great saves. I think we deserved to win the game, but the goalkeeper was outstanding."

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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.

"We're always confident, we have a great record at home and you could see the work ethic of the team – it's outstanding," Ferguson added.

"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 save from Reina as he looked to have found the net with a powerful header.

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

Birmingham City: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Gardner, McFadden (Zigic 90), Jerome. Unused substitutes: Taylor, Murphy, Derbyshire, Michel, Fahey, Jiranek.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky (Agger 78), Maxi, Poulsen, Lucas (Meireles 76), Gerrard, Jovanovic, Torres. Unused substitutes: Jones, Pacheco, Kyrgiakos, Babel, Ngog.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).