Liverpool Vs Birmingham, Sat 23 Apr 2011

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Liverpool: Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Robinson, Meireles, Spearing, Lucas, Maxi, Kuyt, Suarez.

Subs: Gulacsi, Cole, Kyrgiakos, Ngog, Poulsen, Shelvey, Coady.

Birmingham: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Jiranek, Ridgewell, Larsson, Bowyer, Gardner, Fahey, Hleb, Jerome.

Subs: Doyle, Phillips, Bentley, Derbyshire, Parnaby, Beausejour, Davies.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is still awaiting confirmation of his permanent appointment at Anfield, but midfielder Lucas Leiva is confident it will only be "a matter of time".

The Scot has overseen such a remarkable turnaround in fortunes in such a short period there can be little argument against the man rated the club's greatest player being given the job on a long-term basis.

There is no doubt in the mind of Lucas it will happen sooner rather than later, with the Brazil international admitting the whole squad are keen to continue working with the 60-year-old to continue their progress.

"The way he came to the club and the way he changed a lot, it is just a matter of time (before) he will agree his new deal," said the 24-year-old, who has been the club's most consistent performer this season.

"As players we just have to hope he will be here next year with us.

"We will try to win the next five games, if we do that we will be helping him as well.

"Kenny and Steve Clarke (the former Chelsea assistant who arrived as coach just after Dalglish) have done really well.

"They have changed the principles of the training sessions with Sammy Lee, who has been here a few years already.

"The way they have changed things, giving all the team confidence, is really important.

"Kenny is the key to keeping everyone together and keep the confidence of everyone."


Late checks will be made on the fitness of Jamie Carragher and Andy Carroll ahead of the game.

Carragher, captaining the side in the absence of Steven Gerrard, was knocked unconscious in a clash of heads with young full-back John Flanagan during Sunday's draw at Arsenal.

Carroll jarred a knee against the Gunners and was taken off as a precaution, but left-back Fabio Aurelio is unlikely to feature this weekend after sustaining a thigh problem at the Emirates Stadium.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has revealed he tried to persuade Carroll to play for Scotland as he prepares to face the Liverpool striker.

McLeish was aware of Carroll being eligible to play for Scotland via his grandmother being born north of the border.

But he failed in his attempt - as did current national boss Craig Levein - and Carroll has since played for England, scoring his first international goal last month against Ghana at Wembley.

McLeish said: "Andy Carroll has come on leaps and bounds and I did try and get him to play for Scotland when I was manager.

"I was aware that he had got Scottish connections through his family.

"He was about 19 at that stage, a reserve player really at Newcastle, and I was quite hot on trying to get him to play for Scotland at that stage.

"But unfortunately he said 'no' and we all know what he has already achieved in his career.

"Certainly since he has gone to Liverpool, he has formed a great partnership with Luis Suarez."

McLeish is close friends with his former Scotland team-mate Kenny Dalglish and is not surprised he has been an instant success since returning to manage the Reds.

He said: "He is a legend, he has already stamped his mark on the team since going back in charge of Liverpool.

"He is a really great pal of mine but I've got to try and put one over on him."

Blues will be boosted by the return of centre-back Martin Jiranek who has missed the last three games through a groin injury and an abdominal problem.

But McLeish is also hoping striker Nikola Zigic will be able to play some part before the end of the season after his groin setback.

He said: "We would love to get Ziggy back at some stage. He is still feeling a bit of pain but it would be good if he can contribute over the next few games."

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