Liverpool FC were frustrated in their attempt to close on fourth-placed Manchester City FC in the chase for a UEFA Champions League spot as they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Birmingham City FC in the Premier League.
St Andrews has proved a fortress for the home side this season with none of the top five sides managing to depart with maximum points, but Rafael Benítez's men appeared on course for a crucial success when Steven Gerrard swept them into the lead two minutes after half-time. However, that advantage lasted a mere nine minutes as Liam Ridgewell bundled in at the back post to leave the Anfield outfit four point behind Manchester City in sixth, having played a game more.
Liverpool will be joined in UEFA Europa League quarter-final action on Thursday by Fulham FC, but the London club fared better in preparation for their return to continental competition, battling back from behind to overcome Wigan Athletic FC 2-1. Striker Jason Scotland scored his first league goal for Wigan at the 29th time of asking to give the Latics an interval lead, but Stefano Okaka Chuka levelled soon after the break and Brede Hangeland headed the winner on 58 minutes to leave the visitors four points above the drop zone.
West Ham United FC are now three points behind Wigan after an entertaining 2-2 draw at Everton. The hosts were targeting an eighth straight home win and started brightly as Diniyar Bilyaletdinov nodded in a 24th-minute opener. Gianfranco Zola's charges, on a run of six consecutive defeats, suffered further woe when Mido missed a penalty but they did draw level through Manuel Da Costa on the hour. Ayegbeni Yakubu's header five minutes from time then looked decisive for Everton, only for a diving effort from Ilan to earn a vital point for the capital strugglers.
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|Last updated: 02/07/2011 07:01 CET|
Brunt 62 (p), 88 (p)
|Venue: West Bromwich|
Bent 47, 68
|West Ham||2-4||Man. United|
Noble 11 (p), 25 (p)