Birmingham will want revenge over us - Benitez
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes Birmingham will have revenge on their minds tonight when they clash with his side in the Carling Cup fourth round at St Andrews.
Benitez does not need reminding of his side's 7-0 triumph in a FA Cup quarter-final at the same venue in March, with Birmingham at a low ebb and heading for relegation.
But Birmingham are now challenging for an immediate return to the top flight and will want to erase that seven-goal hammering out of their minds for good.
'This Birmingham game will not be like last season, it will be a very tough game,' said Benitez.
'It will be different players this time and not the same situation as last season.
'I have spoken to Jermaine Pennant about the game and he believes Birmingham really want to do well this time.
'They want to win and will approach the game intent on staying in the competition.
'It will be a different kind of game. They are doing well in the Championship and it will be much tougher than last season when they were in a difficult position in the Premier League.
'Maybe they will be thinking of revenge and the last game. But maybe also they will be thinking of their priorities this season, and that must be to get back into the Premier League.
'It is okay to want to progress in the cups but the league is more important and cup ties can give clubs with smaller squads a lot of problems.'
Since that March night in the midlands Benitez has bought Pennant from Birmingham for a fee close to £7million and the winger is expected to face his old colleagues tonight.
Benitez said: 'I have asked Jermaine about how they will play, which players will be used. We know a lot but he will have special knowledge.
'And it is certain that it will be a very difficult game. They press opponents, are physical and good in the air.'
Pennant could be a target for his former fans but Benitez said: 'I hope the Birmingham fans will understand what a good player Jermaine was for their club and that we paid them very good money for him.
'It was good business for both clubs. Maybe they will not be cheering him but I feel they will appreciate the business and what happened.'
Liverpool have left captain Steven Gerrard, Luis Garcia, Jose Reina and Sami Hyypia on Merseyside to prepare for Sunday's Premier League trip to Arsenal.
That means Jerzy Dudek, Robbie Fowler, Craig Bellamy, Daniel Agger and Gabriel Paletta are standing by.