Time to stand up and be counted.
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is hopeful Fernando Torres will be fit, and the striker has been in light training as he recovers from a groin injury.
Steven Gerrard has also trained after groin trouble but has less chance of playing, though Martin Skrtel returns.
Birmingham are without Barry Ferguson (banned) while Garry O’Connor (groin) and Keith Fahey (knee) are both doubts.
On-loan keeper Joe Hart could replace Maik Taylor after being ineligible to face parent club Manchester City.
Benitez believes he has a gentlemen’s agreement that Torres will not be called up for Spain’s home friendly with Argentina next Saturday.
He also feels that England coach Fabio Capello will not select Gerrard for the friendly against Brazil in Doha next weekend, simply because the Liverpool skipper has been out for so long.
“Gerrard was training and working with the physios,” Benitez said. “Will he be fit or just available? We don’t know yet.
“That is something we will have to look at. For 15 days he has been without training, so can he play? At the moment I do not know.
“Torres has been to Spain to see a specialist and we have discussed it all with our medical staff. He is a little better than he was before.”
Suspended: Carragher (one match) & Degan (three matches)
Doubtful: Aurelio (calf), Dossena (groin), Torres (groin),
Injured: Gerrard (groin), Johnson (calf), Reira (hamstring)
Suspended: Ferguson (one match)
Doubtful: O’Connor (groin), Fahey & Tainio (both knee), Martin Taylor (ankle)
Injured: Murphy (knee) (BBC Sport)
Whilst we face Birmingham with a severely hampered squad decimated by injuries and suspensions we should still be expected to overcome Alex McLeish’s side, even though City are a very tough side to take apart as Man United found out when they only just squeezed past the newly promoted side on the first weekend of the season.
We find ourselves in seventh place, a massive 12 points off top and anything less than a win will be a huge failure. Alberto Aquilani may see Premier League action for the first time and we will have a tough job of getting our makeshift side gelling on the pitch.
We will be looking to Yossi Benayoun to be the impetus from midfield as he has been on many occasions this term and then hopefully Fernando Torres will be fit for action but that is a major doubt. Now is the time for some of our under performing players to show that they are up for the challenge. Ryan Babel is just one such player and his fine finish in Lyon showed us that in a split second he is capable of creating something magical, he just needs to do so far more often in order to still be at the club next season.
My Prediction: 2-0 to Liverpool.