Not even the gift of a match-worn Liverpool shirt from from Boudewijn Zenden could ease the frustration for Mikael Forssell. "I am disappointed," the Birmingham City striker said. "We should have defeated Liverpool."
The 2- 2 draw at St Andrew's on Saturday seemed to please nobody and Forssell, who has not scored in the Premiership since April 2004, summed up the regret felt throughout the Birmingham squad.
Neil Kilkenny was sent off in the 84th minute after handling a goal-bound header by Jamie Carragher. LuIs GarcIa gave Liverpool the lead, Birmingham equalised through an own goal by Stephen Warnock and went ahead through Walter Pandiani. Djibril Ciss> pulled it level with a penalty.
While the European champions created the greater chances and hit the post through Steven Gerrard in the first half, Birmingham held the momentum at a crucial time and might have won but for a strange refereeing decision.
Julian Gray was penalised by Steve Bennett for fouling Gerrard and the free-kick indirectly led to Liverpool equalising in the 85th minute. It only added to the frustration for Forssell, who missed a good chance in each half.
"The way things went in the end, everyone is a little disappointed because we had a chance to win it," Forssell said. "I didn't see what happened with the penalty, but I don't think it was a free-kick.
"In the first half Liverpool had more possession but tactically we did well. We had lost three games at home so we knew we had to correct that and 2-2 against Liverpool is good.
"If we had won games this season, maybe we would have attacked a little bit more but when they had possession, I was dropping deeper. As a striker, you don't really enjoy that much and don't get proper chances, but you have to do it for the team.
"It was disappointing that we should concede a goal late on. We thought it was never a free-kick and there were a couple of other decisions that were a bit dodgy and Liverpool are always going to have quality in front of the goal."
Forssell has vowed not to become too downhearted, despite extending his run of not scoring in the Premiership to more than 17 months. His striking partnership with Emile Heskey is, however, showing signs of gelling.
"I have said since day one that I need time and must be patient," Forssell said. "Fitness-wise, I am working on it every day. I still feel I might have a good game but the next week I might feel very tired even though I work hard, but that is the thing with being out for a long time.
"Success doesn't come as quickly. You might need twice the time but the manager is behind me and I've got time to work on my fitness.
"I want to succeed as quickly as possible. It is frustrating because I want to start scoring goals in the Premier League. I know it will come as long as I do the right things and I just need to be patient.
"You have games like this where you run your socks off for the team and do the job you don't necessarily always want to do. I am desperate to score."
Forssell was impressed with Kilkenny, who made his Premiership debut and grew in stature during the second half after a difficult opening 45 minutes.
" Kilkenny is a great player," Forssell said. "He has got that mentality. He talks to you like he knows what he is talking about and that's good..
"When you are a striker and have a midfielder behind you that keeps talking, that is great and that is what he is doing. He's had the red card but I am sure he will come back.
"He has the technical ability, the only thing you need is attitude and Neil can put himself about.."
Kilkenny will miss the Premiership encounter against Arsenal on Sunday.