Xabi: Don't rule me out of final
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Xabi Alonso is upbeat about his chances of making the FA
Cup final - but today admitted he faces a 'nightmare' wait
for the all-clear.
Alonso left Fratton Park in a protective ankle cast after
suffering injury in the 3-1 victory over Portsmouth.
The midfielder's prospects looked grim when he was
stretchered off, but Alonso believes the knock isn't as bad
"I don't feel bad and I hope it's not a serious injury,"
said Alonso, who is undergoing treatment at Melwood today.
"I won't know until I've had the scan, but I'm keeping my
"When it happened I was very worried but now I feel more
optimistic. I'm feeling very positive about my chances of
being fit for Saturday.
"It's going to be a nightmare for 24 hours but I will try to
stay calm and wait. I can't do anything now but have the
scan and hope the result is okay."
Alonso's injury over-shadowed a victory which secured
Liverpool's highest points tally since the Premiership
formed in 1992.
Peter Crouch's goal was also the club's 100th in all
competitions this season.
The Reds missed out on a guaranteed Champions League spot,
but Alonso says the vast improvement in the league this year
bodes well for next season.
"We can be happy because we've improved a lot and we're a
much more solid team. But we don't want to stop now, we want
to keep progressing," he said.
"Whatever happens next week it's been a good season, but it
could still have been even better. We wanted to win the
World Club Champion-ship and go further in the Champions
"But we still have the FA Cup final to look forward to, and
obviously we're all determined to win it."
By James Pearson - Sky Sports
Liverpool will know more on Xabi Alonso's injury when he
goes for an X-ray on Monday.
The Spain international midfielder collapsed in agony in The
Reds' 3-1 win over Portsmouth just before half-time.
Alonso was not caught by a Pompey player, but seemed to land
awkwardly on his ankle when attempting to collect Matthew
Taylor's headed clearance.
Reds boss Rafa Benitez is not sure whether Alonso will be
fit for next week's FA Cup final with West Ham, but is
crossing his fingers on the results of the scan.
"We need to wait now. Tomorrow, we'll do some X-rays," said
Benitez after the game. "It was bad luck.
"We'll see. We can't say anything now. Tomorrow, we'll have
Although Liverpool won at Portsmouth, Manchester United's
comfortable success over Charlton meant the Merseysiders
missed out on second in The Premiership.
Benitez was realistic that The Red Devils were always likely
to see off Charlton, meaning they now need to qualify for
next season's UEFA Champions League.
"We knew it would be difficult. We needed to job our job and
we have, but Manchester United also did their job," he
"We are happy with the season in the end. We've bagged a lot
of points and that means the team and squad are better.
"I think now we'll have more confidence ahead of the final
[versus West Ham]."
Reds win not enough for second
By James Pearson - Sky Sports
Liverpool beat Portsmouth 3-1 at Fratton Park, but they
missed out on second in The Premiership due to Manchester
United's thrashing of Charlton.
Following a quiet first half the visitors broke the deadlock
when Robbie Fowler was on hand to slot home from just inside
The game looked over when Peter Crouch tapped home late on,
although the home side responded with substitute Ognjen
Koroman slotting home at the back post.
Pompey now sensed a draw, but any hopes of salvaging a point
were extinguished a minute before injury time when Djibril
Cisse lashed home from the angle.
The chances were few and far between in the opening
exchanges with both sides happy to retain possession without
Steve Gerrard had a sight of goal when Brian Priske's
misplaced header from John Arne Riise's through ball found
its way to the England midfielder, but Dean Kiely was quick
off his line to snuff out the danger.
The chances continued to fall Gerrard's way, but his effort
from long-range was never troubling former Charlton keeper
Pompey then tired their luck from distance, although
Benjani's turn and shot was tame and wide of Jerzy Dudek in
the visitors' goal.
Just minutes later Benjani got to the touchline and cut the
ball back in the middle, however his cross was behind
Svetoslav Todorov in the middle.
Liverpool were forced to switch things around before the
interval when Xabi Alonso collapsed in a heap with suspected
ankle ligament damage meaning he is a doubt for feature in
this summer's World Cup for Spain.
Pompey finished the half in the ascendancy, although Dudek
was down well to his right to collect Benjani's close-range
Liverpool caught Pompey cold after the interval with Fowler
perfectly placed to slot home from just inside the area
after a clever flick from Morientes.
Morientes spotted the ex-Leeds striker in the box and played
a neat pass for Fowler to curl a delightful left-footed
effort past the helpless Kiely.
Sean Davis would have had a one-on-one attempt had he not
slipped over with only Dudek to beat when Benjani's shot was
deflected into the air.
Harry Redknapp brought on Ognjen Koroman for the ineffective
Richard Hughes and he saw an effort blocked after cutting
inside Riise in the box.
Ex-Pompey striker put the game beyond doubt on 84 minutes
when he was perfectly placed in the middle when Kiely could
only parry Cisse's cross.
However, Redknapp's side never gave up and pulled a goal
back almost instantly when Wayne Routledge's cross from the
right was slotted home by substitute Koroman at the back
The goal lifted the home side, although their hopes of
salvaging a draw were over just after when Cisse broke the
offside trap and smashed his right-footed effort in the far