After The Match 


Portsmouth-Liverpool 1-3 (0-0)       07.05.06                       PL
Goals: Fowler (51), Crouch (83), Cisse (88)        Koroman (85)
Team: Dudek, Riise, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Kewell, Gerrard, Alonso, Sissoko, Morientes, Fowler
Subs: Kromkamp (Alonso 41), Crouch (Morientes 67),
Cisse (Fowler 82)
Not used: Reina, Traore
Yellow: Taylor (40)
Red: None
Referee: G Poll
Shots on target: 2-4
Shots off target: 2-4
Possession: 48.9-51.1
Fouls conceded: 5-11
Corners: 5-6
Offsides: 5-1
Yellow: 1-0


happy with
the season
in the end."
    Rafael Benitez

0805: Xabi: Don't rule me out of final
0705: Reds wait on Alonso
0705: Reds win not enough for second 


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 as feared.

"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 fingers crossed.

"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 League.

"But we still have the FA Cup final to look forward to, and obviously we're all determined to win it."

Reds wait on Alonso

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 more information."

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 added.

"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 area.

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 really threatening.

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 Kiely.

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 header.

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 post.

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 post.

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Thor Zakariassen