Benitez refuses to point finger
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez refused to blame
goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek for the error which led to the
loss of two valuable points tonight.
Benitez’s side appeared to have secured victory thanks
to a thunderbolt 25-yard effort from captain Steven
Gerrard in the 70th minute.
But Portsmouth grabbed a dramatic equaliser in stoppage
time when Dudek palmed a cross-cum-shot from Matthew
Taylor into the path of Lomana LuaLua.
He headed home to send the small travelling band of
supporters wild with delight.
It was Dudek’s first league appearance since September
as Chris Kirkland succumbed to injury.
Benitez, however, was more concerned about his team’s
missed chances rather than Dudek’s apparent blunder.
“I think in the last minute they tried to cross, and it
is unlucky play,” he said.
“The goalkeeper was waiting for a cross. It is very
difficult for the goalkeeper.
“We have had many opportunities – but you need to score.
Now we lose two points, but we have one more point in
Liverpool, desperate to bounce back after the derby
defeat by Everton, carved out a number of chances with
Dietmar Hamann and Harry Kewell both wasteful.
Yet Portsmouth’s equaliser was completely unexpected
considering they had hardly been out of their half in
the second period.
However, as at Newcastle at the weekend they showed
remarkable spirit against the odds to secure a point.
Coach Joe Jordan said: “I am delighted – especially for
the way we got the goal at the end.
“That kind of thing usually happens the other way round
here, certainly in my day as a player.
“When you came here you always had to play until the
final kick, the final whistle or you would get well and
“Liverpool are famous for that. They had got a lot of
good results and decisions by playing to the end.”
Jordan conceded that Gerrard’s unstoppable effort had
been the turning point in a game watched by just over
“We came out a little bit more and managed to get under
Liverpool’s skin a bit,” he said.
“I will put it down as a cross that led to the goal, I
don’t really know.
“All credit to the players. They have not been ruffled
and focused on what has had to be done.
“They have done it in a nice way – against the odds.”
Lua Lua late show
By Peter ORourke - Sky Sports
Tresor Lomano Lua Lua's dramatic late goal earned
Portsmouth an unlikely 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
The former Newcastle man popped up in stoppage time to
cancel out Steven Gerrard's stunning second half strike
and deny Liverpool the chance to close the gap on the
After a quiet start Liverpool created their chance on
eight minutes when Xabi Alonso picked out Steven Gerrard
free on the right and his cross towards Milan Baros had
to be cut out by Portsmouth keeper Jamie Ashdown.
A minute later Dietmar Hamann had a great chance to
break the deadlock when Antonio Nunez flicked Gerrard's
corner into his path, but the German got his shot all
wrong hitting it hopelessly wide.
Both sides were failing to create any clear goalscoring
chances and possession was frittered away by both sets
Portsmouth came close to scoring on 25 minutes when
Patrik Berger sent Tresor Lomano Lua Lua clear on goal
with a delightful pass and the striker saw his shot
deflected just wide of Jerzy Dudek's goal.
Gerrard tried to rouse his team-mates and sent over a
cross from the left for Nunez who could only stab his
shot straight at Ashdown.
Lua Lua continued to look dangerous for Portsmouth on
the break and he created a half chance for himself four
minutes before the break with a fine solo run, but he
did not get enough power on his shot to sufficiently
Liverpool then allowed Gary O'Neil a shot on goal on 43
minutes when they stood off the midfielder inside the
box and he was unlucky to see his shot fly just wide of
The home side came out for the second half in determined
fashion and Gerrard created a chance for himself three
minutes after the break when he cleverly turned on to
Kewell's pass on the edge of the box and sent a curling
shot just over the crossbar.
A minute later Kewell flashed a shot just wide of the
target after picking up a pass from Alonso.
The Australian had another sight of goal on 55 minutes
when Nunez picked him out on the edge of the area, but
he only screw his shot on his weaker right foot wide
into the Kop.
Liverpool opened up the Portsmouth defence two minutes
later with the best move of the match.
Alonso picked out Gerrard on the right and he cushioned
a perfect header into the path of Nunez to give him a
clear run on goal, but Ashdown was quickly off his line
to save the Spaniard's shot with his legs.
Hamann really should have scored seconds later when
Djimi Traore's cross picked out the German international
unmarked in front of goal, but he directed his header
too close to Ashdown allowing the keeper to push out his
Kewell tried his luck twice from long-range in the space
of two minutes with his first shot flying over the
crossbar and his second forcing Ashdown into a good save
down at his near post.
Liverpool finally made the breakthrough on 70 minutes
with Gerrard thumping a free kick from the edge of the
area past Ashdown after Hamann had laid the ball into
his path. Kewell had a chance to grab a second four
minutes from time when the ball broke nicely to him on
the edge of the area, but his shot was straight at
Portsmouth had a chance to draw level in the dying
seconds when the ball fell into the path of substitute
Matt Taylor and his shot was saved by Dudek.
The visitors stunned the hosts seconds later when
Taylor's intended cross caught out Dudek and when he
only palm the ball up into the air Lua Lua was on hand
to head into an empty net and earn Portsmouth an