Reds players appear lost
By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo
It was frustrating watching Liverpool fail to turn
their superiority against Portsmouth into victory on
But it was even more frustrating trying to figure out
the roles of some of the home players.
Bruno Cheyrou was hardly in the game and, for the most
part, seemed lost. Harry Kewell, enduring a lean spell
of form, often ventured into centre midfield without any
success. Emile Heskey, playing in right midfield, was
And yet, there was Steven Gerrard rampaging all over the
pitch, giving the impression he was trying to make up
for the failures elsewhere.
It's all down to having players producing their best
form where they are most effective.
Take Kewell, for instance. For me, he is best when he is
attacking down the left and creating openings for the
likes of Michael Owen.
Yet, after being replaced, who was it storming down the
left and sending over the cross for Le Tallec that could
have won the game? Steven Gerrard! Surely that is what
Kewell should be doing.
Even Owen looked lost at times. He puts in a tremendous
amount of work and, as the Reds play the ball square and
then backwards, he comes foraging for it even deeper.
Owen's predatory nature comes alive in the box, like for
his goal against Pompey, and that's where he should
spend his time.
It's up to others - and not just Gerrard - who must
create things for him in the box.
I cannot understand the performances of some players.
Half appear to be doing their job, the other half don't.
The disappointing aspect is that the tie was there for
the taking. Liverpool were never really threatened, but
became lethargic and should really have dealt with the
cross that led to the equaliser.
It will be tough in the replay on Sunday, and even
tougher, if the Reds get through to play the Gunners.
But let's just concentrate on getting into the last
NOBBY STILES once told me that he thought Steven Gerrard
was the nearest thing to Duncan Edwards.
That is a tremendous compliment for a player compared to
a great young star whose career was tragically cut short
by the Munich air disaster.
I thought Gerrard was magnificent against Portsmouth.
His all-action displays constantly put pressure on the
opposition and he must be the best midfielder in the
world at present.
Stevie: We probably paid the price for attacking
LFC Official Website
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes that
Liverpool probably paid the price for going for more
goals yesterday when they were hit on the counter-attack
and forced into a replay.
Having gone ahead after 69 seconds through a great
Michael Owen strike, Liverpool looked to have victory
within their sights until Matthew Taylor popped up with
an equaliser with just 12 minutes to spare and Gerrard
insists Liverpool paid the price for going for goals.
"I think we thought the game was won," he says. "We were
piling pressure on Portsmouth and we got caught on the
counter-attack. There were signs in the first-half that
they were a bit dangerous on the counter-attack and
we've been punished.
"I can't believe the game's gone to a replay. I thought
we deserved to win it. On goal chances, possession and
effort I feel as if we won it but the advantage goes to
them now down at their place. We've got to silence them
during the first 20 minutes and try to get a result down
at Fratton Park.
"I thought the first penalty incident should have been a
penalty. The referee said the linesman said that the
defender got a touch on the ball but that doesn't matter
if they take me out as well. I think the referee was
right with the second one though. I thought it was just
outside the area but I think on chances alone we
deserved to win this game. I think Harry Redknapp will
say he was lucky to get a replay out of this one.
"I thought our fans were brilliant. In cup games the
fans always get behind us. They did it against Newcastle
and they did again today. You can understand that the
fans want more and more goals but sometimes, as it's
shown yesterday, sometimes when you're 1-nil or 2-1 up,
you've got to defend better."
Houllier complains at Reds' ropey
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier rued his side's missed
chances as Portsmouth earned an FA Cup fifth round
replay at Fratton Park next Sunday.
Matthew Taylor smashed home a 78th minute equaliser
after Michael Owen had netted his 150th goal for
Liverpool in the second minute.
Houllier said afterwards: "I think the game should have
been dead and buried before they equalised, but they
scored a good goal and now we need a second game.
"We deserved to win. We played some fantastic football
at times and created some good chances.
"I think they were disappointed with the result, but
they must be extremely proud of that performance.
"They were absolutely fantastic out there at times and
should have won today.
"Maybe we were hard done by with some decisions, but
hopefully they will go our way next week.
"It happens. They had two chances, one in the first half
and one in the second and they go home with a draw and a
right to a replay. We have nothing to complain about
Redknapp hails cup battlers
Harry Redknapp admitted his Portsmouth side had
benefited from a slice of luck in Sundays 1-1 draw with
Liverpool in the FA Cup fifth round.
With the Reds leading 1-0 at Anfield, Pompey's Finnish
defender Petri Pasanen was ruled to have fouled home
skipper Steven Gerrard on the edge of the area, but
replays later suggested the offence had taken place
inside the box.
Pompey went on to equalise through substitute Matt
Taylor to earn a replay at Fratton Park in a week's
Gerrard himself felt the penalty incident was outside
the area, but after watching video footage Redknapp
admitted his relief.
He said: "I thought it was outside, but it was inside.
The line's moved! It looked close, but it's about time
we got away with one. We've not had the breaks lately.
"This is a difficult place to come to get a result but
we showed so much character to get something out of the
"We came under the cosh but I've never been to Anfield
and not come under the cosh. Look at the quality they
possess - and Steven Gerrard, what a performer he is.
"But we stuck in there and I thought we were dangerous
on the break."
Goalscorer Taylor had no doubts Pompey deserved a
draw for their efforts.
He said: "The gaffer told me to get in at the back post
and the chance arose and I got it in. It's nice to take
them back to our place.
"I think our determination has been quite good. We had
nothing to lose and we came away with a draw.
"It will be good for us at home. We've been better there
than we have away. We were jubilant to be taking them
back to our place but we deserve everything we got.''
Pompey snatch late draw
Matthew Taylor's late strike earned Portsmouth an FA
Cup replay with Liverpool after snatching a 1-1 draw at
Anfield on Sunday.
Michael Owen put Liverpool ahead after just two minutes
but The Reds missed a host of chances during the match
and were made to pay when Taylor popped up after 77
minutes to claim a replay for Harry Redknapp's men.
Liverpool came flying out of the blocks and took the
lead inside two minutes as Michael Owen got on the end
of a great passing move to slot past Shaka Hislop.
Owen scored early on against Manchester City during the
week and repeated the dose after Steven Gerrard and
Bruno Cheyrou had played a neat one-two on the edge of
the box and Owen dispatched with ease.
The Reds continued to have most of the play but Harry
Redknapp's visitors looked lively and dangerous on the
break - with skipper Nigel Quashie flashing a shot just
over from the edge of the box.
Ivica Mornar broke the offside trap after 20 minutes but
just failed to find Yakubu in the box enabling Sami
Hyypia to clear.
Emile Heskey turned on the edge of the box just after
the half hour, after the ball broke to him from Harry
Kewell, but Heskey's shot on the swivel was superbly
turned aside by Hislop.
Heskey had an even better chance to get on the
scoresheet three minutes after the interval but he
sliced his shot badly wide from a great position inside
Gerard Houllier's side were increasing their pressure on
the visitors, and Didi Hamann's shot took a vital
deflection off Quashie before Steve Finnan wasted a free
header when he nodded wide from a corner.
Gerrard was inches away from grabbing his third goal in
three games as he drove from the halfway line before
cutting inside and curling his effort just past the
Jamie Carragher then fired in a fierce shot that Hislop
did well again to get down smartly and turn aside.
Liverpool were made to rue their missed chances with
just 13 minutes left to play when Alexi Smertin's cross
dropped for Matthew Taylor who chested the ball down and
rifled past Jerzy Dudek to stun the Kop.
Gerrard typically went searching for a winner for his
side, and his drive down the left and cross should have
provided a winner five minutes from time, but substitute
Anthony Le Tallec stabbed the ball over from close range
when he should have done better.
Liverpool piled forward late on but Pompey held firm and
hung on for the draw and earn a replay at Fratton Park.