After The Match 


Portsmouth-Liverpool 1- 2(1-2)     Wed Apr 20.           Premier League
Goals:  Morientes (4), Garcia (44)     Kamara (33)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Traore, Riise, Alonso, Biscan, Garcia, Baros, Morientes
Subs: Smicer (Garcia 45), Gerrard (Biscan 66), Cisse (Baros 75)
Not used: Carson, Pellegrino
Yellow: Hughes (50)
Red: None
Referee: H Webb
Attendance: 20,205

                           MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 6-12
Shots off target: 2-7
Fouls conceded: 10-8
Corners: 5-4
Yellow: 1-0




HEADLINES "I think the
last day
will decide it."

       John Arne Riise
2104: Riise promises a fight to the finish
2004: Perrin not worried
2004: Rafa happy with win
2004: Reds pick up Pompey win

Riise promises a fight to the finish

By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo

John Arne Riise remains upbeat about Liverpool's chances of catching Everton, regardless of the ongoing three-point gap between the Merseyside giants.

The Reds hoped to reduce the deficit after securing an impressive 2-1 win over Portsmouth last night.

But the result at Goodison Park means Rafa Benitez's side have it all to do in their last four fixtures.

Riise insists their rivals' form won't demoralise the Liverpool players as they keep scrapping for every point.

"We know first and foremost we have to win all our own games.

"There's no point us worrying about what Everton are doing," said Riise.

"Obviously we were hoping they'd slip up last night, but the fact they didn't shows they're a good side and it's going to go to the very last game of the season if we're going to catch them.

"I think the last day will decide it. By beating Manchester United, they're three points above us and they can end it if they win their game in hand.

"If they do that, there's nothing we can do about it. In the meantime, we know we've simply got to win every match. There's no chance of us giving up.

"The main thing is we've come down here and shown the commitment and quality we need. We never stopped attacking or sat on the lead. We kept on going forward, looking for more goals."

Riise created Liverpool's two goals at Fratton Park, but he's in no doubt who's made the difference to the standard of the team's football in recent weeks.

"We're keeping the ball much better than we did without Xabi Alonso," said Riise. "He has the ability to get the ball and switch play so quickly. Since he's come back in, he's been brilliant. I love playing with him because he sees the pass immediately and will ping it to you. It's a pleasure to play with someone like that."

Steven Gerrard was rested last night to preserve his groin problem ahead of the trips to Crystal Palace and Chelsea.

Luis Garcia was also subbed as a precaution after feeling a tight groin at half time, but hopes to be fit for the weekend.

Liverpool are using Southampton's training facilities today and tomorrow before heading to London.


LIVERPOOL: Saturday: Crystal Pal AWAY; April 30: Middlesbrough HOME; May 8: Arsenal AWAY; May 15: Aston Villa HOME

EVERTON: Saturday (12.30pm): Birmingham City HOME; April 30: Fulham AWAY; May 7: Newcastle HOME; May 11: Arsenal AWAY; May 15: Bolton AWAY

BOLTON: Saturday: Aston Villa AWAY; April 30: Chelsea HOME; May 7: Portsmouth AWAY; May 15: Everton HOME

Perrin not worried

By Peter ORourke - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Portsmouth boss Alain Perrin remains confident his side will avoid a relegation fight despite their defeat to Liverpool.

Pompey missed the chance to climb further away from trouble after going down 2-1 to The Reds at Fratton Park.

Perrin will now be hoping his side can bounce back against local rivals Southampton in the South Coast derby this weekend.

"Now we have a good position and we just want to make a good game [against Southampton], play well and get three points," said Perrin.

"We are not worried. We need three or four points.

"We wanted to take points this evening. This was not possible and we are thinking of the next game.

"It is my first defeat and I am disappointed for the players as they made a good fight and good spirit.

"At 2-1 in the second half we needed some luck and we had some chance to score at the end, but we were too tired to make a good pass.

"We did not have enough to beat Liverpool who are difficult to beat and they need the points."

Rafa happy with win

By Peter ORourke - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Rafa Benitez was happy with Liverpool's performance in the 2-1 win at Portsmouth.

Goals from Fernando Morientes and Luis Garcia were enough to give The Reds all three points and move them back into fifth place in the table.

Benitez felt his side should have won the game more comfortably after spurning a number of clear chances.

"I think we controlled the game and had five clear chances to score more," said Benitez.

"We need to score from our opportunities and finish the game."

Liverpool remain three points behind Everton in the race for a UEFA Champions League place, but Benitez remains hopeful of catching them for the coveted fourth place.

"Yeah we have to win and we have done our job and the next time we will try to win and wait (on Everton's result)," he added.

"It is more difficult playing in two important competitions, but we are trying to do it."

Benitez also revealed he left Steven Gerrard on the bench to give the Reds skipper a rest with the midfielder not coming on until late on.

"We need to use all the squad as there are a lot of games in a short time and we cannot use the same players all the time as they will not be able to run properly," concluded Benitez.

Reds pick up Pompey win

By Peter ORourke - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Liverpool boosted their UEFA Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win at Portsmouth.

Goals from Spanish duo Fernando Morientes and Luis Garcia were enough to give The Reds a much-needed win with Diomansy Kamara netting for the hosts to cancel out Morientes' early opener.

The win lifts Liverpool into fifth place in the table, while the defeat was Portsmouth's first under Alain Perrin and means they are still not safe from relegation.

The game started in a frenetic fashion with Tresor Lomana Lua Lua getting through on goal in the very first minute only to have his run halted by a late offside flag.

Liverpool should have scored in their first noteworthy attack two minutes later when Milan Baros got on the end of Xabi Alonso's pass inside the box and shrugged off a challenge from Arjan de Zeeuw only for Jamie Ashdown to rush quickly off his line to block his left-footed shot.

A minute later Liverpool broke the deadlock with Morientes breaking his barren run of form in front of goal.

Riise burst past Matt Taylor down the right and sent over an inviting cross for Morientes who saw his initial shot saved by Ashdown, but the Spaniard reacted quickest to poke home the rebound while on the ground.

Gary O'Neil had a half chance for Portsmouth on seven minutes when Lua Lua picked him out unmarked inside the box with a quickly taken corner, but he got his volley all wrong firing well wide of the target.

Riise tried his luck with an ambitious volley wide on the left on the quarter hour and was unlucky to see his effort sail wide of the far post.

Morientes wasted a golden opportunity to double Liverpool's lead on 26 minutes when Steve Finnan picked him out unmarked at the back post, but the Spanish international powered his header over the crossbar.

Portsmouth came close to drawing level on 33 minutes when O'Neil sent Lua Lua scampering clear on goal with a clever pass and his lob looked set to end up in the net only for Jerzy Dudek to get back and palm the ball clear from under his own crossbar.

The home side did not have to wait long to equalise with Kamara bundling home a goal a minute later.

Taylor sent over a corner to de Zeeuw who saw his free header cleared off the line by Finnan, but Kamara was on hand to scramble the ball past Dudek and into the net.

Portsmouth came close to taking the lead three minutes before the break when the impressive Lua Lua played Kamara through on goal, but Dudek stood up big to keep up his shot with his legs.

Riise missed a great chance to give Liverpool the lead just before half time when Alonso's pass split the Portsmouth defence to leave the Norwegian with a clear sight of goal, but he rushed his shot volleying wide of the target.

Liverpool did restore their lead right on the stroke of half time when Riise sent over a fine cross into the box for Luis Garcia to power a superb header past Ashdown and maintain his rich vein of form.

The visitors came close to netting a third goal three minutes after the break when Finnan played in Riise and he saw his shot well saved by the legs of Ashdown.

Seconds later substitute Vladimir Smicer fired a dangerous shot right across the face of goal as Liverpool went in search of a third goal.

Baros made space for a shot on 52 minutes, but his shot went straight at Ashdown and six minutes later Riise should have done better when he cut inside Aliou Cisse, but the Norwegian dragged his shot wide of the target.

Portsmouth should have drawn level on the hour mark when Lua Lua played Taylor in down the left and he sent over a fine cross to Stone unmarked inside the six yard box, but the midfielder somehow missed his kick with the goal at his mercy to let Liverpool off.

The impressive Alonso forced Ashdown into a good save a minute when he latched onto a ball on the edge of the box and fired in a powerful left-footed shot which Ashdown tipped over the crossbar.

Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure and Riise was unlucky not to score on 75 minutes when he got through on goal from Sami Hyypia's fine long pass, but stumbling he could not get his shot on target and the ball appeared to strike the hand of Dejan Stefanovic before being cleared.

Portsmouth substitute Patrik Berger came close to drawing Portsmouth level eight minutes from time when he picked the ball up on the edge of area and fired in a left-footed rocket which Dudek acrobatically tipped round the post.

Ashdown denied Liverpool a third in the final minute when he brilliantly tipped Alonso's shot over the crossbar after the Spaniard had been teed-up on the edge of the box by Smicer.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen