After The Match 


Portsmouth-Liverpool 4-2 pen (0-0)   27.7.07         Pre-season
Goals: Gerrard, Kuyt     Taylor, Lua Lua , Kranjcar, Hreidarsson
Team: Reina, Riise, Finnan, Hyypia, Agger, Kewell, Pennant, Sissoko, Alonso, Kuyt, Babel
Subs: Torres (Kewell 52), Benayoun (Babel 65),
Arbeloa (Riise 75), Carragher (Agger 76),
Leiva (Sissoko 82), Gerrard (Pennant 85)
Not used: Carson, Crouch, Martin, Threlfall, Voronin
Yellow: None
Red: None
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Shots on target:
Shots off target:
Blocked shots:
Fouls conceded:

HEADLINES "In Harry Kewell
we've signed
a new player."

    Rafael Benitez

2907: Kuyt: The goals will come
2707: Benitez: We've gained lots from Hong Kong
2707: Reds pay penalty in Asia Trophy


Kuyt: The goals will come

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Dutch ace Dirk Kuyt believes Liverpool have to be more ruthless and finish off chances that are being created but he insists the goals will come once the season starts.

The Reds number 18 knows he and Liverpool missed some good chances during the Barclays Asia Trophy final defeat to Portsmouth, but he still feels things are looking good for the team ahead of the new season.

"I feel we showed some quality and created lots of chances against Portsmouth," said Kuyt.

"The only disappointing thing is we did not score any of them. That's what we must work on. But we will and hopefully it will come.

"I think you could see both Torres and Babel have plenty of quality and skill. The pair of them are very fast and both have great futures here.

"Ryan can play up front or on the wings, so there are lots of positions for him and Fernando is just a top striker.

"The expectations to do well at Liverpool are always really, really high. That's easy to say, but the English league is one of the toughest in the world with some of the greatest players in it and that's what makes it so much more difficult.

"I know what it's like coming into a big club like Liverpool, where everyone is watching you. But we've only had two weeks or so together on the pitch. But we've got a really strong team and we are all really close.

"It's better on trips like this, because you're not only involved together out there in training and on the pitch, but off it as well.

"That means you get to know people a lot quicker than if you're just training and going home. You have a coffee together, a chat, and all those things, which really helps.

"I still think we showed some good teamwork and that will only get better - it will come. It was only the second match with Fernando and Ryan but you can see the quality.

"The only thing I would say is that we need to finish the chances but I am sure it will come. Maybe in two weeks."

Benitez: We've gained
lots from Hong Kong

By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website

Rafa Benitez insists the Reds have gained much from their trip to Hong Kong despite losing to Portsmouth on penalties in the Barclays Asia Trophy final.

Speaking after Friday's defeat, the Spaniard revealed the trip had helped not only fitness, but also team spirit.

"It's disappointing to lose but it has been a useful tournament for us," Benitez said. "The players have shown their levels, we've had some competitive matches, training has been good and the players have bonded well.

"We have to improve but the team is playing well and creating chances. We had plenty of possession and chances against Portsmouth, I just think we need to be fitter."

The Reds lost 4-2 on penalties after David James saved from Yossi Benayoun and Fernando Torres.

However, Benitez refused to blame his newboys for his side missing out on their first piece of silverware of the season.

"Anyone can miss a penalty so I'm not going to attach blame. You can score every time in training but it's different in a game."

The Liverpool boss also claimed the return of Harry Kewell from injury was akin to a new signing.

He said: "In Harry Kewell we've signed a new player. He's played two on the trot so we had to take him off in the second half, but I am really pleased with him."

Reds pay penalty in Asia Trophy


Portsmouth held their nerve to lift the Barclays Asia Trophy after a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool at Hong Kong Stadium.

A goalless yet entertaining game could not be settled in 90 minutes and Niko Kranjcar scored the decisive spot-kick to ensure Pompey's triumph.

Liverpool were the first to gain a measure of control after a full-blooded opening and Dirk Kuyt flicked a Harry Kewell cross narrowly over the crossbar after nine minutes.

Kuyt then brought a smart save out of David James down to his left on 20 minutes after the Dutchman had run across the line to latch on to Jermaine Pennant's reverse pass.

New signing Ryan Babel then almost embarrassed James when he robbed the goalkeeper of possession but the Portsmouth defence eventually scrambled the ball to safety.

Liverpool came closest to taking the lead five minutes later, however, as Babel probed on the edge of the area before laying the ball off to Xabi Alonso.

The Spain midfielder moved the ball out to Pennant on the right and the winger easily beat Matt Taylor before crossing to the near post for Kuyt to power a header goalwards.

However, James reacted smartly to somehow keep the ball out on the line with his legs.

Gary O'Neil could then have put Pompey in front seven minutes before the break as Sulley Muntari's through-ball set the midfielder free but Jose Reina narrowed the angle well and deflected his effort wide for a corner.

Fernando Torres made his long-awaited bow in the tournament after 51 mins to rapturous applause when he replaced Kewell.

Six minutes later, Mohamed Sissoko's raking ball found Pennant on the left and the winger bundled his way past the onrushing James but sliced horribly wide.

Kuyt then spurned yet another opportunity when he decided to cut back onto his right foot instead of taking Sylvain Distin on and his shot was off-target before Torres blazed a good opportunity over the bar on 65 minutes when Kuyt's pass meant for John Arne Riise ricocheted off Sol Campbell and fell to the Spaniard inside the box.

A good interchange between Pennant and Sissoko saw Torres fire wide before Reina's piercing kick sent the striker clear and although the chance looked lost after Campbell had held him up, he still managed to stab a loose ball goalward that James did well to parry.

Muntari was then booked for clattering Steve Finnan before Steven Gerrard was introduced five minutes from time for Pennant.

Reina had to be quick off the mark to close down John Utaka after the goalkeeper's poor clearance had landed his side in trouble and James smothered well at Kuyt's feet after the Dutchman had linked well with Torres.

The Spaniard saw his penalty saved by James in the shoot-out as he gave away the advantage gained by Utaka dragging Portsmouth's first penalty well wide of Reina's right-hand post.

Yossi Benayoun was also denied by Portsmouth's veteran stopper before Kranjcar dispatched his spot-kick to seal the win.

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Thor Zakariassen