keen to prolong his Anfield career
By Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post
Sami Hyypia revealed that his determination to continue
being a Liverpool player was the motivation behind his
performance at Fratton Park in Saturday.
The Finn’s 400th game in English football since joining
Liverpool in 1999 ended in a 2-1 defeat but Hyypia marked
the occasion with what turned out to be his side’s
And it was his desire to make the most of what this season
has become an increasingly rare first-team opportunity that
lifted the 33-year-old’s game to a level few of his
team-mates could match in a game that quickly pales into
significance ahead of the Champions League semi-final
decider against Chelsea tomorrow.
“I was very fired up,” said Hyypia. “I have not been in the
team regularly, so it was a chance for me to show I still
belong in the club.
“But it only takes a few people not being up for it from the
start, then you don’t play well.
“I enjoyed scoring, but you can’t be happy that you have
Hyypia was one of seven players brought in from the side
that lost 1-0 to Chelsea in Wednesday’s first leg but he
insisted Rafael Benitez fielded a side good enough to take
something from the game.
He added: “The two semi-finals are much more important than
this game, but we still wanted to win, and I don’t think the
manager fielded the kind of side he thought would lose.
“There was no disrespect to Portsmouth, but that is how it
is, and I am sure the boys back home enjoyed their rest. Now
they will be fired up for Tuesday.
“Chelsea rested some players as well, but they are fighting
with United for the title, so it was different for them. But
Benitez fielded the side he thought would win the game and I
am sure Mourinho felt the same.
“Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes in this game and
concentrate of Tuesday. Yes, we can score two goals. It is
going to be tough, and Chelsea have a little bit of an
advantage, but if we score one, and then still have to play
half for half an hour or more, then anything can happen.
“If we can create the same atmosphere that was there when we
last played Chelsea in the semi-final then we have a good
chance to win the game, and give something back to the
Former Chelsea man Bolo Zenden, one of only four survivors
from the first leg who played at Fratton Park, added: “We
are concentrating on the game on Tuesday but it doesn’t man
you want to come here and get beaten.
“It was difficult in the first half for a few of the players
who came in.
“Maybe they were a little bit nervous, knowing it was a big
opportunity for them. Maybe some of them thought it was
their first and last chance to impress, so there was a lot
of pressure and it doesn’t make it easy for them.”
Redknapp: Reds team a boost
By Chris Stanton - Sky Sports
Harry Redknapp was delighted to see Rafa Benitez field a
weakened Liverpool team at Portsmouth, as Pompey kept up
their European charge with a 2-1 win.
Reds deputy Jerzy Dudek was at fault for Benjani Mwaruwari's
opener before Niko Kranjcar doubled Pompey's lead.
Redknapp admitted it was a backs-to-the-wall performance
after Sami Hyypia's second half goal had halved his team's
"Of course I was pleased to see the side Liverpool put out,"
"You are pleased not to be facing the likes of Gerrard and
Carragher and Kuyt but he (Benitez) has finished with
Pennant and Sissoko wide, Alonso and Zenden in the centre
and Sami Hyypia is still a very good centre half.
"We've had some big home wins but we had to hang on a bit
today in the second half when Liverpool used Bellamy and
Fowler up front.
"Until they pushed Bellamy through the middle, though, I
didn't think we had many problems."
The win means Pompey remain in seventh - a position that
would be good enough to ensure automatic qualification for
next season's Uefa Cup.
"It is still going to be very close. Tottenham are
favourites for seventh spot with the game in hand and we
have two tough games to finish [away to Everton and home to
Arsenal]. Whatever happens it will be a great season for
By Peter ORourke - Sky Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez blamed two mistakes for his
side's 2-1 defeat to Portsmouth.
First-half goals from Benjani Mwaruwari and substitute Niko
Kranjcar gave Portsmouth a commanding lead.
Jerzy Dudek was to blame for Benjani's opening goal, while
the Liverpool defence was all at sea as Kranjcar was
afforded too much time and space to score
Sami Hyypia pulled a goal back in the second half for a
much-changed Liverpool line-up, but they could not find an
equalising goal as they fell to defeat.
Benitez was unhappy with the manner of the goals his side
conceded as they went down to Pompey.
"The first half performance was very disappointing," said
Benitez. "We were controlling things in the first 20 minutes
and we had chances on the counter attack, but we conceded
two stupid goals from two big mistakes."
"The first goal was unbelievable. It was just a long goal
kick forward and we have to analyze what went wrong. In the
second half we showed a lot more character and desire and we
were much better.
"We were doing the right things and creating chances and
maybe we deserved something out of the game. But you can't
afford to make some of the mistakes we did today.
Liverpool improved in the second half and Benitez was happy
with his side's showing in the second period.
"We said to the players before the game it was a chance for
some of them to show what they can do and it was pleasing to
see a much better second half display," added Benitez.
Pompey punish rotated Reds
Goals from Benjani Mwaruwari and Niko Kranjcar gave
Portsmouth a 2-1 victory over Liverpool in Saturday's
Premiership clash at Fratton Park.
Although Sami Hyypia netted for Liverpool, manager Rafael
Benitez's decision to rest seven stars did not help their
Harry Redknapp's team boosted their own European ambitions
with this win over Benitez's men, who play the second leg of
their Champions League semi-final against Chelsea on
Pompey are up to seventh place in the league - and if they
finish there, they will earn a UEFA Cup place next season.
Benitez's men are in danger of being overhauled for third
place by Arsenal - as he turns his attentions to Europe and
hopes his first-choice team can come from behind against
Jose Mourinho's men at Anfield.
Despite the absence of Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Peter
Crouch, Jamie Carragher, John Arne Riise and goalkeeper Jose
Reina, Benitez's policy seemed to be paying off in the
opening 20 minutes.
Pompey - minus Achilles victim Sol Campbell - failed to live
up to a vibrant start when their visitors looked vulnerable
in the air to high crosses.
Although Robbie Fowler was denied by an offside flag after
latching onto Boudewijn Zenden's pass and clipping the ball
over David James, Liverpool's deficiencies and lack of
individual Premiership experience began to show.
A near-miss by Gary O'Neil should have been a warning as
Jerzy Dudek went full length to keep out the midfielder's
curling low 26th-minute shot - with on-loan Argentinian
Emilanio Insua left on his backside on his debut.
But it was Dudek's hesitancy which handed the outstanding
Benjani the breakthrough for Portsmouth a minute later.
A big clearance from former Liverpool goalkeeper David James
bounced outside the Reds penalty area and stand-in
centre-back Gabriel Paletta appeared to let it go.
But Dudek had not come quickly enough off his line and
Benjani bravely stuck his head in and nodded the ball over
the goalkeeper for his sixth goal of the season.
It was 2-0 five minutes later.
Kanu did well to feed Lauren out on the right and the
Cameroon player's long crossfield ball put in substitute
Kranjcar as Liverpool appealed for offside.
The Croatian, who had come on 11 minutes earlier for the
injured Matthew Taylor, advanced and stroked the ball past
Dudek with his right foot just before Alvaro Arbeloa could
get in a recovery tackle.
Liverpool camped in Pompey's half for the rest of the first
period but Zenden's half-volley from 25 yards cannoned back
off the crossbar after beating James in the 44th minute.
Liverpool's anguish was underlined when Xabi Alonso was
booked for dissent at a free-kick in first-half
But it looked like they might save the game when, after a
brighter start to the second half, Finnish defender Hyypia
headed in a Fowler corner at the near post in the 59th
Dudek's save two minutes earlier had denied Benjani a second
goal after he pounced on another error by Paletta.
Pompey never quite settled for complete caution after the
break as a clearly-chastened Liverpool finally stepped on
The scorching south-coast temperatures, touching 72
Fahrenheit at the start, dragged energy from legs and the
game never really developed as a classic.
But James had to make a typically brave save at the feet of
Fowler just before the end - after substitute striker Lomana
LuaLua had a debatable penalty claim turned down at the