Gerrard pleased with progress
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard hopes for a "kinder"
draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup after his side beat
Portsmouth 2-1 at Fratton Park.
Gerrard put the Reds in front with a penalty before John
Arne Riise doubled the lead before the break.
However, Pompey pulled a goal back early in the second
period before staging a series of threatening attacks on
Jose Reina's goal - but they could not force a replay.
"It was a difficult game, the first 20 minutes are always
difficult," Gerrard told BBC1.
"They played a lot of long balls and we knew until we scored
it wasn't going to be comfortable."
Gerrard's penalty broke the deadlock and the captain
admitted they were more than happy to accept referee Phil
"I didn't see it as I was too far away. I'll have to see it
again but I can't argue with the ref's decision," he added.
"Portsmouth away is a very difficult game, we have done well
getting through here - hopefully the draw will be a bit more
kind in the next round."
Benitez believed to beat Pompey
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Rafael Benitez admitted he was relieved to see Liverpool
progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup after the 2-1 win
over Portsmouth and felt it was a difficult night for his
The Liverpool manager felt his team had to withstand a lot
of pressure in the second half and did just enough to
progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
"It was a difficult match for us and Portsmouth put us under
a lot of pressure in the second half but I am happy to go
through to the next round," explained Benitez.
"After the first half we were thinking the match was over
but Portsmouth did well and it wasn't easy for us. We did
create some good chances in the second half but you need to
take them to make sure the match is over. We didn't do that
but we are pleased to win the game."
Nervous Reds see off Pompey
By Lewis Rutledge - Sky Sports
Liverpool were pushed all the way by a dogged Portsmouth
side before coming through 2-1 in the FA Cup fourth round.
Two goals at the end of the first half seemed to have killed
the tie as a contest, but Harry Redknapp's side came out
fighting and in the end were unlucky not to earn at least a
In a scrappy opening Pompey were determined not to let
Liverpool dictate play, and dished out a few meaty
challenges early on.
The Reds were not allowed to settle, and looked a shadow of
the team that has been playing such attractive flowing
football in recent months.
The home side were little better, but Pedro Mendes did test
Jose Reina with a well struck volley from outside the area.
The game eventually came to life ten minutes before half
time, when a spot kick was awarded against Dejan Stefanovic
after the ball bounced up and struck the defender on the
hand during a penalty area scramble.
Portsmouth were entitled to feel hard done by, but Steven
Gerrard was in no mood for sympathy as he coolly dispatched
his penalty into the bottom corner in the 36th minute.
If Harry Redknapp's men were disappointed to fall behind
after a below par start to the game, they were left stunned
when John Arne Riise doubled the advantage just minutes
The ball broke for the Norwegian in midfield, and Riise set
off on a run down the left wing. With Pompey struggling to
close him down, the 25-year-old rifled a fierce low shot
straight into the opposite corner from outside the area,
leaving the South Coast side with a mountain to climb.
Portsmouth could have been forgiven for accepting defeat and
trying to conserve energy in the second half, but they came
out with much more urgency. Svetoslav Todorov was brought
on, and they carried much more of a threat.
The deficit was soon reduced, as Sean Davis rose above the
Liverpool defence to flick Gary O'Neil's free kick past
Moments later Riise wasted a golden opportunity at the other
end, blasting well over with his right foot when he should
have restored Liverpool's two-goal cushion.
In a frenetic period both sides struggled to find any real
fluidity, but Pompey's positive intent meant that they were
always in the hunt for an equaliser.
Stefanovic curled a free kick narrowly over the crossbar,
and Liverpool looked increasingly nervous when dealing with
the aerial threat posed by Pompey.
The introduction of Peter Crouch did little to stem the
tide, but Portsmouth lacked any real cutting edge and could
not find a way to break their opponents down.
Liverpool endured an uncomfortable final few minutes, but
held on to book their passage into the next round.