blown big chance
By Chris Bascombe - Liverpool Echo
Jamie Carragher hopes his spell back in central midfield
comes to an instant end, despite shining in last night's
otherwise frustrating 0-0 draw with Portsmouth.
Carragher was man-of-the-match, but today reflected on a
missed opportunity as Liverpool failed to push themselves
into the top four.
"We're disappointed with the result and the performance," he
said. "When you look at how the other results went last
night, we feel even worse today. Aston Villa, Arsenal,
Bolton and Everton all losing gave us a big opportunity
which we haven't taken.
"It was a frustrating night and we didn't really create many
chances, but you always have to try to take some positives
and we're a point closer to the top four than we were before
the game. I know that's a small consolation.
"I'd give some credit to Portsmouth for how they defended.
With Tony Adams at the club they were always going to
improve defensively this season and they did agood job at
the back last night.
"But we're well used to teams coming here and playing 4-5-1
now and know what we have to do to break them down.
"Our home record has been fantastic for well over a year, so
sometimes you've just got to accept there are going to be
games like this.
"Really, we're paying a bit for the points we've dropped
away from home. When you don't win enough away games you're
putting yourself under far more pressure to keep winning at
"We're now at that stage of the season wherewe've got to
startwinning away, starting at Wigan this weekend, but I
know Paul Jewell will have his side right up for that one
and it will be another very difficult game."
Carragher slotted comfortably into amidfield role, but hopes
to make an immediate returnto defence this weekend.
"I know I played centre midfield for England last summer,
but I can't remember the last time I did it for Liverpool,"
"I really think it could have been five years ago, and I
definitely haven't played there under Rafa Benitez before.
"I enjoyed it and it's always good to have a bit of a change
now and again, but I hope Xabi is fit for the Wigan game and
I can go back to centre-half. That's where I'm most
By Paul Higham - Sky Sports
Harry Redknapp was full of praise for his hardworking
Portsmouth side who scrapped out a 0-0 draw at Liverpool
With a few injury problems to contend with in a run of three
games in a week, Redknapp sent his side out to frustrate
Liverpool and earn a point.
With one up front and five across midfield, Portsmouth did
just that and Liverpool were unable to get through a
stubborn rearguard action.
Redknapp's men went up into third place in the Premiership
table with the point and the manager was delighted.
"We worked hard - it was difficult and we changed the system
today because we had one or two players missing up front
with injuries so it was difficult," said Redknapp after the
"It was a terrific effort from everybody.
"If you come here and pick up a point you're happy. They
don't lose many here but they didn't create a lot tonight."
The point sees Pompey continue to scale the heights of the
Premiership table after coming so close to relegation last
"They all did there job tonight, it's so difficult when you
have three games in six days. It was a bit of a juggling act
with an eye on Saturday at home to Villa.
"It's been a fantastic run, when you look at the end of last
season when we did so well to stay up, so hopefully we can
just keep that going."
Rafa: It was a
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Rafael Benitez said he felt a sense of frustration at
Liverpool's inability to break down a resolute Portsmouth
side and admitted his team didn't quite do enough to win the
While admitting he was frustrated with Portsmouth's time
wasting tactics the Liverpool manager believes his team were
not at their best.
"In the first half we were controlling everything and had a
lot of shots and crosses but in the second half they played
deeper and some of our players were a little bit tired,"
"We know we could have gone third in the table but when you
cannot win you must be happy if your team works hard and
tries to do the right things. We tried to do the right
things and it was difficult at times because they wasted a
lot of time but if the referee doesn't do anything about it
you can't do anything."
Benitez also had words of encouragement for Jermaine Pennant
who was substituted towards the end of the game.
"I said to Pennant he must try and beat players and get
crosses into the box for us and he must keep trying," added
the Reds boss.
"He did try tonight but it didn't come off for him. He must
keep working hard and try and beat players."
blank in Anfield bore draw
Liverpool blew the chance to overtake Portsmouth and move
into the Premiership top four with a disappointing 0-0
stalemate at Anfield.
Pompey's massed ranks survived a near-constant bombardment
to claim a precious draw - a tremendous reward for a club
who had not won at Anfield for 55 years.
Pompey unashamedly time-wasted and wore Liverpool down.
Steven Gerrard tried to be the one-man hero, but not even
his Captain Marvel act could rescue anything for Liverpool
in this one.
Jamie Carragher got the nod as Steven Gerrard's emergency
central midfield partner, a situation caused by injuries to
Xabi Alonso, Mohamed Sissoko and now Bolo Zenden.
Such was Liverpool's depleted squad that youngster Danny
Guthrie was named on the bench, having previously only
played in the Carling Cup, while Moroccan forward Nabil El
Zhar was involved as a substitute for the first time.
Craig Bellamy was unavailable due to the late conclusion of
his court case in Cardiff where he had been found not guilty
on two assault charges earlier in the day.
Portsmouth included Matt Taylor, despite a back problem,
while Benjani Mwaruwari was passed fit at the last minute
with a knee injury.
Carragher took his new duties to heart by surging forward
after just two minutes to lash a 20-yard shot just wide.
Sami Hyypia's long ball then gave Peter Crouch the
opportunity to test David James from a similar distance.
Luis Garcia twice, John Arne Riise and then Hyypia - from 25
yards - all produced efforts that went close as Liverpool
moved the ball at speed through the Pompey ranks.
But although Liverpool had a vast amount of the possession,
they were not getting into dangerous positions through the
middle where Sol Campbell and Linvoy Primus looked composed.
Liverpool's long-range barrage continued when Gerrard saw a
dipping 25-yard free-kick just clear James' bar. Pompey got
in just a first shot of the night - a 25-yard free-kick from
Matt Taylor that flew well wide.
Gerrard did his best to break the deadlock with an angled
12-yard effort just wide before Luis Garcia sent in a
flicked header into the side-netting.
But it was a frustrating half for Liverpool who never really
got close enough to James to have a decent inspection of
their former colleague's new haircut.
After the break, Gerrard continued to provide almost all of
Liverpool's attacking threat, and an edge-of-the-box
piledriver hit Campbell's elbow and deflected into James'
arms. Penalty appeals were waved away by referee Alan Wiley.
Carragher was booked for tugging back Pedro Mendes before
Jermaine Pennant sent Gerrard away on the right, his low
cross causing trouble for James who was forced to make two
saves in quick succession from Luis Garcia.
Pompey were getting more adventurous and Taylor saw a
25-yard shot crash into Riise on the edge of the box before
Liverpool sent on Robbie Fowler on the hour for Crouch to
try to add some variation.
Gerrard by now was attempting to be everywhere - providing
the long balls from the back, breaking up attacks in
midfield and trying to get into the box as well.
Pennant got himself booked after a series of altercations
with referee Wiley before Pompey sent on Manuel Fernandes
for the injured Mendes.
Liverpool then gave El Zhar his debut in place of Luis
Garcia on 72 minutes.
With eight minutes left Pompey sent on Kanu for Benjani
Mwaruwari, Guthrie making his Liverpool league debut in
place of Pennant on 84 minutes.
Two minutes from time Gerrard hurled himself at a Dirk Kuyt
cross in sheer desperation, the ball flashing into the side
netting. Referee Wiley booked Noe Pamarot for time wasting
and allowed five minutes added time.
In that spell Campbell had to go off with a split boot and,
as Pompey staff searched for a replacement they were on the
brink of sending on Andy O'Brien before a spare boot was
found for Campbell. That bout of comedy just about summed up