improvement in draw
By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website
Peter Crouch claims the goalless draw at
Pompey provided yet another example of how Liverpool have
improved this year.
The striker didn't hide his disappointment after the Fratton
Park stalemate but went on to suggest that Liverpool sides
from recent years may have come away with even less.
He explained to the club's official website: "A lot of teams
will find it very difficult coming to Portsmouth. They are a
strong side physically – probably the strongest in the
"But we matched them in that way and maybe a year or two ago
we would have lost that game.
"I tried to put myself about, especially with it being my
first start in the league, but Sol and Distan are two good
centre-halves and it was a difficult test.
"I think it's a decent point, even though we're disappointed
not to take away all three."
Harry happy with Liverpool draw
Harry Redknapp was the happier of the two
managers after Portsmouth's goalless draw with Liverpool at
Kanu saw his spot-kick saved by Jose Reina after having his
shirt pulled by Alvaro Arbeloa while John Utaka and Sulley
Muntari missed good chances in the second half against the
"It was an even game. We had a couple of great chances. For
Kanu's penalty, when you get the chance you have to stick it
away against Liverpool and if we had got in front I'm sure
we would have gone and won the the game," said Redknapp.
"But if you take a point from the likes of Liverpool,
Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal you are never going to
complain because they are top teams."
The Portsmouth boss also paid tribute to man of the match
Papa Bouba Diop on his first appearance for the club.
"I thought Diop was fantastic - what a debut. I have always
been a fan of his. He is big and he has got a presence about
Rafa: Point was probably right
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Rafa Benitez admitted both sides could
have walked away with all three points after the goalless
draw at Fratton Park on Saturday lunchtime.
The Spaniard made four changes from the Derby demolition,
with skipper Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres consigned to
the bench after featuring heavily for their countries in
The Reds threatened without their influential duo but had a
Pepe Reina penalty save – as well as glaring misses from
John Utaka and Sulley Muntari – to thank for a clean sheet
at the other end.
Benitez said: "After an international break it is very
difficult to pick the team because you don't have any time
to train with the players.
"Mascherano, for example, was in Australia playing in a very
"In the first half I thought we were the better team and
controlled the game. In the second half it was very open and
we both had very good chances. We could have won it, they
could have won it. In my opinion we deserved at least a
"They had a couple of clear chances but they were from our
mistakes and not from open play. I think we were better than
them in the first half and were controlling the game. Our
substitutes came on in the second half and helped us, it was
just a pity we couldn't score.
"I'm not sure if it was a penalty for them or not, certainly
for this country it looked a harsh decision. But it's okay,
I'm not going to complain about that."
draw at Portsmouth
By Tom Kell - Setanta Sports
The microscope will be on Rafa Benitez
after the Spaniard once again rung the changes as Liverpool
drew 0-0 with Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Saturday.
It was the hosts who came closest to claiming all three
points when Kanu’s first-half penalty was saved by Jose
Reina, as Liverpool toiled throughout.
The visitors were boosted by the return of Jamie Carragher
to their starting line-up, but this season’s top dogs’
Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres were left warming the
bench by the ever unpredictable Benitez.
David James, playing against his former club, showed why he
is back in the England reckoning when he got down smartly
after just two minutes to parry Yossi Benayoun’s effort
behind for a corner.
Papa Bouba Diop was making his debut for Pompey and headed
their best chance of the early exchanges well wide.
Peter Crouch, given a rare starting berth, was eager to give
Benitez a selection headache right from the off – he looked
strong in the air against a battling Glen Johnson and nearly
put the visitors ahead on 16 minutes, but his low
left-footed drive was well stopped by James.
The home side took their time to acclimatise to the
lunchtime start and were second best for the opening half an
hour - Kanu looked like their only outlet but it was
Benjamin Mwaruwari who nearly gave Harry Redknapp’s men a
His shot took a deflection off Alvaro Arbeloa but was
athletically saved by Reina, and both the Spaniards were
soon right back in the thick of the action.
Portsmouth were awarded a penalty, by the linesman rather
than referee Mike Riley, for Arebloa’s inoffensive looking
tug on Sean Davis – Kanu was left with the honour of putting
his side ahead but spot-kick specialist Reina guessed the
right way to keep the scores level.
It was a case of a half of two halves as it was Portsmouth
that finished the opening period the more dominant force –
Davis looked industrious throughout and his dipping drive
nearly gave Harry Redknapp’s side the lead just before the
Crouch was noticeably eager to make his mark and nearly put
the away side in front straight after the interval with some
superb ingenuity. Finnan floated a cross in and the former
Pompey striker flicked his leg behind him to volley inches
over the bar.
Harry Redknapp will have been cursing in the stands soon
after when the ball dropped to John Utaka just ten yards
out, but the Nigeria forward snatched at the golden chance
and sent the ball wide.
The game finally came to life following Utaka’s miss.
Jermaine Pennant again looked lively in a Liverpool shirt
and when he broke and crossed to Andrei Voronin, the Ukraine
international controlled well but saw his looping effort
skim off the top of the bar.
The ball broke quickly to the other end and after a neat
touch, Utaka fired just wide as the infamous Fratton Park
crowd started to find full voice.
Benitez reacted by bringing on both Gerrard and Torres in
quick succession and the two substitutes nearly made an
immediate impact when Gerrard powered through to tee up
Torres, but Liverpool’s record signing shot wildly over.
Broken toe or no broken toe, Gerrard’s inevitable influence
begged the question as to why he was not in the starting
eleven as he begun to grab the game by the scruff of the
Despite Liverpool starting to take charge of possession,
Portsmouth again missed a gilt-edged chance when Sulley
Muntari hooked wide from just 12 yards out.
As the clock ticked down, Torres injected some pace into
proceedings and after a burst of speed gave him half a yard,
he passed across the face of goal but watched on helplessly
as Voronin missed the ball by a matter of inches.
However, Premier League championships are often won and lost
in inches, as Liverpool’s title charge showed the first sign
of stuttering at Fratton Park on Saturday, with Benitez
again likely to be under scrutiny.