After The Match 


Portsmouth-Liverpool 0-0             15.9.07                           PL
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Finnan, Agger, Carragher, Sissoko, Alonso, Benayoun, Pennant, Crouch, Voronin
Subs: Torres (Crouch 62), Gerrard (Pennant 67), Babel (Alonso 77)
Not used: Itandje, Hyypia
Yellow: Alonso (31), Sissoko (76)
Diop (29), Johnson (64), Davis (90)
Red: None
Referee: Mike Riley
Attendance: 20.388
Shots on target: 1-4
Shots off target: 7-6
Blocked shots: 2-4
Fouls conceded: 20-15
Corners: 5-4
Offsides: 4-1
Possession: 47.4-52.6
Yellow: 3-2

just a pity
we couldn't score."
    Rafael Benitez

1609: Crouch sees improvement in draw
1509: Harry happy with Liverpool draw
1509: Rafa: Point was probably right
1509: Limp Liverpool draw at Portsmouth


Crouch sees 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 league.

"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 Fratton Park.

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 below-par visitors.

"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 him."

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 midweek.

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 important friendly!

"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 point.

"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."

Limp Liverpool 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 shock lead.

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 break.

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 neck.

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.

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Thor Zakariassen ©