PORTSMOUTH 1-2 LIVERPOOL
FA CUP 4th ROUND
29th January 2006 (18:00) at Kenilworth Road
Two goals in four minutes appeared to end Portsmouth's brave FA Cup resistance against Liverpool at Fratton Park.
After more than holding their own and tackling ferociously early on, Pompey were undone by skipper Dejan Stefanovic handling at a corner, allowing Steven Gerrard to drill in his 16th goal of the season in the 36th minute from the penalty spot.
John Arne Riise thumped in a second after Fernando Morientes sent him through.
Liverpool, knocked out of the cup last season by Burnley and the season before by Portsmouth, made significant changes for this fourth round tie after their scare at Luton in the third round.
Dutch defender Jan Kromkamp was given his first start in place of Steve Finnan, Stephen Warnock brought in and Peter Crouch and Harry Kewell left on the bench.
Pompey boss Harry Redknapp had few choices and picked just one defined striker in Vincent Pericard - while captain Stefanovic played at centre-half after shaking off injury.
The relaid pitch at Fratton Park - completed under floodlights last night at a cost of £100,000 - looked like it could cut up in the later stages but was a far better sight than the one used against Everton two weeks ago.
Pompey forced the first corner and were snapping into tackles early on but Sean Davis was caught marginally offside as he tried to slip into the box onto Pedro Mendes' flick forward.
Pericard was the first in referee Phil Dowd's book for sailing into Kromkamp and catching him on the right ankle in the 10th minute.
Richard Hughes was cautioned a minute later and former Liverpool player Gregory Vignal was lucky to escape with only a lecture from the official after appearing to connect with an elbow on Gerrard soon afterwards.
There was a roar from the home fans when Pericard earned a free kick after being bustled off the ball but when it broke for Mendes he hooked his shot horribly wide.
Warnock worked hard to turn a dangerous Gary O'Neil cross over his own bar and in the 27th minute Mendes tested Jose Reina with a well-struck half-volley.
Pompey's five-man midfield had plenty of possession and when Liverpool tried to get through on the flanks the home team's full-backs looked sound.
But Liverpool were handed a goal out of the blue in the 36th minute when Gerrard's corner took a bad bounce and hit Stefanovic on the arm as he and Primus both tried to clear the ball.
Gerrard stepped up confidently to fire his 16th goal of the season.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 thanks to a fine finish by John Arne Riise.
Morientes' flick sent him racing down the left and he held off Primus' challenge and powered a low drive past Dean Kiely.
And it would have been three but for Kiely's brave advance and save at the feet of Morientes after a dreadful error by Vignal.
HT Portsmouth 0 Liverpool 2
Redknapp replaced Vignal with Svetoslav Todorov for the second half and less than two minutes into it Gary O'Neil shot over from 30 yards.
In the 49th minute Xabi Alonso fouled Todorov but the resulting free-kick from 25 yards from Matthew Taylor went over the Liverpool bar.
However, in the 54th minute, Pompey did find the target to get themselves back in the game.
Kromkamp was penalised for fouling Todorov and O'Neil's inswinging free-kick saw Sean Davis rise above Jamie Carragher and head into the corner of the net past the helpless Jose Reina.
Riise almost restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage within two minutes but he shot high over the bar after advancing confidently towards Kiely.
The home fans turned up the volume around Fratton Park and the home side responded with an improved effort.
In the 64th minute Mohamed Sissoko followed Pericard, Davis and Hughes into Dowd's notebook when he was penalised for apparent simulation - despite the protestations of Carragher.
And two minutes later Redknapp made another change, replacing the hard-working Pericard with Azar Karadis. In the 73rd minute Morientes was replaced by Peter Crouch.
FT Portsmouth 1 Liverpool 2 With 13 minutes to go Stefanovic shot over from a 25-yard free-kick, awarded after Sissoko had fouled Todorov.
Another chance went begging less than two minutes later when Karadas narrowly failed to make contact with Taylor's inviting low cross from the left.
With 10 minutes remaining Steve Finnan replaced Gerrard, whose impact on the second half was less significant than the first.
And soon after Reina fell awkwardly after punching the ball clear under pressure from Karadas.
The Spaniard appeared to injure his left shoulder as he fell but was able to carry on for the remainder of the contest.
Kewell came on in the 83rd minute for the unimpressive Djibril Cisse, and three minutes later former Portsmouth player Crouch tried an ambitious shot from 10 yards which went harmlessly wide.
With less than four minutes on the clock, Todorov outwitted Sami Hyypia and crossed from the left.
Reina, under pressure, appeared to claim the ball but it escaped his clutches and after a split-second he was able to claim at the second attempt before Karadas could pounce on the loose ball.
Brian Priske replaced Linvoy Primus in the 88th minute but Pompey could not find the goal to keep their cup hopes alive - despite the addition of three minutes at the end of the game by Dowd.
Intro: Liverpool booked their place in the last 16 of the FA Cup after a 2-1 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
The Reds were cruising at half-time after Steven Gerrard converted a 37th-minute penalty - awarded following a handball by Dejan Stefanovic - before John Arne Riise doubled the advantage four minutes later.
But Sean Davis headed in Gary O'Neil's free-kick nine minutes into the second half to rejuvenate Harry Redknapp's side, although the south coast side were unable to find an equaliser.
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|Match Report filed: 29 January 2006|