Liverpool face relegation-facing, under-administration, but curiously FA Cup semi finalists, Portsmouth at Anfield with the pressure on to ensure the reds return to 5th place.
A mixed bag of results at the weekend saw 4 of the 9 points available to our immediate challengers dropped. The reds face a maximum 5 point deficit depending on other sides returning to winning ways so it is imperative that Liverpool take all three points tonight.
Liverpool should still be smarting from the abysmal 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth in December. Before that – the reds had won the previous 3 games against Pompey.
Portsmouth last won at Anfield in 1951 and are in with a chance of completing their first league double over the reds since the late 1940’s.
Injuries and Suspensions
Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio are medium term injury casualties. Yossi Benayoun is a doubt – he stayed at home last week for the Lille game protecting an ankle injury and will have a late fitness test.
The reds can welcome back Maxi Rodriguez who was cup-tied for the Europa League.
Liverpool suffered two 1-0 away defeats last week. The first of which, Wigan, was by far the more depressing in terms of performance. The Europa League defeat was testament to Liverpool’s habit of conceding late European goals this season.
Last weekend saw Portsmouth book their place in the FA Cup Semi Final with a 2-0 home victory against Birmingham. A few days later however, Birmingham got their revenge with a 2-1 victory in the Premier League, also at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth have won 2 of their 14 away league games. Scoring 7 goals and shipping 25 in the process.
The reds have won their last 6 league games at home.
Liverpool –(from) Pepe Reina, Diego Cavalieri, Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Emiliano Insua, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Jamie Carragher, Alberto Aquilani, Steven Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun (poss), Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano, Lucas Leiva, Jay Spearing, Dirk Kuyt, David Ngog, Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel
Possible starting XI – Reina, Insua, Agger, Johnson, Carragher, Babel, Mascherano, Leiva, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres
Portsmouth: Last week: James; Hreidarsson, Finnan, Ben-Haim, Belhadj; O’Hara, Brown (Kanu, 65), Wilson (Owusu-Abeyie, h-t), Piquionne; Webber (Basinas, h-t), Dindane.
Portsmouth have nothing to lose. Liverpool have quite a lot of pressure. No doubt Pompey will be keen to feed on any scraps that come their way but we hope a different Liverpool turn up this week than last week.
Jamie Carragher has yet to savour a clean sheet since he returned to central defence and much more will be expected of a lacksidasical Steven Gerrard. We can’t even contemplate a reds defeat.
Liverpool 2-0 Portsmouth
Stuart Attwell – youngest Premier League manager at 27 years old. This is his first game officiating Liverpool. He is most well known for giving the famous ‘ghost goal’ for Reading against Watford. (Link)
Liverpool are 1/4 to win. Portsmouth are at 12/1. You can get the draw at 4/1.
Liverpool dominate the first goalscorer tables. Bizarrely you can even get Nabil El Zhar and Dani Pacheco at shorter odds than a Portsmouth first goalscorer. Their leading goalscorer Piquionne looks decent value at 12/1.
Click below to get up to £100 worth of free bets.
TV and Online
The match will be broadcast on ESPN in the UK. Further information is available in the forum