Sat 15th September 2007 12:45pm @ Fratton Park
Jose Reina, yet again, saved a penalty to ensure that the reds got at least a point out of a miserable game down on the south coast.
Rafa started the game with both Torres and Gerrard on the bench and with Crouch up front. Whether this was a) tactical, b) due to fitness concerns or c) looking ahead to Porto it was definitely d) the wrong line up.
Portsmouth are a tricky side, and if Liverpool have any intention of winning the 19th league title then they will need to ensure that their best sides are competing for the difficult Premiership ties. Liverpool’s failure to grab all three points has seen us removed from our position as early title leaders.
Rafa also left Babel on the bench, and the end result, with Liverpool failing to score in their first competitive fixture of the season.
Benayoun and Alonso began to find themselves overrun in midfield, after Portsmouth had initially had some success with the long ball approach. Meanwhile, Voronin was looking lively and found the crossbar from nearly 20 yards out.
As the first half advanced, Arbeloa was alleged to have pulled Kanu’s shirt – the Nigerian however failed to beat the brilliant Reina from the penalty spot and Liverpool’s blushes were spared.
In the second half, as the reds failed to improve, Benitez finally brought on Torres, Babel and Gerrard and Liverpool looked sharper. However, it was too late and as the game ticked down it was Portsmouth who could have grabbed all three points.
A disappointing day for the reds and the only tonic will be a convincing three points next week against Birmingham at Anfield.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Agger, Arbeloa, Pennant (Gerrard 67), Sissoko, Alonso (Babel 77), Benayoun, Voronin, Crouch (Torres 62).
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Hyypia.
Booked: Alonso, Sissoko.
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Utaka, Davis, Diop, Muntari, Mwaruwari (Kranjcar 67), Kanu.
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Nugent, Taylor, Pamarot.
Booked: Diop, Johnson, Davis.
Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).
Post Match Reaction
“I think it is disappointing.
“But I think we played well, creating chances and good on the counter attack. I am really pleased with the players.
“I think we controlled the game in the first half but in the last 15 minutes it was very open.”