Portsmouth 2-3 Liverpool

Premier League
Saturday 07 February 2009 - 5:30 pm
Fratton Park
Portsmouth2
3Liverpool
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Liverpool reclaimed their place at the top of the table after beating Portsmouth in what turned out to be  a thrilling away game.

Many would have frowned upon the team selection when it was released before the game,  what with Alonso, Kuyt and Torres all taking seats on the bench. But it later proved a wise move when it looked like some points might yet again slip away from the reds. But after another mouthwatering come back from Liverpool with the determination not to head back up north empty handed, all three points were taken for the reds.

After Liverpool bossing a lot of possession, it was Portsmouth who scored first against the run of play. And after Liverpool’s exit from the FA Cup at the hands of their bitter rivals, it was typical that  Everton fan Nugent was to score that goal. But his taunts, celebrations and smiles were soon wiped of his face when Liverpool were awarded an in-direct free kick in Portsmouth’s penalty area. And Aurelio didn’t mess about when he rocketed his shot in the corner of David James’ net.

Liverpool began to up their tempo looking for a second goal, but it was Portsmouth who took the lead for a second time.  Hreidarsson latched onto the end of a free kick to head the ball past Pepe Reina – who probably could have done better.  But not long after, Kuyt’s graft paid off in the penalty area to blast the ball past David James at his near post and get the reds back on track.

With only minutes to go and things getting really desperate to avoid a draw, Benayoun stepped up the pressure with a cross into the Portsmouth box and the man who is going to be hugely important in the rest of Liverpool’s season, Fernando Torres, latched onto the cross with a bullet of a header that nearly burst the net.

The traveling, faithful Liverpool fans were bouncing and rightly so. Because Liverpool had answered to the critics once again when it really did matter.

Liverpool’s team selection could have been the main focus in the Sunday papers tomorrow morning. More questions would have been asked of Rafa Benitez if it hadn’t turned out well. But it did. Liverpool got to rest some of their most important players and some of the squad players got to play some first team football. Substitutions were used to full effect and a massive boost to confidence was restored.

So now, thankfully, the result will be talked about and the reds can focus on their next vital league game.

Goals

Fabio Aurelio Dirk Kuyt Fernando Torres

Teams

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Dossena (Alonso 67), Arbeloa, Mascherano, Aurelio, Babel (Torres 76), Ngog (Kuyt 56), Benayoun.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Riera, El Zhar.

Goals: Aurelio 69, Kuyt 85, Torres 90.

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Basinas, Davis, Mullins (Kranjcar 46), Belhadj, Crouch, Nugent.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Lauren, Mvuemba, Pamarot, Kanu, Gekas.

Booked: Hreidarsson.

Goals: Nugent 62, Hreidarsson 78.

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

14 comments on
Portsmouth 2-3 Liverpool

  1. To Anfield Online.
    I think Saturday was lucky. The best players should always be started and when a lead is built up, then taken off.

    Sorry if i sound negative, very frustrated instead.

    Cannot understand why we aways struggle against the smaller sides. Perhaps its Rafa’s negativity we should look at? why does he always play 2 x holding midfielders at home? why not play 4, 4 , 2 at home and just go for the win.

  2. Following all the above comments it is plain that we are divided and probably a good reason why we arent managers. The Portsmouth game was difficult viewing especially after such highs as the Chelsea game and such lows as the Everton game.

    I am concerned that we do have players wo do struggle. Simple as. We had tons of possesion and couldn’t convert. Whats the old phrase ‘stick the ball in the back of the net and we’ll discuss it later’, and the other most important one ‘if you dont score you dont win’.

    Now there were positives from the game – we won and we also got chance to play some fringe players. The real negative however was it was too close for comfort – remember we played a team that have been awful – and as I am writing this Tony Adams has been sacked!

    After watching some reserve games do feel that some of these guys are overlooked by Rafa for some of his own signings. Never been fans of Kuyt and Benayoun but recently have been eating humble pie as they have stepped up – which is awesome but we do have some dross in the team – for once am not going to name them but they were there for all to see.

    Am worried about seeing the teams around us – nobody is playing that well – but for all our possesion stats we do not seem to convert that often.

    But that said we’re second and even if we finish in second that is such a big bonus on recent years…but its not over yet and 13 games still to go.

    come on the reds.

  3. I think the lads did well yesterday. With the exception of Babel’s miss, I think the players themselves weren’t at fault. Brilliant contributions from Kuyt and Torres when they came on as well.
    I don’t have too many problems with the rotation system, but on yesterday’s line-up I really think there needs to be some limits. Playing a total of 6 defenders rather than a slightly tired couple of midfielders or youth players doesn’t add up to me. Add to that a lightweight 19-year-old up front and we were showing about as much penetration as a marshmallow sword… there’s no use having so much possession without an end result. Take them off when we’re a couple of goals up sounds a good plan to me.
    But as a fan, what a comeback, what a victory, absolutely loved it when Torres’s header hit the back of the net!!

  4. Culcul,

    Indeed they should have been wins. Now I’m wondering how many of those games you saw.

    Certainly Stoke at home we had 30 shots to Stoke’s 2. Our finishing was terrible and we didn’t get a deserved goal. Stoke away we were just crap.

    Hull at home we managed to find ourselves 2-0 down before we woke up. One was an own goal before we levelled to 2-2.

    Bolton we beat 2-0 away and then 3-0 at home. So you’re point is what?

    Wigan away – Lucas Leiva gave away a penalty.

    Earning £100,000 a week or whatever you say, unfortunately, doesn’t galvanise players with kryptonite. I’m fairly sure playing in a Premier League match is a little different to playing on the park, or a Sunday league game.

    Both you and Duffer (apt name) would be well judged to remember that we won this game and stop killing us all with your negativity. And that two substitutes scored those goals.

  5. it makes me wonder if MR.Benitez is trying to take the p**s out of the loyal supporters who pay his wages every week,if he wants to p**s the board off let him f**k off and do it some other way we are all waiting to long to win back our crown as champions of england that team he put out on saturday was a disaster even the commentators were lost for words.it seems to me that he dosent care if they win or loose it he just seems to be on a personal vedetta

  6. Can Anfield Online explain what has happened this season against

    Hull, Stoke x 2, Bolton, Wigan ect????

    That’s five draws above which should have been wins!

    £100K a week, train two/three hours each day and i am tired?????

  7. Culcul, the worst performance?

    What planet are YOU living on. For a strange line-up, enforced due to tiredness, suspensions, injuries then I thought we showed a bit of attacking determination.

    Pompey were lucky to go ahead both times against the run of play.

    To suggest Rafa moves on when we are top of the league, having picked up 87 points in the last 38 games is absolutely ludicrous.

    Rafa was clearly right to withhold the players because when they were brought on as the opponents tired – they turned the game and bagged us all three points.

    YNWA.

  8. What game was Glen watching?
    This was the worst performance from a Liverpool team that we could have asked for. Is Rafa a genious (No) a geniASS (yes)
    The amount of bog average players signed by Liverpool showed in yesterdays performance. Ngog & Babel never had a shot on target and even when the ball was handed to Babel on the line he missed. Fabio in midfield (what a joke) surely there must be one young reserve player capable of playing in midfield? Dossena (did he play yesterday)mascherano was the only attacking presense we had and he is a holding midfielder.
    Tired players my ars-, Villa & Everton players play every other week and never get jaded. This is a mind set which managers like to spin. If you tell a player they are tired, they will be tired. Everton played Liverpool 3 times also, used the same 13/14 players and could still beat Bolton 3 – 0. Did Moyes talk of jaded players beforehand? No, he said the 3 games made his players physically stronger. Good positive leadership shown. Does Martin O’Niell rest Barry, Young etc. No, he tells them to get on with it.
    I hope Rafa moves on because to give him a new contract & full control of the transfer policy at Anfield will finish Liverpool. Image him having free reign to sign another batch of players like Babel, Ngog, Lucus, Dossena, Kuyt, and at the same time bin players like Crouch, Keane, Pennant, Guthrie, Anderson etc? He said that Keane was not up to the job, well the first list above contains players that have been at Liverpool alot longer and have not contributed anything. What does Rafa do. STICKS WITH THEM and spins crap & deflects his own short comings.

  9. Rafa Benitez took such a big gamble…he’s playing roulette with Liverpool………it worked today but gambles like that wont always come off.Be grateful for poor Portsmouth defending.

    You guys all think he’s now a hero……wait till silly moves like that cost Liverpool the title.It wont surprise me.

  10. If we continue gambling with the starting line up like that then we might not be lucky like we were yesterday. We cant go into a game waiting to be awarded an indirect free kick to save us from dropping points. Few games left and we cant take chances. Man u is a running devil on fire admit it. Rafa should start our best men, secure a win then later he can use substitutions to rest them. If Torres, kuyt, yossi & xabi all started from the first whistle against the weaker pompey side then maybe we wld be 3 or 4 goals up into the end of first half. Rafa can then do as he pleases thereafter in the second half even if he wants to play the team doctor to rest torres! Get my point?

  11. With only 15′ on pitch, He is the one. Hope we can keep the momentum event though there is international fixtures..
    Rafa needs to change the line up if we want to create the goals…

  12. Look at that third goal Torres game intelligence and timing improves with each game. He is by far the best striker in the premier league. He seems to be able to improve the players around him. re example kuyt. number one teams have the character to fight back. Hope nando wins the premier league scoring title at this rate he can. Even without Gerrard we can win. Other players are stepping up their game.

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