Saturday, January 28, 2006

Portsmouth 1-2 Liverpool (FA Cup)

Nice to see Liverpool on the BBC again. Well done Lawro and Hansen!

Granted Pompey away wasn’t the toughest draw possible, but it was bound to be tricky too. With that in mind, I was pleased how we handled the first half, looking fairly comfortably in control for much of it, but without creating many real chances. It looked rather like a tie against lower league opposition – as if we were confident we’d win and consequently lacking any urgency.

The breakthrough came from a very well-taken Gerrard penalty. Probably since Murphy’s departure we’ve lacked a regular penalty taker who inspires confidence, with both Stevie and Cisse sometimes good sometimes shocking. I’d quite like to see Kewell or Fowler given a chance, but with neither on the pitch, it was Gerrard who staked his claim.

I thought the award – handball against St? for handball as Primus cleared – was harsh. Mind you, Pompey fans can’t complain too much – in the first half at least three of their players made bad tackles, any of which could have been red-carded, not to mention Vignal elbowing Stevie in the ear…

Riise doubled the lead soon after with a trademark left-foot thunderbolt on the break. Sadly the second half wasn’t to be more of the same. Pompey switched to a 3-5-2 which gave Liverpool far more problems, and even Cisse’s pace never looked like troubling them at the back. The arrival of Crouch – given a hostile reception as a former Saint – did at least improve our hold-up play, but I’d have loved to have seen Sinama Pongolle again after his effect against Luton. Most disappointing was probably to concede another goal very similar to that against Man Utd, which led to a tight finish to the game, but thankfully this time we held out. Job done.

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