Vital Football

Pompey hold leaders

Pompey
0 - 0
Liverpool

Fratton

12:45pm

Attendance: 20,388

Referee:

Liverpool slipped off the top after being held to a goalless draw at Fratton, but if Kanu had succeeded where Taylor normally does, it could have been oh so different.
Papa Diop made his debut in the centre of midfield, with Utaka switching wings to accomodate Benjani on the right, this was to ensure a 5 man midfield obviously to squeeze Liverpool out. Kanu played the lone role up front with Campbell stepping in at the back at the expense of Pamarot.

For Liverpool it was a start for Crouch upfront, Torres and Gerrard had to be content with spots on the bench along with Ryan Babel.
Jamie Carragher returned after a broken rib, and Finnan shook off a light knock to take his place in defence.

First Half

The match got off to a slowish start with both defenses cancelling each other out, Yossi Benayoun had the first effort at goal, forcing a smart save out of James at his near post.
Both teams played the ball around, although Pompey, Muntari in particular were guilty of giving the ball away cheaply, the game resembled a base-line tennis slog, with both teams building from the back and getting repelled anywhere the other goal.
Pompey's first real effort on goal arrived with a strike from Benjani,slipping in from his wide role and striking with power only to see his effort first deflected and the turned wide by Reina.
Liverpool were being reduced to shooting from outside the area, mainly from free-kicks after Sissoko resembled Bambi on ice anytime he came anywhere near the Pompey area, Pompey's wall did the job on each occasion though, although Mike Riley wasn't gaining any fans with his willingness to blow his whistle everytime the big Mali man did his shot soldier routine.
Minutes before halftime came the turning point of the match, Kanu was held in the box, the linesmans flag went across his chest, and Pompey had a golden opportunity to take the lead, much to Liverpool's, Carragher and Alonso's in particular disgust. The ball was placed on the spot, and Kanu who missed so miserably last season against Blackburn, did much the same, after leaving a neon light in the goalmouth to show Reina exactly where he would put it.

The game was now alive though, passions were raised and blood was flowing, tackles flew in, but no goal was threatened.

Second Half

Liverpool threatened first again, Crouch flicking a shot over the bar after nipping in blindside of Hreidarsson.
The neutrals watching on Sky would no doubt being waiting for the red machine to go up a gear and romp home, it was Pompey however who created the better chances, Utaka firing wide with the whole goal in fron of him, and Muntari, who had upped his game second half, doing likewise, seeming to miskick after Kanu's set-up.

Gerrard and Torres came on, Babel not far behind as Benitez went for the points, but apart from one chamce for Torres, which he skied, the match could have gone either way, Liverpool had the greater goal threat, but Pompey, the better chances.

In Summary a draw was probably about right, but I along with many others left my seat dissapointed at not winning, a penalty should have been enough to clinch it, but when Kanu put the ball on the spot, I looked for Taylor, Kranjcar, anyone, not Kanu to hit it, but it was not to be, we played the top four and gained 2 points, both at home. The gulf to the top sides is there for all to see, but we are edging closer.


Star Player

Diop

For all those who doubted him, Papa Diop gave a performance to show why he was signed, along with Sean Davis and Muntari he covered the midfield and won many tackles, if his heading was more direct he may even of scored!

Player Ratings


James

No real scares, did what had to be done

Johnson

Sacrificed his attacking instinct to turn in a sterling defensive performance, only a late slip with Torres blotting his card.

Hreidarsson

Best Pompey performance by far, he even had an attacking threat about him.

Distin

Cultured as ever, only seemed slightly ruffled when Torres came on.

Campbell

Our Captain, our rock.

Utaka

Looked a shadow on the left, went to ground a bit easily and missed a glorious chance, but looked like his old self after Kranjcar's arrival allowed him to switch flanks.

Benjani

Worked seflessly again, one good strike.

Diop

Man mountain and midfield general.

Muntari

Awful first half, much improved second.

Davis

The bloke runs a marathon every match, won countless tackles, but his tendency to be crablike in his passin,g seems to cloud many a fans vision of him.

Kanu

Crap penalty, otherwise the usual close control and lovely passes, to be fair was harshly treated by Riley after the penalty award, could easily have won another.

Kranjcar

Made little impact.

Manager Rating

Redknapp will be gutted at just a point really, but you know he will point out this was Liverpool and we are little Pompey.

Opponent Rating

Benitez may have underestimated us a bit with his decision to place Gerrard and Torres on the bench, they looked a lot better with them.


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Writer:paultsmouth
Date:Saturday September 15 2007
Time: 5:05PM

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Comments

0
bit gutted at a point really, still Robinson let in 3 again, Jamo for England?
paultsmouth
15/09/2007 17:06:00
0
I think you'll find the leaders won at Spurs :) Although good job on holding the pool. Much appreiciation to the Arsenal retierment home!!
Rocky7
15/09/2007 17:27:00
0
Good report. Sounds frustrating though, I'll have to see MotD tonight. The missed penalty reeks of irony.
Lysimachus
15/09/2007 17:27:00
0
Just re-read the article, didn't realise the extent of my sarcasm!
paultsmouth
15/09/2007 17:37:00
0
bolox was a draw the right result, we cannot keep looking gift horses in the mouth like this, so what if it maybe wasnt a penalty the big four get these all the time and who cares at the end NO BUGER!! To miss the three clear chancesthat we had is crap, WILL SOME ONE BUY US A F0KING GOAL SCORER, we are in 15th and before anubody mentions the pathetic " ha but we have played the big four so its normal" to me again today we have to go away to blackburn next week. I am seriously dissapointed that people who are paid to score cant, meet the new boss, same as the old boss
russellm
15/09/2007 17:58:00
0
Well, i thought it was a good game. Was surprised by Boubadiop, didnt realise he was such a good player. Thought, after all my concerns Johnson did well, but he has to keep his concentration every game now. Herman did put in his best display so far, Kanu was Kanu how can this guy play up front on his own??? Ball skills second to none, but no pace or stamina! Seen the penalty miss, what a lame shot. Russellm, remember we have played the big four......and we are just pompey LOL, i can see redknapps interview already!!! Positives...complete turn around after the Arsenal game. Distin looks amazing. HR must start playing players in thier best positions..... Benji running the channels, not the right wing, Kanuu up front with someone else......Johnson in the reserves.....haha couldnt resist. Look, overall a great performance from the team today. more of the same and we wont be in 15th for long.
pompey4me
15/09/2007 18:28:00
0
And play Utaka on the right, FFS.
pompey4me
15/09/2007 18:32:00
0
Agree with most of what you have all said but the worst thing about the penalty was that no-one knew who was going to take it as the ball was handed from hand to hand. This should be decided BEFORE the game not during. Good performance though and Liverpool hanging on an the end a bit but they did look dangerous on the break.
eastneydave
15/09/2007 18:41:00
0
It was a harsh penalty. Pompey players didn't even ask for one, which tells you all you need to know about it. I agree that a draw is the fair result. Pompey had two good chances to score in the second half and missed them both. Voronin hit the bar and was a yard short for a tap in. Good luck the rest of the season.
JohnDoe
15/09/2007 19:49:00
0
I thought we did well, Liverpool are a good side and a footballing side, the last footballing side passed us to defeat at the Emirates, we showed character today, suprised Matty and Pedro did not play, mind you Sean is only one card from a ban now. Distin and Sol, marvellous lads, how different it is when the Sol man is in the team, and the Wardrobe did ok. Utaka on the right Harry, it is unfair to get him to try a role which is alien to him, he is a threat on the right with Johnson. Cheers John, good luck midweek and for the rest of the season.
Owenspompey
15/09/2007 20:07:00
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