Liverpool 4-1 Pompey
Sat 22-12-07, 3pm
Pompey serves up Christmas turkey.
Pompey travelled to Anfield today looking to bounce back after the poor performance, and result against spurs, a tall order perhaps, but I was full of confidence after our recent results on road.
I was hopeful that we could nick a point, perhaps all 3, but it was clear that this would be an almost impossible task after the first half. We were awful, from the off it seemed that the players were resigned to defeat, no one wanted to play football, and attack the Liverpool defence. No player wanted to close down the opposition players, and nearly the whole team were making simple mistakes. It became so bad towards the half an hour mark, that we resorted to punting the ball up the field and hoping, praying for a blue shirt to latch on to it, this wasn't going to happen, as Carragher and Hyypia were dominant throughout the 90 minutes, aerially, and Benji just couldn't cope.
The game started with Liverpool piling on the pressure, Gerrard pulling the strings with Kewell and Torres tearing our defence to pieces. Every time we had the opportunity to break mistakes were made, tackles came in and the ball again was flashing past our posts. Liverpool were all over us. Campbell showed his age and Johnson his lack of experience as Torres took full advantage, and time after time latched on the Gerrard's ball and caused havoc. Ironically the first Liverpool goal came from a fantastic slide tackle from Distin on Torres in the penalty area, but the ball rolled to the left corner of the pitch were Kewell, with no pressure from a blue shirt, had time to loft in a ball to the edge of the box were Benayoun pounced and unleashed an accurate volley from 20 yards, which sailed into the bottom corner of the net.
Things only got worse, and three minutes later Liverpool doubled their lead when a Pompey player lost possession in the Liverpool half and a long ball forward to Dirk Kuyt, who crossed a ball in for Torres to find Distin's outstretched leg, which found the back of the net. Game over it seemed. The next 35 minutes, for me was the most disappointing thing about the performance. No passion, no closing down and no football. Niko and Benji tried the best, but with minimal service from the dreadful Diop, and the outplayed Muntari, no chances were being created.
Our one and only chance of the half came on the stroke of half time as Pedro Mendes had a trademark strike from 20 yards, only to see his effort skim wide.
The performance of the first half couldn't be worse Liverpool, I admit played some great football at times but we were woeful, shocking. The only player who showed glimpses of his self was Niko, but the rest of them were shocking. Our 4 -5-1 wasn't working, our midfield hadn't showed up and Torres was a different class. It could only get better, it seemed.
The second half was a slightly better Pompey effort, Utaka came off for Kanu and Johnson, who was injured in the first half was replaced by Lauren. We started playing football Kanu, who has a touch of God, held up the ball well and allowed Niko to work his magic down the left side. Diop got more involved and Muntari showed glimpses of his attributes. We were outplaying Liverpool, the fans got behind the team and I began to believe. Chances were being created and the passion was slowly creeping into the players. Diop wasted a chance as a shot from outside the box, from the outside of the boot went marginally wide. We continued to pass the ball round well and then the moment came. Kanu managed to find some space and whipped in a ball, which floated to the back of the Liverpool box to find Benji, who controlled the ball well, shimmered past a Liverpool defender and had the composure to smash the ball past Reina. The goal sent the fans into raptures and the confidence came back. We continued to play the ball about, but then our balloon was popped.
Mascherano played a ball for substitute Ryan Babel who's shot was parried by Jamo only to trickle to Torres, who carefully placed the ball into the bottom corner. 3 -1, game over!
This ended our hopes and the last minutes were a slow paced affair, with Liverpool undeservedly grabbing a fourth when Gerrard set up a ball to Torres on the edge of the area who thrashed the ball into the back of the net.
Well what can I say? We played like cavemen in the first half and this cost us, we didn't play to our potential in the second half really, but it was a good effort all things considering. 4-1 was a little cruel, but we didn't deserve anything from the game.
There were a couple of positives from the game, the substitutes played very well, Lauren in particular showed his experience and Kanu has the touch of a GOD! Seriously it's insane. Also watching Torres play, he is something special.
Jamo - 6/10 - Helpless, no mistakes.
Johnson - 4/10 - Run ragged by the best striker in the Prem, went off injured at halftime.
Distin - 5/10 - Not the Distin we no and love, unfortunate about the goal however.
Campbell - 5/10 - Showed his age.
Hermann - 3/10 - Awful, worst performance of the season from his point of view.
Overall, the defence didn't defend well, but they were up against Torres who was awesome. The midfield however didn't have many excuses.
Muntari and Diop - 3/10 - Very bad, Diop in particular should look himself in the mirror.
Niko - 7/10 - Good, not great but he didn't get much service, but when he did he managed to cope.
Utaka - 0/10 - Hmmm, Utaka's performance, the naught really is worthy of his performance. Didn't get a sniff.
Mendes - 2/10 - Couldn't handle Gerrard,
Benji - 8/10 MOM!! - Worked his socks off never gave in and a very well taken goal.
Kanu - 7/10 - Changed the shape of the game when he came on. Touch of god don't forget.
Lauren - 7/10 - Coped well against Kuyt and Torres perhaps secured a place in our side?
Taylor - 5/10 - No impact
Overall, we played rubbish. Yes, we did have a spell in the second half but no, really was the worst performance of this season. Perhaps a reshuffle of the team as well as using a player called DAVID NUGENT!! And playing 4-4-2!!
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