Kop Contained

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 30 November 2006
Pompey moved back up to third in the table after claiming a well earned 0-0 draw at Anfield. Redknapp set out his team to contain Liverpool and we did just that as the home side failed to break us down.

I said before the game that I'd take a 0-0 if offered and that ended up being the case due to Pompey's tenacity and willingness to chase everything and just not giving up. I was worried when it was revealed that we were going to play 4-5-1 again but I have to swallow my pride and say that this time, the tactics were spot on as the Kop ended up very frustrated by the time the final whistle blew.

The game itself wasn't the most entertaining affair at all. Reina just as well of not turned up in the Liverpool goal as Pompey only managed two shots (both off target) all game. The closest we got to scoring was when Hyppia gave the ball to substitute Kanu who had a clear run on goal, unfortunately the Premiership's joint-top goalscorer couldn't decide whether to shoot or pass to Thompson and ended up doing nothing as Liverpool won the ball back.

Liverpool created several chances in the first half but they either flew off target or David "Adolf" James held the shots comfortably. In the second half we began to grow into the game and kept hold of the ball better. For all of Liverpool's possession the way we were set out meant that they couldn't find a way through us and anything that came into the box was dealt with quite easily by our defence.

There was a slight heart-in-mouth moment when Steven Gerrard headed into the side netting in the five minutes of stoppage time allocated but we would have felt hard done by if Liverpool had taken all 3 points. The difference between this performance and Sunday's against Newcastle was that there was a lot more fight in the players last night and we passed the ball on the floor instead of just hoofing it to Benjani.

I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't show any ambition but we needed to stop the rot of away defeats and I'd think every team in the Premiership would take a draw at Anfield if offered. We did resort to a bit of time-wasting at the end, with time taken over throw-ins and the late sub, which got confusing as Sol Campbell looked to be going off, but then didn't.

I was also disappointed once again by the lack of atmosphere that the Kop are capable of producing. The "Tranmere make more noise than you!" chant summed it up perfectly. The most entertaining event of the game was probably when one of the fans in the home end revealed himself to be a Pompey fan, his blue shirt stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the reds and he was eventually escorted out!

In the end it's a very valuable point that has moved us back to the dizzy heights of third in the league! It sets us up nicely for the two crunch games against Villa and Everton at home. Keep this up and who knows what will happen?

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 7 - Wasn't really tested but dealt with everything well.

Noe Pamarot: 7 - Solid game from him once again at right back.

Linvoy Primus: 8 - Dealt with everything Liverpool tried and kept their strikers quiet.

Sol Campbell: 8 - Like Linvoy, just wouldn't be beaten by the lacklustre Liverpool forwards. Either Sol or Linvoy were Pompey's Man Of The Match.

Matthew Taylor: 7 - Tried to get forward but did his defensive duties well.

David Thompson: 7 - Looked our biggest creative outlet down the wing and stifled play well.

Gary O'Neil: 7 - Tireless effort from Gary who also tried to get forward when possible.

Pedro Mendes: 7 - Held and passed the ball well until he went off with injury.

Richard Hughes: 6 - Did his job adequately as you'd expect.

Niko Kranjcar: 5 - Not his sort of game.

Benjani: 5 - Did what he could but was never going to win against Hyppia and Agger.

Subs

Jamie Ashdown

Andy O'Brien: N/A - Came on in the dying seconds to time-waste.

Manuel Fernandes: 6 - Showed glimpses of what he could do. If he lost the ball he would be onto the opposition quickly to get it back.

Ognjen Koroman

Kanu: 6 - Looked more likely to cause problems than Benjani but he only had limited time.

Portsmouth Match Reports


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