Liverpool vs Portsmouth Match Preview

"Just what we need", I hear you cry. After a run of inconsistent results we now travel to Anfield - fantastic. Follow this up with Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs and you start to realise the future looks ever-so-slightly grim...

Or does it?

After all, Liverpool are only three places above us. They've scored less goals than us this season. They've hardly played at a level with matches to their Champions League exploits and have at times looked distinctly average. What's more, we are currently a team who do far, far better on the road than we do at Fratton. We also have experience of having won once already in Liverpool this season, our 1-0 win against Everton. That's not to say that it's going to be easy to waltz up there and get a result of course, that would just be silly and a bit too optimistic, even for my liking. But don't forget the stats since promotion of our record against Liverpool;

W 2 D 2 L 2

Honours even. Indeed, two of our visits to their gaff have been cracking affairs; the 1-1 in the FA Cup which will be forever remembered for Matt Taylor's goal celebration, and then last season in the league with LuaLua's desperate injury time leveller for the same scoreline. Whilst I was at both of those games, I didn't travel up when we lost 3-0 the only other time we've played there since coming up, so if we lose then make sure to blame me.

There's been a couple of big questions over this game; who is playing in defence and who is playing up front? Dejan is out injured and other rumours suggest that Andy O'Brien is also likely to be missing, something that's been played down by the coaching staff. Either way it seems a switch around is likely but since we can't even begin to guess what tactics are going to be employed it's a touch complicated to wonder who's going to be playing where. At least we do have the likes of Griff, Linvoy, Priske and even Cissé who can step in at centre back if need-be. Who knows, maybe even Karadas could revert to emergency centre back since he did start his career as a defender. However this would rob us of his services up front (stop laughing at the back) as we're set to only play one up front - could it be Silva, who didn't feature for Uruguay in the week? Or maybe Mbesuma, who is apparently almost fit? How about Toddy, who bashed in a couple for Bulgaria last weekend?

Either way, there'll be a familiar face lining up for the opposition up front, a certain Peter Crouch. He hasn't scored since his multi-million pound move from Southampton - what odds on him getting his first tomorrow - and is guaranteed to get a bit of stick off the travelling contingent. Personally I always liked him as a player and thought he did well for us, but I suppose if I was six foot seven and had Prosinecki passing the ball onto my head every week I could probably score twenty goals or so too. Still I hope he doesn't get too much stick as we all know what happens when we abuse players (Davies, Diouf, Rooney) - it's a guaranteed one goal head start!

Prediction time then. There's a lot of pressure on the manager (surprise surprise) but I reckon a point isn't an unrealistic target. It sounds obvious but we need a good start; if they get a goal early doors then the heads will drop and it could end up being another typical Pompey away day; "Played alright, created some chances but lost by a couple anyway". If we get the early initiative and maybe even an early goal, then we've got something to hang on to and can think about getting something from Anfield again. More vengeance for 1992!