Paying The Penalty

Last updated : 15 September 2007 By Jim Bonner
Kanu was left to rue his penalty being saved by Jose Reina as Pompey were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Liverpool.

Harry opted for a 4-3-3 formation that would revert to a 4-5-1 when the visitors had the ball whilst Benitez left Torres and Gerrard on the bench.

Redknapp's tactics didn't work to begin with as Liverpool dominated possession and whenever we had the ball we were very sloppy in our passing whilst lumping it up to Kanu beared no fruit as the opposition centre backs were too strong in the air.

Pompey eventually felt their way into the game and were gifted a chance to take the lead when we were generously given a penalty as Arbeloa was penalised for tugging Kanu's shirt. It's not often you get a penalty for an offence like that, but the bottom line is that a foul in the box should result in a spot kick.

But you just knew when Kanu went forward to take it that he wouldn't score didn't you? The penalty was a carbon copy of the one he took against Blackburn last season. Same posture, same run-up, same placement and same save from Reina. Where was Matty Taylor when you needed him? Oh yeah... on the bench...

We had an arguably better chance after the break as John Utaka found himself in the centre of the box and all he has to do is stroke the ball in but he ends up slashing it wide. Muntari also should have hit the target with a mid-range strike as we were left to rue the great opportunities we had to take all three points.

For all of their star names, Liverpool didn't really threaten James' goal too much and that's because the defence were excellent today and a clean sheet against a side who have scored goals for fun is something to be proud of.

Another positive was the debut of Papa Bouba Diop. He covered so much ground and made plenty of good tackles and passes. However, I just wonder if Redknapp had been a bit braver in his team selection and started Kranjcar to give us some creativity in midfield, if we would have created more chances and would have won the game.

A point isn't the worst result at home against a side you'd expect to be challenging for the title this season and at least the ridiculously difficult start is over now....

"Oh, what's that? .... Blackburn away next....



Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 7 - A couple of good saves from Crouch and Benayoun but mostly untroubled.

Glen Johnson: 7 - Very good apart from a few lapses in concentration.

Sylvain Distin: 8 - Continues to ooze class in defence.

Sol Campbell: 8 - A welcome return at the back to help snuff out
Liverpool's aerial threat.

Hermann Hreidarsson: 7 - Did well against Pennant.

Papa Bouba Diop: 8 - All-action debut.

Sean Davis: 7 - Another good battling display.

Sulley Muntari: 6 - Average performance.

John Utaka: 6 - Ineffective on the left, much better on the right but missed a great chance.

Benjani: 4 - Anonymous, didn't do anything.

Kanu: 7 - Led the line extremely well but loses a mark for his poor penalty.


Jamie Ashdown

Noe Pamarot

Matthew Taylor

Niko Kranjcar: 6 - Solid showing but didn't change the game.

David Nugent