Pompey vs Liverpool Preview

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 28 January 2006
Here comes the game that Pompey fans seem to either be regarding as a confidence boosting game should we get a result, or just another unwanted game because we need to focus on the league and in the state we're in we're never going to win the cup anyway.

I'm sure we all remember the FA Cup game at home against Liverpool in 2004. Remembered mainly for one of the most inept refereeing performances that season as Matt Messias managed to get Linvoy Primus and Milan Baros confused as he "awarded" Liverpool a penalty for handball that was thankfully overturned by the linesman. But oh no.. that wasn't enough for Messias as he gave another penalty after Matthew Taylor actually got the ball with his challenge in the penalty area. So step up Englands number 1 striker Michael Owen; who puts the ball straight into Shaka Hislops arms. Richard Hughes scores his only Pompey goal to this day and the rest is history.

Back to the current day and much has changed since. Shaka is now keeping goals out for West Ham and will surely be replaced by new signing Dean Kiely. Our home form was very good back in that season compared to this season where we have scored a measly six goals at home. There have been changes at Liverpool too as they are now actually a force to be reckoned with compared to two seasons ago when they were struggling to keep up with the likes of Fulham and Charlton. How an attack that has only scored six goals at home is going to get past the rock solid centre back pairing of Carragher and Hyypia I don't know. Add to that how our likely selection of Davis and Mendes who haven't had much football are going cope with arguably the best centre midfield partnership in England of Gerrard and Alonso and you could say we have got our work massively cut out for us.

But there is hope as this is a Liverpool side that conceded three goals to Luton Town and one point looked like going out of the cup once again at the first hurdle. Their strikers aren't the most prolific either but there's every possibility that ex Pompey and Scummer Peter Crouch will play unless he does his hamstring in again and if he does play then if the league game at Anfield this season is anything to go by his reception is going to be errm.. rather bad...

As for the team news I've already mentioned Kiely is very likely to debut in goal for us but our defence is wafer thin right now with Stefanovic doubtful, Pamarot out and no sign of Primus either so it could be that our amazing striker Azar Karadas could be made into a makeshift defender.. I'm sure scousers are quaking in their boots. Speaking of strikers, who will play up front for us? Lua Lua, Mbesuma and Benjani are all in Africa which leaves Todorov, Pericard, Dario Silva and Olisadebe as possible selections. If I was a betting man I'd say Olisadebe and Pericard will start with the other two on the bench but who knows? As for Liverpool the guy capable of getting a goal out of nothing Luis Garcia is out and it is rumoured a few of Liverpool's star men could be rested but I wouldn't count on it.

Personally I don't want us to draw this game. The last thing we need right now is a replay especially one that we're almost certain to lose given our current predicament. A win would be handy although unlikely and if we lose I don't think too many Pompey fans will be bothered because of our main priority this season. I am looking for two things tommorow though. Firstly I want a commited, gritty performance that doesn't allow Liverpool any time on the ball at all. They need to be closed down at every oppurtunity so even if we lose then those players can go down the tunnel with their heads held high. The second thing I want is a proper atmosphere. Us fans need to do our bit to make Fratton Park a difficult place for the opposition to play once again as so many times this season the atmosphere has been lacklustre and nothing like it can be. Yes I know we've suffered many disappointments this season but tommorow we have nothing to lose so lets raise the decibel level a notch or two and let Liverpool know just what they are in for.

Who knows? This game just could be the spark we need to start our league climb. However I certainly don't want to think about a mauling...

Play Up Pompey!

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