After 9 matches in this seasons EPL we entertain Portsmouth at home as the only undefeated team left in the premership. Due to this as you well know has moved us into 1st place in the premiership, rightly so. Sundays win at Stamford Bridge and the home win of Man U has started the debate once again about our chances of winning the title this year. Many believe these two games have shown that we can beat the best at home and away which must therefore prove that we are strong title contenders.
However we all know that Liverpool “on their day” have been able to at times mix it with the big boys but then ultimately fall down against the so called “weaker” sides within the EPL. Evidence of this was the draw against Stoke following our win against ManU. However as Shanks once said “What can you do, playing against eleven goalposts?”. Tonight we do not need another “Stoke” but back up our great win in London with a good solid home win to cement our position at the top.
So what about Pompey. They have a new manager in Tony Adams and he knows all about coming to Anfield and getting the business done and he would just love his first official match in charge to be win away at Anfield. He will have his players fired up and we all know that teams somehow always lift themselves when playing in front of the new gaffer for the first time as we saw with Spurs and Redknapp who we will have to travel to on Sunday. Last week I was seeing these games as quite an easy 6 points but with the switch of managers and players out to impress it may not be as simple as I would have wished.
So what about tonights game. Liverpool are again without Torres and Keane still has a slight groin problem but should start. Playing without Torres does not fill us with dread lately as we have done well without him to date but again Kuyt, Keane and Babel need to perform up front and hit the net. Adams is hoping for Sol Campbell to be fit but Johnson and Glen Little will miss out. Pompey also travel to Anfield undefeated in the last four matches but Liverpool have an unbeaten home EPL record against Portsmouth of three wins and two draws, with clean sheets in three of the five games. Portsmouth have only scored two goals in total in their last six top-flight visits to Anfield but this year they have more of a threat with Crouch and the on-form Defoe up front. One stat I am sure Portsmouth would like to end is the fact that it’s 57 years since they last took away maximum points from Anfield, winning 0-2 in the top-flight on 18 August 1951.
Last years corresponding fixture was an emphatic 4-1 for The Reds and a resounding victory of this type again would in my opinion send out a clear message, if we have not done already, that we are here this year for the long haul. We of course will be facing 3 ex-Reds in the form of James who was between the post for Liverpool 277 times, Crouch with 134 appearances with 42 goals in three seasons. Fortunately for Liverpool Djimi Traore is at Portsmouth who played 141 times for us (is it any wonder why we havn’t won the EPL yet)
Match Prediction 2-1 Liverpool – No clean sheet for Reina tonight as I think Crouch and Defoe will pose problems for our defense.
Very important stretch of 6 matches against teams in the lower half of the league. These six games will def show if it’s on our not this season.
The games are now coming thick and fast and this has to be 3 points in the bag for us. If we do not get 3 points then all the work from Sunday will be undone. On paper we should win but this is football and you never know. But I am still very confident that we will get 3 points and I also predict a 2-1 scoreline in our favour.
It will also be interesting to see who Rafa start with tonight. I know he has not been rotating as often this season but I feel he needs to rest a couple of legs, notably Riera who has been working his socks off. I would like to see the following start: Riena, Dossena, Carragher, Agger, Degen (if he is fit if not then Arbeloa), Babel down the left, Alonso and Mascherano in the middle, Yossi on the right, Gerrard playing just behind Kuyt.