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Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Saturday, 19 December 2009

Portsmouth   2 - 0   Liverpool

Portsmouth's Nadir Belhadj (left) celebrates his goal against Liverpool with team-mate Younes Kaboul
Belhadj (left) celebrates his goal with team-mate Kaboul

By Mandeep Sanghera

Ten-man Liverpool's season of woe continued as they were beaten by bottom-of-the-table Portsmouth.

Nadir Belhadj screamed in a shot from an acute angle to put Pompey ahead after poor defending from the Reds.

The visitors had Javier Mascherano red carded for a nasty tackle on Tal Ben-Haim before an unmarked Daniel Agger headed high for Liverpool.

Tireless striker Frederic Piquionne's volley from a tight angle sealed the home side's victory.

Pompey manager Avram Grant had engineered a Champions League semi-final win over Liverpool in April 2008 during his time as Chelsea boss.

Red card changed game - Benitez

He was at it again for a Portsmouth side battling for survival as his team earned a victory over a beleaguered Liverpool outfit that did little to back up manager Rafael Benitez's guarantee that his side will finish in the top four this season.

Grant sent his team out with the task of frustrating and pressuring Liverpool and his Pompey players, as has been the case recently, were not lacking in effort and application right from the start.

The visitors had plenty of possession but struggled to find a way through a disciplined 4-5-1 formation.

Reds forward Dirk Kuyt did get an early sight of goal after Steven Gerrard had nodded on a Fernando Torres cross only for his first touch to escape him along with the chance to get in a close-range strike.

Torres sent a shot over as he tried to bend one into the top corner and, although the home side were passionately and purposefully keeping Liverpool at bay, they were lacking a threat in attack.

That all changed as a combination of a well-worked move, unconvincing defending from the Reds and a stunning Belhadj strike.

606: DEBATE

Liverpool's defence failed to deal with a low Hassan Yebda cross and Kevin Prince-Boateng powered in a shot which keeper Pepe Reina did well to block.

Glen Johnson could only find Belhadj with his tame headed clearance and Reina could do little to stop a thunderous strike from the Algerian which was with his weaker right foot and from the most narrow of angles.

The visitors should have equalised when Agger had a free header from a Gerrard free-kick only to put his effort high from six yards.

As if Liverpool did not have enough problems, the scale of their task increased when Mascherano was sent off.

The Argentine went in hard and with his studs showing on Ben-Haim and, despite needing treatment as he himself came off worst, Mascherano was dismissed by referee Lee Mason.

We like being underdogs - Grant

Benitez has regularly left onlookers puzzled with his team selection and with the creative spark of £20m summer signing Alberto Aquilani out with injury he again surprised many by giving Andreas Dossena a rare start on the left flank in place of Yossi Benayoun.

Benayoun eventually replaced the Italian, but Pompey looked the more likely to score, with Jamie Carragher - making his 600th Liverpool appearance - having to produce a lunging tackle to block a Piquionne strike.

When Liverpool belatedly threatened, Pompey keeper Aasmir Begovic pulled off a great save to claw away a Gerrard shot which took two deflections.

Piquionne should have sealed the win, but horribly mistimed a header from Boateng's cross, though he soon made up for the error by driving in a late volley after a neat turn.


Portsmouth manager Avram Grant:
"We played like a team. From game to game we are playing better and we deserved the win.

"I'm very pleased with the performance and result. It continues what we did on Wednesday against Chelsea.

"It showed the players that, even if we are at the bottom and people don't expect us to play this football, we can do it - even against the big teams."

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:
"I think that the team were good in the first half and we were controlling the game. We conceded a goal but we had control.

"After the sending off of Mascherano everything changed.

"The referee was perfect," he added sarcastically. "He was perfect when not giving fouls to Torres. He was perfect in everything."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Portsmouth 2-0 Liverpool FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Belhadj 33
  • Piquionne 82

    Portsmouth

    • 31 Begovic
    • 03 Kaboul
    • 07 Hreidarsson
    • 16 Finnan
    • 26 Ben-Haim
    • 39 Belhadj
    • 05 O'Hara
    • 11 Brown
    • 23 Boateng (Mullins 89)
    • 32 Yebda yellow card
    • 09 Piquionne yellow card (Kanu 90+3)

    Substitutes

    • 21 Ashdown,
    • 06 Mullins,
    • 17 Utaka,
    • 22 Hughes,
    • 35 Wilson,
    • 24 Dindane,
    • 27 Kanu

    Liverpool

    Substitutes

    Ref: Lee MasonAtt: 20,534
    PORTSMOUTH
    LIVERPOOL

    Possession

    • Portsmouth 48%
    • Liverpool 52%

    Attempts on target

    • Portsmouth 6
    • Liverpool 3

    Attempts off target

    • Portsmouth 8
    • Liverpool 4

    Corners

    • Portsmouth 8
    • Liverpool 10

    Fouls

    • Portsmouth 7
    • Liverpool 12
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:19 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
    • 90:00+2:00 Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.
    • 90:00+2:00 Substitution Nwankwo Kanu joins the action as a substitute, replacing Frederic Piquionne.
    • 90:00+2:00 Tal Ben-Haim fouled by Dirk Kuyt, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 90:00+1:12 Jamie O'Hara decides to take a short corner, Nadir Belhadj sends in a cross, save by Jose Reina.
    • 88:34 Substitution (Portsmouth) makes a substitution, with Hayden Mullins coming on for Kevin-Prince Boateng.
    • 88:34 Effort on goal by Steven Gerrard from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
    • 87:41 The ball is delivered by Glen Johnson, clearance made by Hermann Hreidarsson. Inswinging corner taken by Fabio Aurelio from the right by-line, clearance by Frederic Piquionne.
    • 87:18 Substitution Jay Spearing joins the action as a substitute, replacing Leiva Lucas.
    • 84:36 Fabio Aurelio concedes a free kick for a foul on Hassan Yebda. Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.
    • 83:31 Jamie O'Hara has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Steven Gerrard gets a block in.
    • 82:44 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Jamie O'Hara from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
    • 82:26 Booking Frederic Piquionne goes into the referee's book.
    • 81:24 Assist on the goal came from Kevin-Prince Boateng.
    • 81:24 GOAL - Frederic PiquionnePortsmouth 2 - 0 Liverpool Frederic Piquionne gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Portsmouth 2-0 Liverpool.
    • 80:37 The referee blows for offside against Leiva Lucas. Indirect free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
    • 78:33 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Fabio Aurelio, Asmir Begovic makes a save. Shot from inside the area by Jamie Carragher clears the bar.
    • 78:07 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio played to the near post, clearance by Younes Kaboul.
    • 77:11 Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard, Younes Kaboul manages to make a clearance.
    • 75:17 Centre by Dirk Kuyt, Tal Ben-Haim makes a clearance.
    • 74:29 The ball is sent over by Kevin-Prince Boateng, Headed effort from inside the penalty area by Frederic Piquionne misses to the right of the target.
    • 73:01 Centre by Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
    • 72:40 The ball is swung over by Kevin-Prince Boateng, Yossi Benayoun gets a block in.
    • 72:03 The ball is crossed by Fabio Aurelio, Tal Ben-Haim manages to make a clearance.
    • 71:38 Jamie O'Hara challenges Leiva Lucas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.
    • 69:49 Leiva Lucas is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.
    • 69:06 Jamie O'Hara has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
    • 68:16 Nadir Belhadj sends in a cross.
    • 66:32 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Steven Gerrard, clearance made by Younes Kaboul.
    • 66:32 Substitution Emiliano Insua leaves the field to be replaced by Fabio Aurelio.
    • 66:32 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Asmir Begovic makes a save. Steven Gerrard takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post.
    • 64:01 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kevin-Prince Boateng on Emiliano Insua. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
    • 63:49 Jamie O'Hara produces a cross.
    • 62:30 Effort on goal by Jamie O'Hara from 30 yards. Blocked by Jamie Carragher.
    • 61:10 Jamie O'Hara decides to take the corner short, A cross is delivered by Nadir Belhadj, Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.
    • 59:28 The free kick is swung in left-footed by Jamie O'Hara, Daniel Agger makes a clearance.
    • 59:28 Booking Glen Johnson is shown a yellow card.
    • 59:15 Unfair challenge on Jamie O'Hara by Glen Johnson results in a free kick.
    • 58:54 The assistant referee flags for offside against Kevin-Prince Boateng. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 57:14 Shot from close range by Younes Kaboul clears the bar.
    • 56:32 Corner taken left-footed by Jamie O'Hara from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Glen Johnson.
    • 55:32 Steve Finnan restarts play with the free kick.
    • 55:32 Booking The referee cautions Fernando Torres for unsporting behaviour.
    • 55:26 Foul by Fernando Torres on Michael Brown, free kick awarded.
    • 54:57 Frederic Piquionne takes a shot. Jamie Carragher gets a block in.
    • 54:33 Hassan Yebda produces a left-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.
    • 54:04 Fernando Torres is ruled offside. Asmir Begovic takes the indirect free kick.
    • 53:18 Fernando Torres concedes a free kick for a foul on Younes Kaboul. Tal Ben-Haim restarts play with the free kick.
    • 52:45 Substitution Andrea Dossena leaves the field to be replaced by Yossi Benayoun.
    • 52:22 Frederic Piquionne produces a left-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the right-hand post.
    • 51:08 Shot from 25 yards from Andrea Dossena. Asmir Begovic makes a comfortable save.
    • 46:43 Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
    • 46:43 Booking Leiva Lucas booked for unsporting behaviour.
    • 46:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by Leiva Lucas on Michael Brown.
    • 46:24 The ball is delivered by Fernando Torres, Younes Kaboul manages to make a clearance.
    • 45:44 Unfair challenge on Leiva Lucas by Hassan Yebda results in a free kick. Steven Gerrard takes the free kick.
    • 45:01 The second half has started.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:46 The half-time whistle blows.
    • 45:00+2:25 Emiliano Insua takes the direct free kick.
    • 45:00+2:25 Booking Hassan Yebda receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
    • 45:00+2:11 Hassan Yebda gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Emiliano Insua.
    • 45:00+0:06 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Jamie O'Hara, save by Jose Reina. Kevin-Prince Boateng produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the goal.
    • 44:13 Younes Kaboul takes the direct free kick.
    • 44:13 Sent off Javier Mascherano is sent off by the referee.
    • Correction - 44:10 Booking Tal Ben-Haim is given a yellow card.
    • 44:00+0:47 Booking Tal Ben-Haim goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
    • 42:12 Unfair challenge on Tal Ben-Haim by Javier Mascherano results in a free kick.
    • 38:03 Foul by Michael Brown on Leiva Lucas, free kick awarded. The ball is crossed by Steven Gerrard, Close range header by Daniel Agger goes over the crossbar.
    • 34:52 Leiva Lucas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jamie O'Hara. Tal Ben-Haim takes the direct free kick.
    • 32:53 GOAL - Nadir BelhadjPortsmouth 1 - 0 Liverpool Nadir Belhadj scores a goal from inside the six-yard box to the top left corner of the goal. Portsmouth 1-0 Liverpool.
    • 32:48 Kevin-Prince Boateng takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a save.
    • 31:51 Handball decision goes against Kevin-Prince Boateng. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
    • 30:44 Emiliano Insua challenges Kevin-Prince Boateng unfairly and gives away a free kick. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
    • 30:12 Andrea Dossena takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Frederic Piquionne.
    • 29:09 Hassan Yebda takes a shot. Jamie Carragher gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Jamie O'Hara, save by Jose Reina.
    • 27:18 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard played to the near post.
    • 25:16 Corner taken left-footed by Jamie O'Hara from the left by-line, clearance by Daniel Agger.
    • 24:48 Corner taken left-footed by Jamie O'Hara to the near post, clearance made by Glen Johnson.
    • 23:21 Free kick awarded for a foul by Andrea Dossena on Kevin-Prince Boateng. Free kick crossed left-footed by Jamie O'Hara, Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.
    • 23:11 The ball is delivered by Steve Finnan, clearance made by Daniel Agger.
    • 20:36 Centre by Steven Gerrard, comfortable save by Asmir Begovic.
    • 19:50 Fernando Torres produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
    • 16:53 Hassan Yebda challenges Javier Mascherano unfairly and gives away a free kick. Javier Mascherano takes the direct free kick.
    • 15:43 Handball by Daniel Agger. Jamie O'Hara crosses the ball in from the free kick, Emiliano Insua makes a clearance.
    • 15:07 Steven Gerrard has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Blocked by Fernando Torres.
    • 14:21 A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson.
    • 13:13 Foul by Andrea Dossena on Steve Finnan, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
    • 11:17 Corner taken left-footed by Andrea Dossena from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Frederic Piquionne.
    • 11:08 Emiliano Insua delivers the ball, Steve Finnan makes a clearance.
    • 10:24 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Steven Gerrard, clearance by Younes Kaboul.
    • 7:07 Kevin-Prince Boateng produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
    • 5:22 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kevin-Prince Boateng by Emiliano Insua. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Jamie O'Hara, clearance by Leiva Lucas.
    • 4:25 Andrea Dossena crosses the ball.
    • 2:03 Free kick awarded for a foul by Younes Kaboul on Fernando Torres. Javier Mascherano takes the direct free kick.
    • 0:00 The match begins.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League table

    Saturday, 19 December 2009 19:35 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    Full Premier League table
    1 Chelsea 17 28 40
    2 Man Utd 18 20 37
    3 Arsenal 17 24 35
    4 Aston Villa 18 15 35
    5 Tottenham 18 18 33
    6 Man City 17 6 29
    7 Liverpool 18 9 27
    8 Birmingham 17 1 27
    9 Fulham 17 6 26
    10 Sunderland 18 -3 21
    11 Stoke 17 -5 21
    12 Burnley 17 -14 19
    13 Blackburn 18 -15 19
    14 Wigan 17 -18 18
    15 Everton 16 -8 17
    16 Hull 18 -20 17
    17 Bolton 16 -10 16
    18 Wolves 17 -16 16
    19 West Ham 17 -9 14
    20 Portsmouth 18 -9 14


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