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Page last updated at 21:58 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Liverpool   4 - 1   Portsmouth

Aquilani scored his first goal for Liverpool
Aquilani capped a fine display with his first Liverpool goal

By John Sinnott

Liverpool thumped struggling Portsmouth to stay in touch with the teams chasing fourth place in the Premier League.

Three goals in six first-half minutes virtually ended the game as a contest, with Fernando Torres slotting home the opener after Jamie Ashdown's mistake.

Ryan Babel toe-poked home the second, with Alberto Aquilani sweeping in the third for his first Liverpool goal.

Ashdown kept the score down after the break, before Torres netted again, with Nadir Belhadj tapping in for Pompey.

The win moved Liverpool into fifth on 51 points from 30 games, a point behind Tottenham, who have played a game less than Rafa Benitez's side.

Confident display pleases Benitez

Manchester City are in sixth on 50 points having played two games less than Liverpool, with Aston Villa on 46 points from 27 games.

This was one of Liverpool's more fluid performances in a desperately disappointing season, with Aquilani playing a pivotal role in only his fifth start of the league campaign.

The former Roma midfielder did not make his debut until the end of October because of injury and has struggled to establish himself in the first team with Benitez seemingly reluctant to trust his big-money signing.

606: DEBATE
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But Aquilani looked to have recovered some of the swagger that persuaded Liverpool to pay Roma £20m to bring him to Anfield in the summer, linking up the midfield and attack with some slick movement and passing - and a well-taken goal.

Early in the second half Aquilani was at the fulcrum of two sweeping Liverpool moves that ended with Ashdown denying Gerrard and then tipping over Babel's shot.

Bottom-of the-table Portsmouth have won just five games this season - one of those victories coming against Liverpool at Fratton Park - and despite making a positive start, Avram Grant's side all but waved the white flag once Torres put the home side ahead.

Portsmouth keeper Ashdown was playing for only the fourth time of the season and he was seriously at fault for the first goal.

Gerrard chased down Ricardo Rocha's pass to Ashdown and managed to block the Pompey keeper's clearance with the ball ricocheting to Maxi Rodriguez.

The Argentine quickly moved the ball across goal to Torres, who had the simplest job in sidefooting home.

That goal came on 26 minutes and by the 32nd minute Liverpool were 3-0 up.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres
Torres was at his clinical best at Anfield

Torres bamboozled former Liverpool defender Steve Finnan before teeing up Babel, who steered the ball into the corner of the net.

The Spaniard was also involved in Liverpool's third, combining with Gerrard to create space for Aquilani to sweep the ball past Ashdown.

Liverpool were rampant with Torres tormenting Finnan again before curling the ball against the post.

Chances were few and far between for Portsmouth, though Frederic Piquionne was a willing runner in attack, while Michael Brown drew a fine save from Pepe Reina early in the second half.

Poor seven minutes costly - Grant

With Liverpool in total control Rafa Benitez withdrew Glen Johnson and Gerrard, who came off after a spat with Brown.

The Portsmouth midfielder was furious after the Liverpool midfielder's appeared to hit him on the back of the head with his forearm as the two players were running at full pelt.

On 77 minutes Torres bagged his second, slamming the ball into the corner of net as Rocha and Finnan failed to close the Spaniard down.

In the game's closing stages Piquionne cut the ball for Belhadj to score for Portsmouth.

Liverpool will hope to replicate Monday's goal glut in Thursday's Europa second leg tie with Lille as they seek to reach the competition's quarter-finals, while they are likely to face a stiffer challenge than that offered by Pompey when they face Manchester United in their next Premier League game on Sunday.

Live text and stats

 

Monday, 15 March 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Liverpool 4-1 Portsmouth FT
(HT 3-0)
  • Torres 26
  • Babel 28
  • Aquilani 32
  • Torres 77
  • Belhadj 88

Liverpool

Substitutes

Portsmouth

  • 21 Ashdown
  • 03 Rocha
  • 07 Hreidarsson (Owusu-Abeyie 75)
  • 16 Finnan
  • 39 Belhadj
  • 05 O'Hara (Webber 85)
  • 08 Diop (Mokoena 64 yellow card)
  • 11 Brown
  • 35 Wilson
  • 09 Piquionne
  • 24 Dindane yellow card

Substitutes

  • 31 O'Brien,
  • 04 Mokoena,
  • 06 Mullins,
  • 14 Owusu-Abeyie,
  • 22 Hughes,
  • 19 Webber,
  • 27 Kanu
Ref: AttwellAtt: 40,316
LIVERPOOL
PORTSMOUTH

Possession

  • Liverpool 58%
  • Portsmouth 42%

Attempts on target

  • Liverpool 12
  • Portsmouth 3

Attempts off target

  • Liverpool 11
  • Portsmouth 4

Corners

  • Liverpool 8
  • Portsmouth 4

Fouls

  • Liverpool 10
  • Portsmouth 15
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:17 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
  • 90:00+3:45 Quincy Owusu-Abeyie takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
  • 90:00+2:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by David Ngog on Ricardo Rocha. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 90:00+2:15 Ryan Babel has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.
  • 90:00+1:40 The ball is sent over by Danny Webber, save by Jose Reina.
  • 90:00+0:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Aruna Dindane on Javier Mascherano. Daniel Agger takes the direct free kick.
  • 87:57 The assist for the goal came from Frederic Piquionne.
  • 87:57 GOAL - Nadir BelhadjLiverpool 4 - 1 Portsmouth Nadir Belhadj fires in a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 4-1 Portsmouth.
  • 86:32 Foul by Aruna Dindane on Jamie Carragher, free kick awarded. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
  • 85:22 Martin Kelly takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 84:25 Substitution Danny Webber on for Jamie O'Hara.
  • 82:22 Unfair challenge on Quincy Owusu-Abeyie by Martin Kelly results in a free kick. Nadir Belhadj restarts play with the free kick.
  • 81:20 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Michael Brown, Martin Kelly manages to make a clearance.
  • 81:15 The ball is sent over by Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Emiliano Insua makes a clearance.
  • 80:34 Alberto Aquilani takes a shot. Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
  • 80:05 Free kick awarded for a foul by Aruna Dindane on Emiliano Insua. Emiliano Insua takes the direct free kick.
  • 79:04 Substitution Fernando Torres goes off and David Ngog comes on.
  • 77:45 Booking Aaron Mokoena goes into the book for dissent.
  • 77:43 Booking Aruna Dindane receives a caution for dissent.
  • 76:42 The assist for the goal came from Alberto Aquilani.
  • 76:42 GOAL - Fernando TorresLiverpool 4 - 0 Portsmouth Fernando Torres finds the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 4-0 Portsmouth.
  • 76:33 Michael Brown gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rodriguez Maxi. Javier Mascherano takes the free kick.
  • 74:53 Substitution Quincy Owusu-Abeyie comes on in place of Hermann Hreidarsson.
  • 74:08 Frederic Piquionne gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Javier Mascherano. Free kick taken by Yossi Benayoun.
  • 72:13 Jamie Ashdown takes the free kick.
  • 72:13 Substitution Yossi Benayoun joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Gerrard.
  • 72:13 Steven Gerrard concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Brown.
  • 71:37 Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save made by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 71:05 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard played to the near post, clearance by Michael Brown.
  • 69:35 Substitution Martin Kelly comes on in place of Glen Johnson.
  • 67:10 Inswinging corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line, Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
  • 64:32 Unfair challenge on Michael Brown by Ryan Babel results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 63:10 Free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
  • 63:10 Substitution Aaron Mokoena joins the action as a substitute, replacing Papa Bouba Diop.
  • 63:10 Javier Mascherano fouled by Aruna Dindane, the ref awards a free kick.
  • 62:21 Michael Brown challenges Glen Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Alberto Aquilani, Frederic Piquionne makes a clearance.
  • 60:58 Steven Gerrard challenges Michael Brown unfairly and gives away a free kick. Marc Wilson takes the direct free kick.
  • 59:12 Steven Gerrard takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Rodriguez Maxi produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.
  • 59:02 Rodriguez Maxi produces a cross, Ricardo Rocha makes a clearance.
  • 57:10 Ryan Babel crosses the ball.
  • 56:22 Emiliano Insua concedes a free kick for a foul on Aruna Dindane. Jamie O'Hara crosses the ball in from the free kick, Jose Reina makes a save.
  • 55:08 The offside flag is raised against Ricardo Rocha. Jamie Carragher takes the indirect free kick.
  • 54:45 Corner taken by Jamie O'Hara, Jamie Carragher manages to make a clearance.
  • 54:30 Michael Brown takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
  • 53:36 Steven Gerrard takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
  • 51:50 Glen Johnson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
  • 51:28 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line to the near post, Frederic Piquionne makes a clearance.
  • 51:09 Ryan Babel takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 50:54 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
  • 48:14 Daniel Agger takes a shot. Comfortable save by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 47:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Papa Bouba Diop on Glen Johnson. Steven Gerrard takes the free kick.
  • 45:36 Ricardo Rocha is adjudged to have handled the ball. Free kick taken by Alberto Aquilani.
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+0:59 The referee calls an end to the first half.
  • 44:18 The ball is sent over by Nadir Belhadj.
  • 42:11 Frederic Piquionne has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
  • 40:59 Corner from the right by-line taken by Jamie O'Hara, Ryan Babel fouled by Marc Wilson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
  • 40:52 The ball is crossed by Aruna Dindane, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.
  • 39:54 Jamie Carragher produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.
  • 39:27 Steven Gerrard takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Papa Bouba Diop manages to make a clearance.
  • 38:41 Foul by Hermann Hreidarsson on Rodriguez Maxi, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Alberto Aquilani from right wing, clearance made by Marc Wilson.
  • 38:08 Nadir Belhadj produces a cross, Jose Reina makes a save.
  • 34:49 Effort from inside the area by Steven Gerrard misses to the right of the target.
  • 34:36 Fernando Torres has an effort at goal from the just inside the penalty area hitting the post.
  • 33:10 Rodriguez Maxi gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jamie O'Hara. Free kick taken by Hermann Hreidarsson.
  • 31:22 The assist for the goal came from Fernando Torres.
  • 31:22 GOAL - Alberto AquilaniLiverpool 3 - 0 Portsmouth Alberto Aquilani finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 3-0 Portsmouth.
  • 29:35 Unfair challenge on Marc Wilson by Fernando Torres results in a free kick. Jamie Ashdown takes the free kick.
  • 27:45 Fernando Torres provided the assist for the goal.
  • 27:45 GOAL - Ryan BabelLiverpool 2 - 0 Portsmouth Ryan Babel finds the net with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Liverpool 2-0 Portsmouth.
  • 27:39 Glen Johnson sends in a cross, Steve Finnan manages to make a clearance.
  • 27:31 The ball is crossed by Rodriguez Maxi, clearance made by Marc Wilson.
  • 25:25 Assist by Rodriguez Maxi.
  • 25:25 GOAL - Fernando TorresLiverpool 1 - 0 Portsmouth A goal is scored by Fernando Torres from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-0 Portsmouth.
  • 24:43 The ball is swung over by Rodriguez Maxi, Ricardo Rocha manages to make a clearance.
  • 23:02 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Daniel Agger by Frederic Piquionne. Free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
  • 20:46 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line played to the near post, Ryan Babel has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide right of the goal.
  • 19:00 Glen Johnson sends in a cross, Marc Wilson manages to make a clearance.
  • 18:42 Fernando Torres crosses the ball, clearance made by Marc Wilson.
  • 17:05 Alberto Aquilani has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
  • 15:24 Steven Gerrard takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
  • 14:23 Emiliano Insua crosses the ball, save by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 14:02 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Papa Bouba Diop.
  • 13:53 Rodriguez Maxi takes a shot. Blocked by Jamie O'Hara.
  • 12:36 Hermann Hreidarsson concedes a free kick for a foul on Rodriguez Maxi. Alberto Aquilani takes the direct free kick.
  • 11:39 Glen Johnson sends in a cross, Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
  • 10:29 Papa Bouba Diop fouled by Ryan Babel, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 9:45 Long range effort by Jamie O'Hara goes wide right of the net.
  • 8:44 Emiliano Insua takes a shot.
  • 7:44 Frederic Piquionne produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 6:19 Corner from right by-line taken by Jamie O'Hara.
  • 5:31 Steven Gerrard takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Papa Bouba Diop.
  • 5:13 The ball is crossed by Jamie Carragher, clearance by Ricardo Rocha.
  • 4:41 Michael Brown challenges Steven Gerrard unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steven Gerrard delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing.
  • 4:17 Effort on goal by Aruna Dindane from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
  • 3:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Alberto Aquilani on Papa Bouba Diop. Jamie O'Hara crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, save by Jose Reina.
  • 2:30 Foul by Hermann Hreidarsson on Rodriguez Maxi, free kick awarded. A cross is delivered by Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
  • 1:48 Emiliano Insua delivers the ball, Papa Bouba Diop makes a clearance.
  • 0:56 Marc Wilson challenges Fernando Torres unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard from right wing, clearance made by Ricardo Rocha.
  • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League results

15 Mar 2010 23:59 UK


Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 15 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 30 46 66
2 Chelsea 29 42 64
3 Arsenal 30 38 64
4 Tottenham 29 25 52
5 Liverpool 30 19 51
6 Man City 28 17 50
7 Aston Villa 27 16 46
8 Birmingham 29 -1 44
9 Everton 29 4 42
10 Fulham 29 0 38
11 Stoke 29 -5 36
12 Blackburn 29 -17 34
13 Bolton 30 -18 32
14 Sunderland 29 -8 31
15 Wigan 29 -30 28
16 West Ham 29 -12 27
17 Wolves 29 -24 27
18 Burnley 30 -32 24
19 Hull 29 -34 24
20 Portsmouth 29 -26 19

see also
Premier League as it happened
15 Mar 10 |  Football
Monday's football photos
15 Mar 10 |  Football
Gerrard escapes action over clash
16 Mar 10 |  Premier League


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