Not much to complain about in this game, except maybe Portsmouth's play which was overtly physical and boring. They kept nine men behind the ball at almost all times and if it weren't for the skill of Liverpool's players, nearly made the game unwatchable. Being a meaningless preseason friendly, I was sort of baffled as to why Redknapp's side played the way they did. They aren't going to stay in the Premiership with 38 points.
We sort of figured out the spacing issues we had in the first, though some of the play by our players baffled me. I didn't really understand why Kuyt played forward when Torres came on, unless fatigue was the reason. Kuyt has to be our striker in the hole if we're going to score goals this year. Torres wasn't necessarily bad there, but once they switched back, we created more opportunities.
If I had to point out one thing we did poorly, it would be set pieces. Most of the blame is on Pennant, who was just completely off on his corner and free kicks. Other than that, as a team, we seemed to pass the ball around well and created many chances that we just couldn't capitalize upon.
The Man of the Match, without a doubt, was Momo. He was just fantastic, but of course a highly physical affair like this one is his cup of tea. Still, he's finally learning to play the 'Makele' role, passing the ball back more and maintaining more composure overall. He made a possible goal saving tackle at the top of the box and a stunning long pass to a screeching Pennant, among his overall solid outing. Xabi or Kuyt are probably the next deserving since Xabi's passing was spot on and Kuyt was unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions.
I really don't understand Rafa sometimes. Portsmouth made something like five subs at the half and we made none. He took Kewell off about ten minutes in because the Aussie was about to administer a beat down to the scum bag Portsmouth defenders who were clearly outclassed by him. Still, the freshness of the Portsmouth side was evident as they pushed the ball up effortlessly into our half for about the next fifteen minutes and finally looked to score, but then Arbeloa and Carra were brought in and the bleeding was stopped.
I thought Babel played well on the right this time, quite a contrast to his previous stint there. Lucas came on with about ten minutes to go and didn't look too bad, but really did nothing. Torres looked a little bit better, definitely showed his toughness, and I think once he gets that first goal, he'll be fine.
We had our chances to score and didn't, though Benayoun was called offside on a breakaway when he clearly wasn't. Momo, though he was great in every other aspect, needs to learn to shoot the ball. I have a feeling Mascherano would have at least had one goal in this match.
Anyhow, our next preseason friendly is versus Shanghai Shenhua a week from today. Hopefully Gerrard will be healthy enough by then to start. Cheers.