Premier League – Monday 15th March 2010
Liverpool v Portsmouth
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has made two changes from the side that lost to Lille on Thursday, Dirk Kuyt and Lucas both dropped to the bench for the visit of Portsmouth.
In their places come Alberto Aquilani and Maxi Rodriguez for a game the manager knows his side are under massive pressure to win. Portsmouth might be bottom of the table, but with them beating Liverpool on their own turf earlier in the season Rafa is under no illusions about the task at hand. He’s also under no illusions about how many people want to see this game end in defeat for the Reds.
Aquilani knows he has to take this chance to show why the under-fire and undermined Benitez paid £17m for him in the summer, as does former Portsmouth right-back Glen Johnson who cost a similar amount in the summer, with a large chunk of his fee money owed to the Reds for the sale of Peter Crouch. Former Reds right-back Steve Finnan starts for Portsmouth.
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 2 Johnson, 23 Carragher, 5 Agger, 22 Insua, 20 Mascherano, 4 Aquilani, 17 Maxi, 8 Gerrard, 19 Babel, 9 Torres
Subs: 1 Cavalieri, 16 Kyrgiakos, 34 Kelly, 15 Benayoun, 21 Lucas, 18 Kuyt, 24 Ngog
Portsmouth: 21 Ashdown, 3 Rocha, 7 Hreidarsson, 16 Finnan, 39 Belhadj, 5 O’Hara, 8 Diop, 11 Brown, 35 Wilson, 9 Piquionne, 24 Dindane
Subs: 31 O’Brien, 4 Mokoena, 6 Mullins, 14 Owusu-Abeyie, 22 Hughes, 19 Webber, 27 Kanu
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistant referees: Phil Sharp, Michael Murphy
Fourth official: Howard Webb