Liverpool v Portsmouth – early team news

Liverpool moved a point further from fifth place tonight – Bolton drew 1-1 with Harry Redknapp’s Southampton. This puts Bolton two points above Liverpool, one point behind Everton.

Liverpool have a game in hand on Bolton now, and they play it tomorrow. The game is against Portsmouth away and it’s actually only the second Premiership meeting between the two sides at Pompey’s place. Liverpool lost that game.

In all there have been 25 league meetings between the two teams at Portsmouth, and Liverpool have really struggled there. They failed to win on 19 of those 25 occasions – 15 defeats and 4 draws.

The referee for the match is Howard Webb. Webb has refereed in 19 Premiership games this season, dishing out no red cards but plenty of yellows – 57 in all.

Of these 19 matches, five of them featured Liverpoool or Portsmouth – two Portsmouth games (both home fixtures) and three Liverpool games (all away fixtures).

In the Portsmouth games he gave a total of five yellows against the opposing team, and two yellows for Portsmouth players – Hughes and Unsworth.

In the Liverpool games he’s officiated at, he’s booked six players from Liverpool’s opponents. He’s booked five Liverpool players in all this season – Finnan, Hyypia, Warnock, Gerrard and Smicer.

Jerzy Dudek is likely to continue in goal tomorrow, although Benitez needs to consider whether the 5-3-2 formation used on Saturday should be replaced by the more conventional 4-4-2. Hyypia and Pellegrino will be fighting for a place in central defence if Benitez goes for the latter. Benitez can choose from three strikers – Baros (back from suspension), Cisse (back from injury) and Morientes (carrying a knock but still in the squad). Even central midfield leads to selection dilemmas for Benitez – Gerrard, Alonso and Biscan all available.

Liverpool squad: Dudek, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Pellegrino, Traore, Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Biscan, Alonso, Welsh, Warnock, Nunez, Riise, Morientes, Baros, Cisse, Carson