Liverpool play Portsmouth tomorrow at Anfield in one of those rare 3pm Saturday kick-offs. Coming on the back of an international break, Rafa Benitez will be hoping his team haven’t lost the momentum from the three-game winning run they were enjoying prior to the break.
John Arne Riise was a worry for the fixture, having been substituted midweek for Norway after a blow to the head. The medical team at Anfield say he’s fit to be part of tomorrow’s squad. Rafa has no other new injury worries and has close to a full squad to choose from.
Tomorrow’s game may see a Portsmouth side willing to put things right on the pitch for the sake of their under-threat manager. The Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric says that he’ll sack manager Alain Perrin unless results improve. The south-coast side are 15th in the league, two points above the relegation places, and tomorrow’s match is the first of four tough fixtures in a row. As well as playing host to Chelsea, Portsmouth have away fixtures with Manchester United and Tottenham to look forward to.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Mandaric explained his worries: "I am concerned. At the end of the day I am responsible for results so I have got to do what I have got to do. I am not going to give ultimatums of one, two or 10 matches. You have got to back your manager 100 per cent whether it is for one game or 10 seasons."
Mandaric says that backing won’t be there for ever though: "Of course I am not very happy with our results and our position. If that means I have to change the manager one day, we have to face facts soon. I have done it before. We are going to have to pick up some points from our next four games. I expect us to win at least one of them." Liverpool have to be prepared for the impact of these words and ensure that their game isn’t the one out of four that Mandaric is demanding Portsmouth win.
Mandaric continued: "We are going to take one game at a time and see where we are going. I am going to monitor our situation closely."