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Nic Ladds 14th Mar 2010 - 16:30

Reds to bounce back and pile misery on Pompey

After two defeats on the bounce, away at Wigan and Lille, Liverpool will surely welcome the prospect of a visit from Portsmouth who are relegated in all but name.

Liverpool (2/9) are having a poor season, out of all the domestic cups, out of the Champions League and even down in the first leg of their Europa League knock-out match. This then seems the ideal time to play the team rock bottom of the league.

Portsmouth's (12/1) downfall has been well documented and all their off the field problems has led to a nine point deduction waiting in the wings. With just five league wins and 24 goals in 28 matches, Pompey never look like turning a corner and this season just gets worse and worse.

What might leave a bitter taste with Liverpool fans' is that with all their problems, Pompey are actually better placed to win some silverware this season as they have a winnable tie in the FA Cup semi-final.

Echoes of "next season will be our year" must haunt and frustrate Liverpool fans as that is all they have heard for too long now. Yet another season without seriously challenging for the league coupled with shocking performances in all the other cups have left Rafa Benitez's future in the balance.

This season's reverse fixture must seem a long time ago for Portsmouth fans, in mid-December they picked up a 2-0 home win over Liverpool. There's not a chance of an upset here though, even as inconsistent as the Reds are, they have more than enough to see off Avram Grant's men today.

Grant does have an impressive record over Pool though; he has won three and drawn two of his five meetings with them although four of those were with Chelsea so the circumstances were a lot different to those he faces now.

Benitez has Maxi Rodriguez back in the squad after being ineligible for the European match and could have Yossi Benayoun back from an ankle injury. Fabio Aurelio and Martin Skrtel are both still out long term however.

Pompey will give Aaron Mokoena, Tommy Smith and Anthony Vanden Borre late fitness tests. Should they all be fit, only Kevin Boateng will miss the game which is one less thing for Grant to worry about.

With just one league win in four for Liverpool, I really expect them to bounce back with a good performance in this match. Playing a team who have just one win in ten and whose minds are surely preparing for Championship football next season they should really dominate.

If Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres start id be tempted by the 11/5 on both of them to score at any time. Torres has 17 goals in his last 21 League starts, he is 5/2 to get the first goal.

At a push I'd say Liverpool could win with a -2 handicap if they can start well, at 2/1 it has to be worth a go considering they line up against one of the league's leakiest defences. Playing it safe I'd cover the 2-0 scoreline at 5/1, I can't see Pompey scoring though. A Liverpool win to nil result is decent at 8/13.


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