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Late Gerrard penalty keeps Liverpool in top spot

Liverpool again left it late to claim the win and remain three points clear at the top of the Premiership. Steven Gerrard's 75th minute penalty was enough to defeat a dogged Portsmouth team at Anfield.

"Clearly the win was more important than the performance," Rafa Benitez told the club's official website. "After the victory against Chelsea it was important to get the three points tonight.

"We changed four players and still won the game and the message for the squad and everyone is we can make changes and still win. We used players with different qualities and we always had belief we would score.

"Portsmouth are a good team and we needed to be patient and keep passing the ball and creating opportunities. Being patient was the key word for us tonight.

"Everybody could see Portsmouth were defending well and they had a lot of bodies behind the ball so it was not easy to find the space. So we had to be precise with our final pass.

"We were very dominant in the first half and controlled the game. We had our chances and we regained the ball quickly.

"I thought the second half was more open and at the end we were a little nervous because they were playing a lot of long balls up to Crouch.

"I don't remember Pepe having a shot to save. Okay, we won the game with a penalty but we had other chances."

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