Rafa blames Masch red
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez believes Javier Mascherano's red card before half-time was the turning point at Portsmouth.
Last Updated: 19/12/09 5:45pm
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez believes Javier Mascherano's red card before half-time was the primary reason for his side's defeat at Portsmouth.
Benitez's beleaguered Reds slumped to a seventh league loss of the season at Fratton Park as goals from Nadir Belhadj and Frederic Piquionne proved enough for Avram Grant's rejuvenate Pompey.
Referee Lee Mason flashed a straight red to Argentine midfielder Mascherano just before half-time, with Liverpool already losing, for a reckless challenge on Tal Ben Haim.
Benitez believes the cards were flipped in Portsmouth's favour when Liverpool were reduced to ten men.
He said on Sky Sports: "If you analyse the first half we were doing well, even with their goal but then came the Mascherano incident.
"We were a good team in the first half and the sending off changed everything.
"We had some chances, we should have scored, we were controlling the game and everything changed with Mascherano.
"Now we have to hope we can win our next game."