Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez offered a bizarre response to defeat at Portsmouth by repeating referee Lee Mason has a "perfect" game at Fratton Park.

After losing 2-0 through goals by Nadir Belhadj and Frederic Piquionne, Benitez's reaction had the hallmarks of his rant against Sir Alex Ferguson at the start of the year when he continually spoke of "facts". This time he used the word "perfect" six times to describe Mason, who dismissed Javier Mascherano just before the hour mark for a foul on Pompey centre-back Tal Ben Haim.

"I have seen the replay and for me it is not a sending off but anyway, the referee was perfect, he didn't make any mistake," Benitez said.

"Now Javier is injured and I will say again the referee didn't make any mistakes. He was perfect. I have seen the replay, for me it is not a sending off, but anyway, perfect."

Benitez had Fernando Torres back in the team after resting him in midweek but the Spain striker failed to make an impact and in the second half appeared to aim an elbow at Ben Haim.

"The referee was perfect so Torres didn't have any problems," Benitez said.

Belhadj opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark, then Piquionne added the second eight minutes before the final whistle.

"When we lose it's always disappointing," Benitez said. "But the first half we had plenty of possession and we were controlling the game.

"Then we conceded a goal after making a mistake and after the sending off changed the game."

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Topics:
Portsmouth
Frederic Piquionne
Football
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Alex
Nadir Belhadj
Tal Ben Haim
Liverpool