Subtle differences the key, reports John Carney It may have been odd that Liverpool were playing Portsmouth in Hong Kong, but it was the little subtleties that reminded you these two Premier League sides were actually about to play each other. Take the touts for example. You can always spot them a mile away, sidling around outside Hong Kong Stadium with a face like a dog that's just about to be washed. Michael Casey is from Sheffield, and a diehard Sheffield Wednesday fan. He was outside the stadium with his brother Steve, hoping to get two tickets for the game, and he knew the score - he wouldn't have to go looking. The tout would find him. 'I've been on holidays for the last month and didn't get back until yesterday, so I'd no time to get a ticket,' he said. 'I knew they'd be a few tickets floating about and a guy appeared from nowhere and offered me two for GBP100 (HK$1,605) apiece. I told him I'm a Wednesday fan. I'm not that bothered!' At least he was a man of principles. And those principles paid off when the brothers got HK$350 tickets for HK$450, from a fan who had a few going spare. Now he could relax. So Michael, 38, went on to explain that he'd been to the last two World Cups to see England play, although the time he spent in Germany was one he'd rather forget. He got arrested with other English fans who'd been drinking in Stuttgart city centre, and spent the next three days in jail. Instead of watching England play Ecuador he shared a two-man cell with 12 other people. But it would be unfair to focus on the more negative footballing aspects on a night like this, and one particular image summed up the Hong Kong football supporter. On the way up to the ground there was a sea of red shirts. Wading through them in the opposite direction, against the tide, was a lone figure. The point wasn't that the lone figure was not going to the match but that he was wearing a Manchester United top. A United supporter walking through a pack of Liverpool fans? Things like this just don't happen in the UK. But that was outside the ground. Out on the pitch, despite controlling the match Liverpool lost 4-2 on penalties to Portsmouth after the encounter ended 0-0 after 90 minutes. Beside the large stadium screen was a sign that read: 'Jesus is Lord.' That could well be, but last night it was David James who saved. The Pompey goalkeeper kept his side in the hunt with a string of brilliant stops, then palmed away the penalties of Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun in the shootout and was named man of the match. 'I was speaking to Fulham's goalkeeping coach Dave Beasant and he said David James is worth 15 points a year to a team, and he's right. He's that good,' said Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp. 'It's nice to win against a fantastic team like Liverpool. They'll be close this year to winning the championship. But tonight we hung in there.' Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was philosophical after his side's defeat. 'We dominated the game and had more chances, but you have to take your chances,' he said. 'We can take positives from this match. The tournament has been very useful.'