Other previews: Benitez is sorry, and more

The Liverpool manager has apologised to the club's supporters after they were knocked out of the FA Cup at home to Championship side Reading.

The Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has apologised to the club's supporters for their woeful recent run of form. The club were knocked out of the FA Cup at home to Championship side Reading on Wednesday, are already out of the Champions League and lie only seventh in the Premier League. Benitez said: "We are not playing well and everyone here feels sorry for our fans. But things can change in football and we have confidence that we can improve, starting with Stoke City today. "This is a bad moment, we are not doing well during the season and we know have to improve and we have the belief we can do it. How can we improve? Winning on the pitch. How can we be sure we win on the pitch? By training well. If I am worried about my position or the future of the club at this moment I will lose my focus. "I cannot be worried about the other things. My future is Stoke now." Benitez will be without his key trio Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun for the trip to Stoke, whose manager Tony Pulis has given his backing to the Spaniard. "I think Rafa has been a little unfortunate this year in the respect that his best players have either been injured or not really on top form," he said. Stoke v Liverpool, 4.45pm, Showsports 1 & 2

Portsmouth are facing further doubts over their viability following the Premier League's decision to divert their share of television revenue to other clubs. With the troubled clubt owing £10million (Dh59.5m) in unpaid transfer fees, the league exercised their right to split Pompey's latest £7m slice of TV cash between five clubs awaiting payments - Chelsea, Tottenham, Udinese, Rennes and Lens. The decision is the latest blow for the Fratton Park club, who have been served with a winding-up petition by English tax authorities and are also thought to owe former owner Alexandre Gaydamak £28m. They remain subject to a transfer embargo, have failed to pay players' wages on time on three occasions this season and are rooted to the bottom of the league. There are fears the club could go into administration and so suffer a nine-point deduction. Portsmouth host high-flying Birmingham today and Ahmed al Faraj, brother of owner Ali al Faraj, pleaded with fans to be patient as the new regime. Al Faraj took over the club in October after the short-lived reign of Sulaiman al Fahim. Ahmed al Faraj, who is helping run the club, told Portsmouth's The News: "It is not right to be criticised for two months, that is not fair. Be patient with us, give us your support. We don't have anything to hide." Pompey v Birmingham, 7pm, Shows Series Extra

The Hull veteran Nick Barmby says Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe must be included in Fabio Capello's England squad for the World Cup in South Africa. Barmby enjoyed six years at White Hart Lane and made over 100 appearances under Terry Venables and Ossie Ardiles. Now helping his Hull's fight for survival, he is sure to be given a warm welcome by the home fans when Spurs entertain the Tigers today. Phil Brown's relegation-haunted side were battered 5-1 at the KC Stadium at the start of the season, with Defoe grabbing a hat-trick and Barmby said: "Jermain is probably one of the top three finishers in the Premier League," said Barmby. "The way he hits the ball is fantastic and his technique is superb. "I am sure he is a cert for the World Cup if he does not get injured." Tottenham v Hull City, KO 7pm, Extreme Sport

Steve Bruce has warned his players not to get carried away by their record against the Premier League's big four as they head for leaders Chelsea. Sunderland have beaten Liverpool and Arsenal at the Stadium of Light this season and were within seconds of a famous victory at Manchester United when Anton Ferdinand's last-gasp own goal rescued a 2-2 draw for Sir Alex Ferguson's men. However, Chelsea beat Bruce's men 3-1 away in August. He said: "On our day, we know we have got some very talented footballers who can produce a level. The big question mark over us is we haven't done it consistently enough. Against the big teams when there is no expectation, we have done extremely well. But when you go to Chelsea then you will have to be at your best." Chelsea v Sunderland, KO 7pm, Showsports 1 & 2

The new Wigan defender Gary Caldwell is looking to "stamp his authority" on the team after manager Roberto Martinez admitted he signed the centre-back partly because of his leadership qualities. The former Celtic captain agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Wigan this week. "I have played a lot of games now and having Champions League experience with Celtic has helped me," said the Caldwell, 27, likely to go straight into the squad for today's match at Wolves. "I am ready for this challenge, to come to a team and stamp my authority in the way I play the game on Wigan. It is a different style of club; Celtic are a huge organisation known throughout the world but unfortunately they play in Scotland and Wigan play in the Premier League, which is where the challenge is." Wolves v Wigan, KO 7pm, Show Comedy Extra