LIVERPOOL 4-1 STOKE
Liverpool continue their winning ways as we beat Stoke at Anfield to secure all three points and keep 2nd place, ahead of our game with Manchester City who are placed 3rd in the Premier League.
Simon Mignolet kept his place as first choice goalkeeper after the win against Everton and a clean sheet against our hometown rivals clearly made him 1st pick.
Two players out with ankle injuries currently are Joel Matip and Coutinho, the defence and attack both had a couple of changes to it because of that. Klavan and Origi have been getting some experience as the manager chooses them to replace our injured players.
Stoke would have an assortment of former Liverpool players including Glen Johnson, Peter Crouch and Joe Allen in their starting lineup. Reds fans all know the quality of these guys and it wasn’t going to be easy for Liverpool, even at Anfield.
Stoke would be first to score in this game, and took only 12 minutes of the first half to open the scoring and take a lead. Pieters was deep down on the left wing and saw Walters in a dangerous position. Walters would shake Lovren off and get close enough to direct a header past Mignolet. Fortunately for Simon, it would be the only goal of the game he’d concede and his teammates would score enough to not only equalise but also win the game eventually.
It would be past the half hour mark before Liverpool had their chance to get a goal. Stoke were put under a lot of pressure, with Mané pushing the ball forwards from the right wing to the middle of the penalty area. Glen Johnson couldn’t make a full clearance, only managing to take a touch of the ball before it landed with Adam Lallana who would push the ball past Stoke’s goalkeeper and into the net to equalise. Liverpool 1-1 Stoke
Liverpool were not content with drawing, clearly. Before the first half was done, we’d take a lead and start off the path to victory.
Mané had been running down the right wing again, as he does. He was helping Liverpool push the attack again and again. Eventually from one of the attacks, the ball would end up with Roberto Firmino. Firmino pushed his way past the Stoke defence and struck the ball sweetly enough for it to strike the far post. Not only did it do that, but it rebounded across the goal towards the other post which fortunately rebounded the ball backwards, over the line and into the net. It was difficult to tell if it was going to come back to either the Stoke goalkeeper or a defender instead but it ended up in the place we needed it to go and Liverpool were winning 2-1 at half time thanks to this goal.
Klopp probably wouldn’t have complained to his squad at the break. They’d done well enough to turn losing by a single goal into an equal game, then a winning game for Liverpool. Now they only had to hold this lead, but we would do more than that and score again.
Coming up to the hour mark, Stoke really looked like they were just not handling the pressure Liverpool put them under very well. Their defence had gaps in it, which our attackers used well to move around in and get to dangerous positions we’d be able to shoot from. One attack from Origi on the left saw Imbula attempt to make a clearance, sliding in to stop Mané who was almost certainly about to score. The sliding tackle did stop Mané from connecting with the ball, however it was only to see Stoke’s defender put the ball into his own net. He might as well have let Mané put it in the net. Liverpool 3-1 Stoke.
At the two goal lead, it really felt like we’d won already. The “comeback” wasn’t over though. Liverpool would have one more goal to come and it was nice to see this player get one too. Really finished up the whole game with a final “happy Christmas” to our fans from our team. Jurgen Klopp would replace a couple of players around the 69th minute of the game. Emre Can came on for Adam Lallana and Divock Origi would change out for Daniel Sturridge.
I’m happy to report that within a minute of his appearance, Sturridge had scored himself a goal. The official count was 56 seconds from when he’d gotten onto the pitch to when he put the ball into the net. Fans are now already calling for Sturridge to be placed into our starting 11. If he can make this much impact within a minute of the game then surely he can do better in 90 minutes, right? You’d expect more than one goal, even. Well, he has to stay fit enough to play at all don’t forget. We have seen him get injured in games that he was trying to play all of. If he’s going to be a “super sub” and stay fit, that’d still be better than trying to get 90 minutes per game out of him and ending up with him being stretchered off and not seen for the rest of the season. All things in moderation, when it comes to this man. He’ll get to play regularly if he’s healthy and injury free. Just don’t complain if he’s only doing it from the substitute bench. Well done to him for his contribution, though. We all appreciate this. It sure is a Merry Christmas now!
Man Of The Match
This is one of those games where the scoresheet doesn’t reflect the best player of the game. Sadio Mané had pushed far down the pitch with attack after attack. He’d gotten himself into great positions, made goals for his teammates and very almost scored the own goal which was pushed into the net by Imbula. I’ll be considering that Mané’s goal even if the official records say it was Stoke’s defender who touched the ball before it went into the net. It was going straight to Mané, no way he was going to miss from that close range. Liverpool were about to score and throughout the whole game, he’d contributed more than anyone else. Well done, Mané.
As mentioned earlier, Liverpool are to play Manchester city on New Year’s Eve and it will be the 2nd placed Premier League team (Liverpool) V the 3rd placed Premier League team (Man City). So, an important league position to play for and both teams want to take as many points as they can and then spend the rest of the season chasing after Chelsea who are currently first placed. The season’s only just getting to the halfway point now. Nobody’s won it yet but taking as many points as you can is still important.
So walk on with hope in your heart, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s