STOKE 0-1 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have won their first leg of the league cup Semi Finals. The Reds hold the away goal advantage as they move forward in the competition to the second leg, already ahead.
Stoke put up a good fight, even if they didn’t manage to score at all. That was more down to good defending by Liverpool, that they could play well but still not manage to make us concede at their home stadium.
Jürgen Klopp had most players from the last fixture, though Ibe and Benteke were on the substitute bench instead of starting for this fixture.
With the choice of players that had been gaining experience in the Premier League, the manager had decided that now it was time for some league cup experience too. No matter what the result is, all players can learn and gain something of value by having as much experience in various competitions. We saw that happen against Stoke. Klopp is preparing them for any fixture, any time. We could even see these same players in the FA Cup and Europa League, too. That’s a good thing. That’s valuable experience.
Liverpool started out playing attacking moves from the very first minute. In about 30 seconds, Roberto Firmino was taking a shot on goal. At times in this game, I would take a look at the clock and wonder how Liverpool were not winning several goals. We had multiple chances in both halves. Stoke didn’t just let us walk all over them. They defended and fought hard to make sure they weren’t going to be embarrassed and they succeeded at that much at least.
Stoke didn’t play a “dirty” game, but it was rough enough that we’d see an injury or two with Dejan Lovren being replaced by James Milner and Coutinho being replaced by Jordon Ibe in the first half. Kolo Toure looked a little hurt and would need a substitution in the second half also, but we’d already made three changes in the game by then with Christian Benteke also coming on when Joe Allen left the pitch. No exact predictions on how long they’ll be out of action yet, though I’m hopeful we’ll see them again soon. We have a tough squad and I know everyone who plays in red wants to be back as soon as possible for fighting until the end of the season, not just the new year.
Stoke would have some former Liverpool players in their squad and travelling Reds fans would get to see familiar faces, as Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch appeared in this game.
Liverpool looked confident every time they attacked and it took us only 37 minutes to get the only and winning goal of the game.
Adam Lallana started out on the right wing, running past the left back towards the corner flag. The ball would be crossed over, with Joe Allen receiving the ball first. As Allen attempted what seemed to be a shot, the ball would curl left and instead of going in the direction of the goalkeeper the ball would make it’s way to Jordon Ibe. Since Ibe was at close range and the Stoke goalkeeper was already diving to save Joe Allen’s shot, Ibe would collect the ball and quickly place it into the net. Stoke 0-1 Liverpool.
Jordon would celebrate happily as every Reds fan in Stoke (and watching on TV) went wild also.
The rest of the game was much the same, except without the goalscoring. Plenty of attacks, plenty of defenders stopping the offensive plays, although not all the time Liverpool dominated the midfield at times and the possession % for us must have been incredibly high in the second half.
Overall, I had plenty of players to choose from who I could have picked for Man Of The Match. Simon Mignolet has added to his record of this season’s clean sheets yet again. I believe that makes 17 clean sheets for Liverpool’s goalkeeper now. Pretty impressive, though I chose another player as the one who played best of all. Jordon Ibe has once more made the fans happy in a league cup game. Only brought on at first to replace the injured Coutinho, Jordon made his impact on the game with assistance and goalscoring. An example for anyone who wants to impress the new manager, Ibe put his team first and made sure they’d be looking most likely to continue in this competition even before the second leg is played.
I hope you’re all happy with the result, Reds. I know I am.
Liverpool now progress through their fixture list and will soon be playing a FA Cup game against Exeter.
Until then, just walk on with hope in your heart and You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.
[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 (about 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.