STOKE 6 – 1 LIVERPOOL
Yes, you read that score right… SIX – ONE! Perhaps the most embarrassing and heavy defeat this season and a costly one – costing us qualification for the Europa league, leaving us in 6th place with no European games to play whatsoever next season. Tottenham took 5th, managing to win their game against our Merseyside rivals Everton on the final day of the Premier League season.
This was the first time in 52 years that Liverpool had let in six goals in a league game. These kind of records are not the ones we want, really and it’s not the first time this season that we’ve broken an unwanted record – Brendan Rodgers now is facing extreme pressure from fans who don’t want him as manager any more. He’s been given plenty of time and assets (over £200M to spend on transfers) to be able to bring great success to the club, though he has ended up failing in ways which are quite unacceptable to fans and probably also the owners.
Tactically, we looked weak before the game had even kicked off as the manager had yet again chosen to be “without a striker”. I think he had been unhappy with Rickie Lambert who had been playing in the starting 11 for a few games while Mario Balotelli has had a minor injury and while Daniel Sturridge has been having major surgery, as he struggled with long term injuries this season. You could play 4-5-1 if you like Rodgers, but Coutinho is really an attacking midfielder and honestly, we did not have a “real” (natural) striker on the pitch from the start of the game. Sterling was also not a part of the starting 11 as the manager resigned him to the substitute bench, possibly a reaction to all the bad press about him or possibly just to see how well we could do without him in the side. Clearly, not very well. We needed him out there from the start.
These kind of things have been upsetting our fans, some people strongly disagree with such decisions where tactical errors such as this are made as the manager picks his squad.
Steven Gerrard would captain Liverpool for the very last league game of the season and also of his 17 year career in the first team. It was not surprising that Gerrard would score as he made his own efforts (even if the rest of the team didn’t seem to be trying hard) to make his last ever game for us memorable. He can now say “I scored in my last ever game for Liverpool”, which is the least we wanted for him. A shame we couldn’t have gotten a victory for him, but hopefully he’ll just remember that he scored and not that it was a crushing defeat he scored in before he left the club.
The goals started coming quite early in the game and of the 6 goals scored by Stoke, two of them were scored by former Liverpool players – Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch.
It would be the 21st minute when Charlie Adam shot and Mignolet saved his effort with a parry that fell to Mame Diouf who only had to tap it in to the net from close range to open up the scoring in the game. Stoke 1 – 0 Liverpool.
4 minutes later, just after Coutinho had assisted Jordan Henderson for a chance to score and he had been called offside, Stoke attacked once more and Marko Arnautovic provided the chance for Mame Diouf to once again score against Liverpool for his second goal of the day. Stoke 2 – 0 Liverpool.
Just 5 minutes later, Jonathan Walters struck a shot at Mignolet which was saved but once again, the rebound was more costly than the original shot as the ball came back to Walters and he headed in the third goal of the game. Stoke 3 – 0 Liverpool.
10 minutes after that, ex Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam struck a shot that flew into the bottom right corner past the Liverpool goalkeeper as the 4th goal of the game was scored. Stoke 4 – 0 Liverpool.
3 to 4 minutes later, Marko Arnautovic assisted Steven N’Zonzi who scored a goal at the end of the first half and it was Stoke 5 – 0 Liverpool as the half time whistle was blown. The first half had just ended, but the game was already over really. This was a win for Stoke and all the fans and the players knew it already.
As the second half began, Brendan Rodgers replaced Emre Can with Kolo Toure and Alberto Moreno with Jordon Ibe. By the 70th minute, Rickie Lambert had replaced Joe Allen also. That was a bit of nice decision making by the manager as it turns out, since very shortly after coming onto the pitch, Rickie Lambert headed a ball over to Steven Gerrard who scored his 186th goal for Liverpool in his last ever game for the club. Stoke 5 – 1 Liverpool. It was unlikely that a “comeback” (with 4 or more goals for Liverpool) was about to happen, though the fans were all happy that Gerrard had scored in his last game, at least. It meant more than the actual result.
The game wasn’t over just yet, there was 20 more minutes to play. 10 minutes later, Marko Arnautovic (who had assisted two goals for Stoke) was replaced by Peter Crouch. Just 5 minutes after coming onto the pitch, former Liverpool striker Crouch would rise into the air for a header to score the 6th goal for Stoke, sealing their victory with the last goal of the game. The goal was assisted by a cross from Mame Diouf who had scored two goals of his own in the first half. Stoke 6 – 1 Liverpool.
This has been an “up and down” season, where Liverpool have had some good times and also some very bad times.
For a large part of the Premier League season, we chased after 4th place, mostly. We knew at quite an early stage that we most likely would not be chasing the league title as we did last season. We had our eyes set on Champions League qualification which meant we absolutely had to place 4th at least, though 3rd 2nd or 1st would be fine too. I don’t think there was a single time when Liverpool were top of the league (this season), as others rushed ahead of us to claim the European spots for themselves. Mostly, we chased after Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Tottenham and Southampton did well too, they were rather surprising additions in the top 4 spots as they saw some success which very few could have predicted before it happened.
Here’s how the Premier League table looked after all teams had played their 38 games:
Some would call 6th place “failure” for Liverpool and their manager. We aimed for 4th. We came 6th. That’s failure to achieve your goal.
In addition to all that, Liverpool had been in the Champions League group stage and failed to qualify for the knockout stage – not giving us a chance to even progress to the Final and claim the prestigious trophy. More failure. After dropping out from Champions League and into Europa League we yet again failed to progress from the last 32 teams and would not make it to the Final of that competition either. Our chances for European silverware were wasted.
In the domestic cups, we had not managed to go all the way to the Final in those either. Our last chance at a Cup Final was when we faced Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi Final, only to be defeated and give up our chance to win a trophy in Steven Gerrard’s last season.
These competitions were surely part of the manager’s aims and goals at the club. Failure to achieve these goals is serious – Brendan Rodgers will now surely face a meeting with the owners who will most likely say one of two things to him – “You’re FIRED!” OR, “You’ll be given one more season to prove yourself and no more. Failure next season will result in you losing your job”.
Take a quick look at what Brendan Rodgers has achieved with Liverpool now and ask yourselves “is that enough, or could we do better with someone else in charge?”. I personally think the answer to that is quite clear (we COULD do better, replace Brendan Rodgers).
I’ve backed our manager for a few seasons now (as long as he has been at the club), though I have to say I have been getting very tired of the frequent disappointments under Rodger’s management of late. In the last stage of this season particularly, I have come to the conclusion that “enough is enough” (we’ve been through more than enough chances for Rodgers to bring great success to the club and he’s wasted those chances).
People say “trust in your manager” but I have been doing that for long enough already. Trust is first earned and then it’s KEPT – you earn and keep the trust by bringing great success to the club. Failure to do that loses people’s trust. That’s how things work in football and we don’t need to apologise for wanting more than the current manager has brought to us. He’s lost our trust. He’d be lucky to earn it back in the next season. It’d take a lot though. Winning at least 1 trophy, placing in the top 4 Premier League spots by the end of the season. That kind of thing. A new manager would be welcomed by me in the coming new season. I won’t list new potential manager names here, perhaps instead I will be creating a new article with the specifics of who is likely to replace Rodgers, but not just yet.
I know I am not the only Liverpool fan who yearns for more success than we have had this season. For great success… we need a great manager, who will fashion his great squad.
The season may be over, but Anfield Family is going to be active throughout the summer and up until the 2015-2016 season starts up in August. Keep an eye our site for news about potential player transfers to and from Liverpool and more.
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.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.