Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City Match Report
Liverpool still looking for their first home win in the league this season faced a Stoke side who managed a scoreless draw at Anfield last season and would be a tough opponent for the hosts. Liverpool go into the fixture encouraged with their impressive away win at Norwich last week and with hopes of building on that performance against Stoke.
Brendan Rodgers stuck with the same team that beat Norwich last week, so youngsters Wisdom, Suso and Sterling kept their place in the team. Sahin, Allen and Gerrard formed the middle of Liverpool’s midfield with Skrtel and Agger pairing in central defence.
An early scare after minutes of the first-half threatened to hand Stoke their first Anfield goal since 1983. Nuri Sahin under-hit an attempted pass to Martin Skrtel after Pepe Reina caught him unawares with a short goal-kick. Former Reds midfielder Charlie Adam seized possession but after a frenzied period of last-ditch defending, the ball was hooked to safety.
Then Suarez danced along the goal-line before setting-up Sahin but his goal bound effort was blocked.
Liverpool were struggling to get their passing game going as Stoke were applying great pressure, some of it too physical, typified by Huth appearing to stamp on Suarez in one incident.
Whelan whipped an inviting free-kick across the blindside of a retreating Reds defence but Skrtel was strong and alert to scramble the ball clear as Peter Crouch stood poised to turn it home at the far post.
Gerrard swerved a shot towards Begovic’s left but the ‘keeper flung himself low to parry. Trickery from Suso on the edge of the box saw him dink the ball over the Stoke back-four and Daniel Agger was inches away from turning the ball home.
Sterling, consumed in dogfight for possession with his marker Geoff Cameron, managed to wriggle free of the tall Stoke full-back and feed Suarez, who found Gerrard but the skipper dragged wide.
After the interval Liverpool upped the tempo and started to pass the ball better and hem Stoke in their own half.
On 51 minutes Gerrard split the Stoke defence wide open. Head raised, the skipper watched Johnson stampede forward before clipping a perfectly-weighted pass into his path. The full-black blazed over the crossbar.
Suarez let the ball roll across his body before embarking on a mazy run through the heart of the Stoke defence. But with a trail of floored defenders in his wake and the whole of Anfield on its feet, poised to explode in celebration, the Uruguayan sliced the ball wide of the Kop net.
Then Agger made a great run forward but his cross evaded everyone until it came to Sterling who shot against the outside of the post.
Liverpool huffed and puffed against a resolute Stoke defence and Skrtel hit the post in the closing minutes with a poked effort from a corner as the Reds were left frustrated by Stoke’s spoiling tactics.
Liverpool started poorly and struggled to find their passing game in the first half. Better in the second half but never created enough chances. Referee Mason was very lenient towards Stoke as they seemed intent on stopping Liverpool any way they could. Suarez got some severe treatment with very little protection from Mason. Very disappointing result for Liverpool and the lack of striking options came back to haunt Liverpool.