A moment of magic from Philippe Coutinho proved the difference between Liverpool and Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, as the Reds put memories of last season’s 6-1 defeat in the Potteries well and truly to bed.
In what was an incredibly hard-fought encounter with few chances, it was the home side who arguably had the better of the early opportunities, with Glen Johnson wasting a rare effort mid-way through the first-half.
However, the game changed when Brendan Rodgers brought on Emre Can and solidified our midfield, giving our Brazilian wizard the opportunity to push further forward.
The game looked to be winding down towards a draw until the 23-year-old found himself in some space and unleashed a piledriver into the top corner. Jack Butland got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out.
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Read the full Liverpool player ratings below:
GK) Simon Mignolet – 6
He made one decent stop from Charlie Adam’s free-kick, which came through a crowd of bodies before requiring a firm palm away, while he also dealt well with a couple of stay back-passes. His distribution was decent as well.
RB) Nathaniel Clyne – 7
Looked sharp down the right flank. He made countless overlapping runs to get up in support of Ibe but, unlike some of the players that have come before him in this position, he always got back and did his defensive duties.
CB) Martin Skrtel – 7
He was back to his best today. He was commanding, keeping a lively Stoke attack fairly quiet, and always got in an made the crucial intervention when it was most needed. He was unlucky not to do better with a header as well.
CB) Dejan Lovren – 6
Much, much better. He did everything that he needed to do and, while there were a couple of moments where Liverpool fans will have had their hearts in their mouths, he looked much happier than he did last season.
LB) Joe Gomez – 6
There was the odd nervous moment from him but, for the most part, he was incredibly solid on his Premier League debut. For an 18-year-old, playing away to Stoke, he dealt well with everything they threw at him.