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Sunday, 14 November 2010
STOKE 2-0 LIVERPOOL
After a rather lacklustre draw at Wigan on Wednesday night Liverpool travelled to Stoke anticipating a very tough night. Stoke is always a very tough away fixture and Liverpool's away record in recent times has been so poor. With the recent unbeaten run lifting Liverpool out of the bottom three Liverpool were hoping to extend this decent run of results. But knowing the way Stoke play Liverpool were expecting a battle.
I was once again pleased with Hodgson's team selection in keeping a settled team with the only change being Kyrgiakos coming in for Kelly with Carragher going to right back. Pleased to see the stability with the team selection and happy to see Kyrgiakos come in with the physical threat Stoke possess.. Carragher giving the experience at right back.
Right from the kick off Stoke were right in Liverpool's faces and Liverpool struggled to cope with pressure. It was all Stoke and Liverpool struggling to cope with Stoke's game plan. Delap and his long throws giving Liverpool big problems as he bombarded the Liverpool box. Stoke had the best chances in the first half Reina making a good save from a resulting Delap throw. Liverpool quite lucky to get away with a penalty shout when Maxi barged Jones to the ground. Jones missed the best chance of the first half when Jones got a free header from a corner kick heading it wide. Liverpool's only produce in the first half was a Kyrgiakos header from a corner cleared by a Stoke defender and Gerrard had a long range shot which was well saved. But Liverpool were happy to go in 0-0 at the half.
The second half was more of the same as Liverpool struggled with the Stoke pressure. Then in the 56th minute Stoke took the deserved lead from initially Liverpool's own mistake when Konchesky played a poor pass back to Reina who could only kick to touch, which Delap could only oblige by hurling another bomb into the Liverpool box, this time with just reward when after a major melee the ball was poked home from Fuller giving Stoke the lead. Liverpool tried to fight back but the best chance they had was a shot from close range from Maxi after good work from Kuyt. Liverpool never really looked like scoring and were put out of their misery when Gerrard played a poor pass which allowed Stoke to break and they took advantage with Jones finisjing off the move and ending the game. Lucas was sent off at the end for a second booking which summed up Liverpool's night. Stoke thoroughly deserved the win.
For me this game had a lot of dejavu about it from the Everton game not so long ago. The way Liverpool were pressured by Stoke and not able to cope with it and the way they kept trying to pass in their own half causing themselves no end of problems. Unlucky to lose the first goal the way they did but thats what happens when you are under pressure for so long the attacking team will get a break sometime. I am disappointed the way we seem to struggle against teams that pressure us on the ball. We never got a foot hold in the game and hardly created anything Torres was as well sitting beside me as he had no service. Poor to see the midfield outfought as bad. Gerrard was quiet but then he can't be great all the time. Overall I thought we would get four points out of the last three games but not in the way it happened. Next up home to West Ham next Saturday so hopefully back to winning ways.
Man Of The Match - Kyrgiakos I thought he battled well and was our best defender against the Stoke bombardment, he gave everything once again.