???️ Liverpool V Stoke – Top 3 Games

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Liverpool 4 1 Stoke 27th December 2016 Liverpool were enjoying a flying start to the season and found themselves in 2nd place as they welcomed Stoke to Anfield last season; with a crucial match against City days later Jurgen Klopp’s team looked to keep their momentum going in their surprising charge for top spot. The game didn’t start well for the reds, bogey player and Everton fan Jonathan Walters haunted us again as he met a cross at the back post to put the Potters 1-0 up after just 12 minutes with what was only the third league goal that Stoke had scored at Anfield since 1976. Stoke then sat on their lead and frustrated Liverpool until they found their breakthrough in the 35th minute, Adam Lallana’s attempted flick rebounded back to him and the midfielder made no mistake in putting it past the keeper from close range. Liverpool’s momentum then gained them the lead just before half time; the Stoke defence allowed Firmino too much space in the box and his effort hit both posts before crossing the line to send Klopp’s men 2-1 up at half-time. After gaining the lead Liverpool went for the kill in the second half, they mounted the pressure on Stoke’s goal and after 59 minutes Imbula turned the ball into his own net in an attempt to stop Origi’s low ball getting to Mane for the tap-in. The reds were now cruising and Sturridge rounding the keeper after a misplaced Shawcross pass was the icing on the cake of a solid 4-1 win and a good day’s work for the Liverpool team.   Liverpool 1 0 Stoke 17th August 2013 Not the highest scoring of games but a valuable three points in what would be one of the craziest seasons in Liverpool’s recent history. Liverpool kicked off the 2013/14 Premier League season against Stoke at Anfield and looked to make a perfect start to their campaign with three points, manager Brendan Rodgers was in his second season as Liverpool manager and was hoping the team could improve upon their dismal 7th place finish the season prior. The game was a stereotypical season opener with neither side wanting to make any mistakes; chances were few and far between but it was Stoke who nearly took the lead after just seven minutes; summer signing Mignolet failed to claim a cross and the resulting volley from the Stoke player crashed against the crossbar. The only goal of the game came from a brilliant strike from just outside the box by Daniel Sturridge in the 37th minute, the striker controlled the ball and hit his shot between the legs of Huth and into the bottom corner past Asmir Begovic. The game looked to be heading towards a boring conclusion until Daniel Agger’s unorthodox way of defending a set piece led to a penalty being given for handball against the Big Dane. Up stepped who else Jonathan Walters and all the pressure was on new keeper Simon Mignolet to maintain Liverpool’s lead. The Belgian dived to his right and prevented the goal before saving the follow up to ensure Liverpool started the season with a win.   Stoke 3 5 Liverpool 12th January 2014 If you had to sum up Liverpool in 2013/14 then this game goes some way towards showing it, Brendan Rodgers’ team were well and truly in a title race after topping the table at Christmas and they travelled to Stoke where results were hard to come by. After just five minutes, Aly Cissokho tried his luck from distance; the shot was nowhere near the goal but on its path towards the corner flag the ball rebounded off Ryan Shawcross, the wicked deflection had Jack Butland completely wrong footed and Liverpool somehow found themselves 1-0 up early on. The lead was then extended after Skrtel’s hoofed clearance was chased down by Suarez, the striker caused problems for the Stoke defence and their mistakes enabled the main in form to slide the ball under the keeper for 2-0. In keeping with the trend of that season, the defence then let the team down. Despite being 2-0 up with just over 10 minutes left in the first half the teams went into the break level at 2-2. Two former players in Crouch and Adam pulled Stoke level and left everything to play for in the second 45 minutes. The score line only stayed at 2-2 for six second half minutes, Raheem Sterling intercepted a Wilson pass before then being brought down in the box by the same player. Gerrard dispatched the penalty with ease and Liverpool were back in the lead at the Britannia Stadium. The game marked the return of Daniel Sturridge after a long time out due to injury, with the score still at 3-2 the striker was subbed on and quickly set up partner in crime Suarez for his second and Liverpool’s fourth. The goal gave Liverpool some breathing space but this team didn’t do things easily and the pressure was right back on as Jonathan Walters (he just doesn’t go away) gave Stoke a lifeline with five minutes of normal time to play. Stoke were piling on the pressure until Sturridge topped off his return with a wonderful solo goal, seeing his far post effort saved by Jack Butland, Sturridge just about managed to keep the ball in play; first chesting the ball then heading it to set himself up for the volley that beat the keeper and gave Liverpool all three points as 5-3 victors. Article by Louis Connor
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