Steven Gerrard celebrated his 100th Liverpool goal in the second minute of the match, but the ref had other ideas, disallowing the goal on a day of frustration at Anfield.
Stoke City fans grabbed their 4th point of the season, against all the odds, as the reds squandered another 2 points at home.
Too often in recent years the reds have been guilty of dropping points at home and here we are again, new season, same problem.
Benitez selected a strong eleven for the game, bringing back Alonso and Riera who were rested in mid-week. And within 2 minutes Liverpool had put the ball in the net. Direct from the free kick Stevie G fired home, but the referee adjudged Dirk Kuyt to be offside.
Robbie Keane then had a fantastic chance to score but fired straight at the keeper from 10 yards out.
Gerrard had shots, Alonso had shots, Keane had chances as did Torres but out of the 30 opportunities crafted by the reds they failed to make that net ripple.
Liverpool played some decent football in both halves but there was no cutting edge, the reds lacked that clinical precision that at times last year helped Torres to over 30 goals in all competitons.
The reds tide washed over Stoke for 93 minutes, but at the end they were still there to celebrate their rear-guard action.
A look at the bench didn’t bring much hope – only two out of the seven were attacking players and no real striker at all. N’Gog and El Zhar both would have been useful additions, but today was an example where the lack of a third striker at Anfield (now that Kuyt has become a right winger) was apparent.
Let’s hope that next time we play Average FC at Anfield, the reds learn how to unlock the safe, or Benitez gives himself some attacking options on the bench.
A day of frustration at Anfield. Crewe up next. Surely……
Liverpool had 76% possession.
Liverpool had 30 shots (6 on target) – Stoke had 2 shots (0 on target).
Liverpool had 19 corners to Stoke’s 3.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena, Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera (Babel 64), Keane (Benayoun 71), Torres. Subs: Cavalieri, Agger, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Degen.
Stoke: Sorensen, Griffin, Abdoulaye Faye, Sonko, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Olofinjana, Diao, Delap, Kitson, Sidibe. Subs: Simonsen, Cort, Whelan, Cresswell, Fuller, Tonge, Wilkinson.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)
Updated Player Stats