Stoke 0 – 0 Liverpool

Premier League
Saturday 10 January 2009 - 5:30 pm
Britannia Stadium
Stoke City0
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' Leiva
' Gerrard
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Liverpool left the Britannia Stadium with only one point without having scored a goal. Some will say they didn’t even deserve a point.

Stoke City gave their home fans a display that was set out to frustrate the league leaders and bombarded the reds with their dangerous airiel threat. And it worked.

Liverpool sent out a team that you would expect to compete on the physical aspect, which everyone knows you have to expect going into a game against a team that has proven in recent fixtures gone by that they are not an easy pushover.

But the fight just wasn’t there with a lot of Liverpool’s players. And the intention to win the game wasn’t reflected brightly by the team selection.

Liverpool started with Kuyt up front on his own. And Gerrard playing just behind him.

For the first 15 minutes Liverpool looked like they about to boss the game possession wise, just as they did against Newcastle. But Stoke recognised that they were playing a little too deep and pushed up about ten yards, which left Gerrard in no mans land, Kuyt isolated on his own seeing him drift deep or outwide to get a sniff of the ball and it also left Mascherano and Lucas to try deal with the ball under pressure.

This only resulted in Stoke getting a good run of pressure through free kicks and throw-ins. Just the way they wanted to play the game.

Liverpool were beginning to give the ball away cheaply and found themselves being thankful that Skrtel and Hyypia were actually up to doing their job.

Kuyt went close on 7 minutes but failed to take advantage of a rare but beautiful cross from Reira. Later on in the first half Kuyt also tested Sorensen from a tight angle but the Stoke keeper was equal to it.

Rory Delap was a constant danger with his long throwing ability. But it was he hit the woodwork for Stoke, ironically resulting from Liverpool’s poor clearance off one of his throws.

Liverpool did actually hit the woodwork twice in the latter stages of the game through Steven Gerrard. And even with Torres coming off the bench early in the second half, you had a feeling that it was only going to be Gerrard to drag any possible win out the bag for the reds. But it wasn’t to be.

The commitment and desire to stay top has to improve if the performance against Stoke is anything to go by.  It’s ok looking at the league table on paper and seeing Liverpool at the top. But as Stoke proved against the reds. No game is an on paper win. The sooner the reds hammer this into their minds, the better.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:

“Today was a difficult, different to the other one [0-0 draw with Stoke] at Liverpool. Then we created a lot of chances and had a lot of opportunities.

“This one was more difficult. We started well and had control of the game. They had a lot of options in terms of belief and we lost control.

“It is a game we could win but we could also have lost too, and it was important not to lose. When we play against 10 men and an organised team it is not easy.”

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Aurelio, Benayoun (Babel 76), Leiva Lucas, Mascherano, Riera (Torres 60), Gerrard, Kuyt.

Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Keane, Plessis, El Zhar.

Booked: Gerrard, Leiva Lucas.

Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Delap, Amdy Faye, Whelan, Etherington (Lawrence 78), Kitson (Pugh 89), Cresswell.

Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Griffin, Olofinjana, Tonge, Sonko.

Booked: Etherington, Wilkinson.

Att: 27,500

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

5 comments on
Stoke 0 – 0 Liverpool

  1. Hi
    Having been Liverpool fan for 51 years i have to say the formation that was put out against Stoke was baffeling. While Raffa is a great manager i feel we should be going for the title all guns blazing, as M.U are doing.Two points were thown away against Arsenal,Stoke,West brom etc, through being to timid. From here on in we will need 3 points from all matches. Come on Raffa go for it !!! The fans would sooner lose the title going down fighting.
    Doug Jenkins

  2. Rafa
    We must do the talkin on the pitch now!
    We had no confidence and made them look as if they had agood game.We must remember though we had about 60% of the play but not creatin any chances?why??? ask Rafa!
    Stoke are a poor prem side and will go down.The poorest side ive seen at Anfield (also 0-0) for a long time.
    We will rise again to beat the Blue S—e with Ager and Alonso back not forgetin Torres.
    Cummon you Mighty Red men!!!

  3. What a load of rubbish, We should be slaughtering teams of the calibre of Stoke if we have any intentions of becoming champions. We were sloppy and disinterested all the way through the game until it suddenly dawned on us that in the last 10 minutes we were actually only still drawing the game, and then some urgency came into the game to try to actually win it. We need to improve 50% on this if we have any chance against Everton and Chelsea who are coming up. El Tel

  4. With Torres & Keane starting on the bench this looked like a game that Raffa thought was won before they stepped on the pitch….. no game can be taken for granted.. Lucas was again pretty poor, perhaps someone should tell him , free header in six yard box aim at goal not put it back across the front of goal without looking to see if you have a team mate there…. Get well soon Xabi

  5. Rafa should be concentrating on the league and not worrying about Fergie. The draw against Stoke is totally Rafa’s fault, the team that took the field was totally rediculous, LUCAS LEIVA must stick to playing in the reserves, he is out of his depth in the Premier League.Ithink if Liverpool played with two strikers it would have been a different game all together. If Rafa is frustrated then imagine how we the supporters feel with his rediculous team selections. I think it is Rafa’s time to depart, he over stayed his welcome.

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