Stoke 3-5 Liverpool: LFC turn up for a second half to take the points

Premier League
Sunday 12 January 2014 - 4:10 pm
Britannia Stadium
Stoke City3
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' Cissokho
4'own goal ⚽️
32'Suarez ⚽️
51'Gerrard ⚽️
71'Suarez ⚽️
87'Sturridge ⚽️
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Liverpool moved back in to the top four after a resilient second half display amidst the return of Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool welcomed back Daniel Sturridge into the squad - he started from the bench.  Kolo Toure came in to replace the injured Daniel Agger  with Mamadou Sakho still not ready for a return to the side.

The reds got off to a dream start in the fourth minute of the game when the ball found it's way to Cissokho 25 yards out.  The Frenchman fired a volley that was going wide.  It's power however enabled the faintest of deflections off Ryan Shawcross to put the ball past Butland.

Stoke had a number of corners in the next 20 minutes spell - helped on at least one occasion by Mignolet's inability to catch the ball under the pressure of Peter Crouch.

But Liverpool were having plenty of spells of their own in the opposing final third. Lucas and Cissokho combined well at one point down the left hand side, a cross that Coutinho was unable to control. Henderson too found himself on the touchline, with a well weighted cross to Suarez - Butland being strong to clear the ball.

Just after the half hour Liverpool extended their strangehold on the match.

Skrtel's long ball saw Suarez and Shawcross face up to be first to the ball. Suarez accepted Shawcross's reckless header back towards goal and took the ball to the side of the onrushing Stoke keeper to fire into the net. Brendan Rodgers expressed his delight from the touchline.

Stoke's defence looked nervous every time the reds attacked, but it was Stoke who got a glimmer of light towards the end of the first half.

A cross was sent in from the left wing and Crouch backed off towards the penalty spot to glance a header past the stationary reds keeper. 2-1 to the reds.

But there was worse to come. Charlie Adam took advantage of a mix up between Henderson and Gerrard to smash a shot in from the edge of the box just 5 minutes before the break.

2-2 at half time and Stoke with their tails up.

In the 51st minute a clearance found Sterling who advanced on the penalty area. He was brought down, admittedly easily, and the ref correctly pointed at the penalty spot.

Steven Gerrard who had spent most of the game in his own half marched to the penalty spot placed the ball down and fired Liverpool back into a 3-2 lead.

Stoke had a shout for a penalty themselves when the ball was fired at close range at Suarez who had his arms in front of his chest.

Daniel Sturridge saw his return to action for Liverpool in the 65th minute when he was brought on for Coutinho who had another disappointing game for the reds.

How would the reunited SAS get on?

Within five minutes we had our answer when Sturridge controlled the ball in the box before side-passing to the predatory Suarez who slotted in to the far corner of the goal. The reds had restored their two goal advantage.

Game over? No - of course not.

Walters had a header that Mignolet palmed away, but a minute later the Stoke player fired a shot that went straight through Mignolet's hands to put the scoreline at 4-3.  Seven minutes of pressure on Liverpool?

Not quite.  Daniel Sturridge settled Liverpool's nerves with a double attempt at goal.  The first was magnificently saved by Butland, but at his second bite of the cherry he fired in from a narrow angle.  25 minutes into his LFC return and he had an assist and a goal to his name.

Liverpool were comfortable in the final minutes and recorded their first Premier League victory at Stoke and their first league victory for almost 30 years.  Plenty of defensive concerns for Liverpool fans, but not many concerns when it comes to our attacking talent.

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