Solid Stoke frustrate Liverpool

Stoke produced a solid defensive display to hold off Liverpool and take a hard-earned point away from Anfield after a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

Last Updated: 07/10/12 at 18:07 Post Comment

Suarez: Tackled by Whitehead

Suarez: Tackled by Whitehead

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

The stalemate made it five draws in seven Premier League matches by Tony Pulis' men, while a point will be scant consolation for Reds manager Brendan Rodgers.

It could have been worse for the hosts, who twice almost pushed the self-destruct button, but ultimately this will be viewed as another disappointment in a stop-start season.

Rodgers made eight changes from the side beaten by Udinese on Thursday, after which he called his players "lazy", and one of his targets, Stewart Downing, was not even on the bench.

Liverpool had been on the receiving end of a kicking from their manager in midweek, and got another one at Anfield at the hands of Stoke, who took their renowned physical approach across the line of legality on plenty of occasions.

But if Liverpool were keen to escape the sharp edge of their manager's tongue, they hardly helped themselves.

Twice, goalkeeper Jose Reina attempted to pass the ball out to a midfielder; twice, Stoke scented a weakness and pounced, and twice it was only the reactions of the Spaniard which saved Liverpool.

Stoke had clearly anticipated Reina would refuse to launch the ball long, and the first time it was Nuri Sahin who conceded possession, giving Charlie Adam a chance to humiliate his former employees. The Scot advanced toward goal, but Reina was quickly out of the blocks to narrow the angle and parry the shot.

Liverpool committed the same mistake again soon afterward. This time it was Steven Nzonzi snapping into the challenge as another Reina pass went awry and Michael Kightly tried to flight the ball into the goal, but the keeper recovered to turn it over at full stretch.

Having passed up those chances, Stoke reverted to type, striking long balls and stopping their opponents by foul means as often as fair, and the game disintegrated as a spectacle.

Liverpool's frustration increased, while the away fans chanted 'You're not famous any more', and all that there was to give the Reds fans some hope before the break was a sweeping shot by Steven Gerrard turned aside by Asmir Begovic, and a toe-poke from Daniel Agger that bounced wide.

Proper football threatened to break out in patches in the second half, as Stoke toned down their challenges, and it was Liverpool who had just about all the chances, although none were clear-cut.

First, a terrific combination between Gerrard and Luis Suarez was just thwarted. Gerrard then picked out Glen Johnson's run with a pass of arrow-like precision, but his England team-mate, on the run, could not keep the shot down.

A run of genuine brilliance by Suarez, the most gifted person on the pitch by some distance, nearly brought a superb goal, but he just bent the shot wide of the angle.

Raheem Sterling was presented with perhaps Liverpool's best opportunity after Agger's driving run, but he tried to drill it inside the near post and only found the side-netting.

Suarez then showed the best and worst of his talents in the space of a couple of minutes, first with a dive in the penalty area that was embarrassingly obvious, then bursting down the right and powering a shot against the outside of a post from a tight angle.

Martin Skrtel nearly snatched a winner at the end when he hooked Joe Cole's ball back across goal, but it dropped, agonisingly for Liverpool, the wrong side of the post.

A dreary goalless draw at home will hardly provide much succour for Rodgers - and Michael Owen, missing an Anfield return due to injury, can only be thankful he was not playing.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Monday, 29 September 2014
20:00
Stoke 1-0 Newcastle Report
Sunday, 28 September 2014
16:00
West Brom 4-0 Burnley Report
Saturday, 27 September 2014
17:30
Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Report
15:00
Chelsea 3-0 A Villa Report
C Palace 2-0 Leicester Report
Hull City 2-4 Man City Report
Man Utd 2-1 West Ham Report
Southampton 2-1 QPR Report
Sunderland 0-0 Swansea Report
12:45
Liverpool 1-1 Everton Report

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 6 12 16
2 Southampton 6 7 13
3 Man City 6 5 11
4 Arsenal 6 4 10
5 Swansea 6 2 10
6 A Villa 6 -3 10
7 Man Utd 6 2 8
8 Tottenham 6 1 8
9 C Palace 6 0 8
10 West Brom 6 0 8
11 Stoke 6 0 8
12 Leicester 6 -1 8
13 West Ham 6 0 7
14 Liverpool 6 -1 7
15 Everton 6 -2 6
16 Hull City 6 -2 6
17 Sunderland 6 -1 5
18 QPR 6 -9 4
19 Newcastle 6 -7 3
20 Burnley 6 -7 3

Updated Tue, 30 Sep 2014

Footer 365

European Qualifiers: No Sturridge rift with Liverpool, says England boss Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson insists there is no dispute with Liverpool after omitting striker Daniel Sturridge from the England squad.

European Qualifiers: Nathaniel Clyne and Jonjo Shelvey in England squad as Daniel Sturridge is omitted

Nathaniel Clyne has been named in England's squad for the European Qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia.

England Under-21: Saido Berahino, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers in Euro play-offs squad

Saido Berahino, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers have been named in the England Under-21 squad for the Euro U21 playoffs.

Mail Box

Danny, Champion Of Arsenal's World

It's a Mailbox filled with Liverpool glumness, but happiness surrounding Danny, champion of Arsenal's world. Plus, can someone try and teach Balotelli the offside rule?

It Was Better When City Were Rubbish

'I think I preferred it when we were s**t' says one City fan in the afternoon mailbox. There's a decent chat about the empty seats plus views on Liverpool and Roma...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property