Meireles (47), Suarez (79)
Stoke City 0
So out with the old and in with the new?
Andy Carroll was presented to the fans before the game, he got a good reception and then rested his thigh in the stand. There were the predictable Torres barbs which will no doubt increase on Sunday. Like some new mega Socialist regime dismantling an old statute of a past (disgraced or perhaps deserting?), comrade the Torres mural outside the ground was missing. Let us hope that, unlike the player, it’s gone to a sustainable source!
However, back to what really matters, a game of football involving Liverpool. Another win but the important thing is that Kenny’s influence, and patience, is beginning to show signs of paying off. Three wins on the bounce, three clean sheets on the bounce and three more points tonight, to put us in sniffing distance of sixth place, with a much better confident performance than the somewhat reticent effort against Fulham last week.
Clearly there would be speculation about the side Kenny would send out especially as Lucas had recovered from injury. His solution was to string five across the back, Agger, Kyrgiakos and Skrtel, with Johnson, on the left and Kelly, on the right, pushing forward. A good idea as Johnson’s tendency to go AWOL on the defending side would be covered. Aurelio also found himself pushed up into midfield on the left perhaps he would drop back if Johnson went forward? Gerrard and Lucas made up the middle with Miereles in the hole behind……. Dirk! No place for Suarez yet who was on the bench. For Stoke Jermaine Pennant and Salif Diao retuned back to Anfield.
The first chance of note game from Kyrgiakos with a header from Gerrard’s corner which was cleared off the line by Diao. However, it was a slow start. Stoke were cautious slinging five across the back making it difficult to create in the final third. However, slowly we began to make inroads with Kelly and Johnson finally managing to make their forward presence felt. The two combined to create a great chance. Kelly crossed after good work by Kuyt and Gerrard, and Johnson’s point blank header was somehow stopped by Begovic. Next it was Kuyt’s turn to go close however, Gerrard’s pass didn’t run right for him and a panicky Stoke defence managed to clear.
So no goal at the break but it was much more confidence performance and, after a slow start, we finished well exerting pressure from all parts of the pitch and really making Stoke work. A goal would surely come in the second half?
And it did, after only two minutes… Agger was fouled by Diao in good position for a Gerrard free kick. The kick was low and fast and although in no danger of troubling the keeper, got a number of deflections that caused panic in the Stoke defence. Kyrgiakos, who was probably expecting a header, dug it out and managed to feed to Meireles who slammed it home for his third goal in four games.
After that there was only one winner even though Carew and Walters went close. After 63 minutes Suarez, wearing Kenny and Keegan’s number seven, took his Liverpool bow to great applause. After only sixteen minutes, he turned this into cheers and roars. Kuyt, who was tireless last night, set him off on the break. Suarez rounded the keeper and, although his shot was on target, Wilkinson managed to get a foot to it and turn it onto the post. Thankfully the ball bounced along the goal line and into the net.
Suarez’s goal? Well I’d defy anyone to take it away from him and it was on target.
Whatever it was a good start he looked up for it and caused a fair amount f trouble in short space of time. More importantly the bandwagon rolls on and who knows, perhaps we can cap an eventful week in the best possible way at Stamford Bridge?
Liverpool: Reina, G Johnson, Agger, Aurelio (Suarez 63), Kyrgiakos, Kelly, Skrtel, Meireles (Shelvey 75), Gerrard, Lucas, Kuyt Substitutes: Gulacsi, Wilson, Carragher, Maxi, Shelvey, Suarez, Ngog
Stoke: Begovic, Higginbotham, Huth, Faye (Collins 65), Wilkinson, Wilson, Fuller 66), Diao (Delap 61), Pennant, Whitehead, Walters, Carew Substitutes: Sorensen, Collins, Whelan, Delap, Etherington, Jones, Fuller