Liverpool came back from a shock John Walters goal tonight at Anfield to beat Stoke City 4-1 thanks to goals from Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, an own goal from Gianelli Imbula and a first Premeir League since last April for Daniel Sturridge.
Stoke city arrived at Anfield lying in 12th place in the Premier League, but having a poor record at Anfield, indeed never beating the home team at home in the top flight.
Mark Hughes decided to try to bully the Liverpool defence by bringing back Peter Crouch and playing him alongside John Walters in front of a five man Stoke midfield.
Obviously long high balls and crosses were going to be the order of the day along with deploying a three man defence, hoping to push Liverpool out wide and deny them the space in around the box.
Liverpool started the game well on the front foot and seeing alot of the ball for the first ten minutes. Stoke were finding it hard enough to keep the ball when they did get hold of it.
On ten minutes Simon Mignolet had to come out and claim a cross into the box meant for the head of Peter Crouch denying the former Liverpool player an early attack on goal.
But Stoke did find the combination they were looking for just one minute later when, after recycling the ball back out wide to Erik Pieter who’s cross picked out John Walters at the first post who headed well past the diving Simon Mignolet.
The goalkeeper did get a glove to the ball and maybe should have done better to prevent Stoke taking an early lead.
Stoke now looked to push home an advantage they had with a second goal and were getting alot of the ball and were pushing hard for that goal.
On 17 minutes Joe Allen got on the end of a bouncing ball in the box that Liverpool failed to deal with. He got his shot off across Simon Mignolet who stuck out advantage cross leg to make advantage cross good stop and luckily the ball went wide enough not to fall to the feet of the waiting Peter Crouch who would have had an easy tap in.
A crucial point in the game seemed to waken the home team up and from there on they took charge of the game until the end which resulted in a 4-1 home win.
On 23 minutes Roberto Firmino had a shot cleared off the stoke line by Peter Crouch.
On 34 minutes Origi held the ball up in midfield and passes it out wide to Sadio Mané who was able to drive in to the Stoke penalty area and pick out a pass to the feet of Adam Lallana who at the second attempt drove the ball low and the hard into the goal to level the game up.
From this point on Liverpool took charge and with over 80% possession in those last ten minutes before half time the second goal always looked like coming.
It did on 43 minutes when James Milner slide a ball to the feet of Roberto Firminho just inside the box and as Milner went for the return Firmino was able to turn and shoot across the goalie to give Liverpool a half time lead they would never look like losing.
The second half was dominated by the home team to the extent that manager Jürgen Klopp was able to take off some players early to rest them ahead of a hectic schedule leading in to the new year.
On 59 mins Liverpool scored again albeit an own goal forced by the presence of Mané in the centre waiting to tap in a low cross from Origi.
On 68 minutes Lallana and Origi were replaced by Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge and less than a minute later while Ryan Shawcross received a ball he turned to play it back to his goalie, Daniel Sturridge got himself in to a position to intercept the back pass. From here he made it look ever so easy to go already round the goalie and score into the empty net to seal another win and 3 vital points.
Sturridge deadly dangerous as usual.
Having already got scored 4 goals, fans might have imagined that Liverpool would shit up shop and see out the win but the team kept coming forward now looking for more goals. Sturridge’s goals was Liverpool’s 100th goal scored under Klopp.
Brilliant to watch and those goals also being widely spread all over the team which is great to see.
The response yet again was good to see going a goal down the team didn’t panic and kept playing to the system now drilled into them and that paid off in the end big time.
Being able to rest a couple of players today taking them off early and with Joël Matip likely to come back for the next game the leagues top scorers now look forward to hosting Manchester City at Anfield next in what is sure to be a big test for both sides and probably a telling one also.
The win pushes Liverpool back above Manchester City and keeps them in contact with leaders Chelsea. A win next City would be the perfect start to 2017 for the Reds.
Written By @StephenKing75