Solid Stoke deny Reds

Reds hit woodwork but cannot find a way through

Last Updated: 07/10/12 9:56pm

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

Man of the match: Ryan Shawcross. Led the defence well as Stoke held off Liverpool to earn a point.
Shot of the match: Steven Gerrard hit a long range swerving effort in the first half which was heading into the net which Asmir Begovic saved well to his left to push the ball out for a corner.
Save of the match: As above - Begovic from Gerrard.
Moment of the match: Luis Suarez made a fantastic mazy run from near the halfway line into the Stoke box but put his shot wide.
Talking point: Robert Huth looked to have stamped on Suarez early on but the incident was missed by officials and Stoke kept 11 men on the field to aid their defensive display.

But their task was made easier when officials missed an incident where Robert Huth appeared to stamp on Luis Suarez early on after a tussle which would have resulted in his dismissal.

Liverpool created chances and hit the woodwork on three occasions in the second period via Raheem Sterling, Suarez and Martin Skrtel.

But Stoke's stalwart defensive display made it five draws in seven matches for Tony Pulis' men, while Liverpool continue their wait for a first home league win under Brendan Rodgers.

It could have been worse for the Reds, 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.

Started brightly

The Reds started brightly and Stoke were lucky to have Huth on the field when he appeared to stamp on Suarez after the pair tussled for the ball and the striker fell to the ground but the officials missed the incident.

Then 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 N'Zonzi 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.

Having passed up those chances, Stoke reverted to type, striking long balls and stopping their opponents, collecting six yellow cards in the process, and the game disintegrated as a spectacle.

Liverpool's frustration increased 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.


Liverpool had just about all the chances of the second period, although none were clear-cut.

First, a terrific combination between Gerrard and 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.

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 outside of the woodwork.

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.

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

The goalless draw at home will hardly provide much succour for Rodgers whose side have taken just six points from their opening seven games, two less than the Potters.

LiverpoolTeam StatisticsStoke City
01st Half Goals0
2Shots on Target2
11Shots off Target3
5Blocked Shots1
0Yellow Cards6
0Red Cards0
81.1Passing Success66
92.3Tackles Success68
53.4Territorial Advantage46.6
524Total Passes288
22Total Crosses13
172Lost Balls170
60.31st Half Poss.39.7
68.32nd Half Poss.31.7