Liverpool defeats Stoke in Goals Galore
After firing previous manager Brendan Rodgers in late 2015, the Merseyside fans have been ecstatic about ex-Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp’s arrival. Although German Manager still conquers the fans’ heart with his charisma and witty comments at the press conferences, he has been performing poorly on the pitch. The inconsistency has not improved from the Rodgers era but there has been an occasional great display of the beautiful game, which keeps fans hopeful for next season. That was certainly the case in the game against Stoke City on April 10. Liverpool started out with Daniel Sturridge as a lone striker with Firmino playing as the playmaker. Liverpool youngsters Ojo and Stewart were given a chance to perform in right wing and central midfield respectively. Ex-Manchester City midfielder James Milner and Welsh Joe Allen took the remaining two spots in the four men midfield. Liverpool’s defense was fairly standard, with Clyne and Moreno as the fullbacks and Skrtel and Ivory National Toure as the center back. The Belgian, Simon Mignolet, was handed the gloves. Stoke started with a strong attacking team with Crouch, Affelay, Bojan and Shaqiri.
The game started fast with Alberto Moreno scoring right after a free kick. Although it was a beautiful strike right outside the box, the Stoke goalkeeper Haugaard did a poor job predicting the projection of the shot (Liverpool 1 – 0 Stoke, 8’ Moreno). Three minutes later, Alberto Moreno outran Shaqiri and was left one on one with Haugaard but failed to hit the back of the net. Ten minutes later ex-Barcelona striker Bojan headed in a well-practiced free kick (Liverpool 1 – 1 Stoke, 22’ Bojan). At the twenty sixth minute the 6’ 8’’ British striker Peter Crouch scored a beautiful header but it was ruled offside. One minute later, Sturridge’s powerful shot from the corner of the box went 2’’ wide from the far post. After a brilliant nutmeg and a beautiful cross from youngster Ojo, Sturridge headed it in from the crowd in the penalty box (Liverpool 2 – 1 Stoke, 32’ Sturridge). The British striker has been in great form since his return from injury in late February. Stoke had a couple of chances from free kicks before but none of them resulted in a goal. The first half wrapped up with Liverpool leading with a single goal.
Belgian striker Divorick Origi was subbed in for Ojo during halftime and he had a great start to his game by scoring five minutes later, heading in James Milner’s cross after a smart corner play (Liverpool 3– 1 Stoke, 50’ Origi). Simon Mignolet saved a brilliant effort from Shawcross three minutes later. Although Stoke invested heavily in attackers with the likes of Shaqiri, Affelay and Krikic, they are still being most effective through free kicks and using their tall players. After this attack, Liverpool began capitalizing on the encouragement from the home fans, the Merseyside club started piling up pressure on Stoke, specially using the brilliant combinations from Sturridge, Firmino and Origi. At the sixty fifth minute Origi scored another goal, beating Stoke goalkeeper with a very hard cross, which ended up in the back of the net (Liverpool 4– 1 Stoke, 65’ Origi). Except for a couple of back and forth attacks from both sides, nothing significant happened until the final blow and the game finished 4-1. Overall, it was a very good display after Liverpool’s Euro Cup draw against Dortmund during the week. It was a fantastic game for Origi and Sturridge and horrendous one for Haugaard and Shaqiri. Kloop was very courageous with starting Ojo and Stewart and it was the move that worked for the best. The fans were fantastic as usual and the fans are now looking forward the game against Dortmund on April 14.
Liverpool Player Ratings:
Mignolet: Could do nothing to stop the goal, solid display otherwise, 7
Clyne: Average as usual, 6
Moreno: Did a great attacking job, didn’t have to defend a lot, 8
Skrtel: Had a hard time controlling Crouch during set pieces but was good otherwise, 6
Toure: Average, 6
Stewart: Great display from youngster, seems like a great prospect, 7
Allen: Dominated the midfield, 7
Milner: Had two brilliant assists, average otherwise, 7
Ojo: Great display in his debut with a brilliant assist, 8
Firmino: Seemed a little bit out of position in the first half but did a decent job second half, 6
Sturridge: Linked great with Ojo and Origi, getting better and better everyday, 8
Origi: Scored two brilliant Goal, linked extremely well with all the team, earned himself a start in the Dortmund game, 10
Lallana: Linked well, gave the tired team some much needed energy, 7