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October 7, 2012
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 44531
90' + 5'
So, after a disappointing afternoon for Liverpool, but a profitable one for Stoke, all that's left for me to do is wrap this baby up. I have been, am and presumably always will be, Andy Sixsmith and thanks for joining us.
90' + 5'
Full Time, it's finished Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City. A frustrating afternoon for Brendan Rodgers' side with Glen Johnson, Luis Suarez and Martin Skrtel all spurning fantastic chances to win it. Stoke, after a bright start, fell deeper and deeper, content with their point and matters end all even on Merseyside.
90' + 4'
That's all she wrote at Anfield....
Yellow Card Dean Whitehead
Make no mistake, this is a HUGE chance for Liverpool. A deep-flighted ball into the Stoke area causes all sorts of confusion but from a tight angle, two yards out, Martin Skrtel can only direct a scooped effort past the post, with Begovic beaten. That could be the ball game folks.
Superb challenge from Dean Whitehead to first deny Luis Suarez and then Steven Gerrard as the England midfielder looked set to pull the trigger. One minute plus stoppage time left at Anfield for either side to find a winner.
Stoke are quite happy just to win the second ball and pass it around the defensive third of the pitch. Little ambition being shown by Tony Pulis' men, but with a point at Anfield up for grabs, who can blame them?
The better side of Luis Suarez. He dances round Robert Huth on the right side of the penalty area but can only drill his right-footed effort into the side-netting. Seven minutes to go at Anfield.
Yellow Card Jonathan Walters
Better from Liverpool. Quick passing leads to an opening for Nuri Sahin on the edge of the area, but the Turk can only bend his effort over the top of Begovic's bar. The game drifting to its conclusion.
Ah. He's shown previous before in this match but Luis Suarez has just hurled himself to the ground under pressure from three Stoke players in the penalty area. Utterly moronic from the Uruguayan and he wonders why referees generally wave away his appeals.
Yellow Card Charlie Adam
As soon as I say that, of course, Glen Johnson sends a hopeless pass out of play on the right side. Stoke are seemingly happy to settle for a point at Anfield.
That's better from the Danish centre back though as he does well to get forward up to the Stoke penalty area. His cross eludes everyone but the advancing Raheem Sterling but he can only direct a weak effort onto the outside of the post. Better tempo by the home side though.
Yellow Card Ryan Shawcross
Yeah, that has just summed up how this game is drifting along. Daniel Agger tries his luck from a free-kick fully 40-yards from goal. It's scuffed straight at a Stoke player. With Joe Cole already on, who will Brendan Rodgers look to next to change the course of this game?
Hmmm, it seems like both team's passing has deserted them as the ball is given away four times in one scrappy period. Ho-hum time at Anfield as the game grows a little stale.
Those of a nervous disposition, look away now. Relatives of Steven N'Zonzi, look away now. The midfielder has just sliced a horror shot well wide after decent build up play from the away side. The match has descended into a slight lull after that early Liverpool onslaught.
An hour gone at Anfield and Stoke have indeed pushed up slightly. You still feel a goal is imminent for Liverpool though. Fabio Borini is warming up on the touchline, possibly with the intention of being that goal-getter.
Controversial he may be, but Luis Suarez is a man capable of the spectacular. He picks up the ball on the halfway line before embarking on a slaloming run through the heart of the Stoke defence, but can only direct his final effort off target while off balance. Changes in the offing for the home side as they still can't find a way past this resolute Stoke defence.
What a chance for Stoke. Liverpool fail to clear a hopeful long ball as Skrtel collides with Jon Walters, but Michael Kightly can only pick out Daniel Agger once clear down the left with both Crouch and Whitehead in the area. Shocking end product.
Somebody has had a word with Steven Gerrard at half-time. Brendan Rodgers would be an educated guess, you'd have thought. He plays another sublime pass into the path of Suarez, but Begovic is off his line quickly to intercept and hammer clear, Did I mention Stoke were under the cosh?
It's that Gerrard-Johnson combination again as the midfielder drives a superb pass into the path of the marauding left-back but his finish doesn't match his endeavour, lofting the ball over the bar from close range. A goal is coming.
To say Stoke are under the cosh would be a gigantic understatement. They've hardly touched the ball in the second period and Gerrard is running the show. He slides the ball to Glen Johnson 25 yards from goal and his dipping effort is solidly stopped by Begovic. Stoke have to push up if they want to escape Anfield with a result.
Delightful interchange of passes from Liverpool, with Gerrard and Suarez involved again, but once more it doesn't lead to a clear chance. The second half unfolding in the same manner as the first half ended.
Bright start to the second period from the home side, with Glen Johnson's dangerous cross well dealt with by the Stoke defence. Couldn't have been much worse than Liverpool's start to the match mind. They've managed to string more than three passes together thus far.
Back underway at Anfield where it's Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City. No changes for either side at the break.
45' + 2'
Go get a drink, some biscuits and be back in 15 minutes to enjoy the entirety of the second half with me, Andy Sixsmith, here on Goal.com.
45' + 1'
Half time at Anfield: Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City - No real clear cut openings from either side aside from a Daniel Agger stretch that clipped the post and a fine Pepe Reina save from a Steven N'Zonzi chip. Liverpool have recovered after a sluggish start, while Stoke faded after a strong one.
He's never too far from controversy Luis Suarez and there's another incident on the stroke of half-time. Asimir Begovic intimates the Uruguayan left his boot in in a 50/50 with the Stoke goalkeeper, confronting the Liverpool striker angrily. No action taken and the players get on with proceedings.
Tremendous interchanging passing from Liverpool with Allen, Gerrard and Suarez all involved in cutting apart Stoke's left-hand side. Unfortunately, Suarez's eventual pass comes to nothing and this one is heading to the break.
The free-kick comes to nothing though and we are five minutes away from the interval now. Liverpool well and truly on top after a shaky start. Stoke, struggling to get out of their half as half-time approaches.
Errr... a slightly 'robust' challenge from Jonathan Walters as he unceremoniously dumps Glen Johnson on his backside by the touchline. Rough and tumble tactics being displayed by Tony Pulis' side as they search for a way back into the match.
It's all Liverpool now and Gerrard can only drag a long-range effort wide with the team in a promising position. Ten minutes to go till the break at Anfield and Stoke will be looking at the clock anxiously as they fall deeper and deeper.
Yellow Card Robert Huth
Huth and Suarez are at it again and this time, it results in a booking for the tall German centre back. Suarez skipped past him and was hauled down en-route to goal with a Stoke player covering. Huth will have to watch his step now against the elusive Uruguayan.
Suso is starting to come into the match. Twinkling footwork from the Spaniard but he just can't control Suarez's return pass on the edge of the area after a strong run forward. Stoke have faded after a strong start to the match.
Liverpool go close again as Suso lofts a delightful clipped pass into the area. It's met by Daniel Agger on the stretch but the post comes to Stoke's rescue. Concerted period of pressure now for Brendan Rodgers' men.
And there is Steven Gerrard. Stoke fail to close him down, inviting the England midfielder into a long-range shot, which he's only too happy to accept, forcing Asimir Begovic into a decent save low to his left. First shot on target for Liverpool and that tells the story so far for the home team.
Yellow Card Michael Kightly
Not the best challenge from Michael Kightly right now and it brings about the first booking of the game. Joe Allen let the ball get away from him but Kightly's challenge was reckless. Deserved yellow. This game is decidedly scrappy.
Suarez and Huth clash once more, with the German leaving his mark on the Uruguayan once more with a late...ahem..rugby challenge. Steven Gerrard hardly in this match so far - Liverpool need to get their talisman on the ball.
Pepe Reina is not the most convincing of goalkeepers with the ball at his feet. He passes the ball straight to Stoke from a kick, with N'Zonzi eventually forcing the Spaniard into a good, backpedalling save. Liverpool need to get their midfield into this game and quickly.
Sloppy. Very sloppy from Steven N'Zonzi and you cannot do with with someone like Luis Suarez hanging around. The Uruguayan intercepts his pass and advances into the penalty area, eventually hammering his shot off Robert Huth. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
So, quarter of an hour gone at Anfield and it's been fairly even stevens, with Stoke having the better opportunities. Liverpool still feeling their way into the match.
And it's a wonderfully, wicked ball in from Glenn Whelan that alludes everyone along the edge of the six-yard box, allowing Skrtel to hack clear with Crouch lurking. Stoke upping the ante again.
Danger for Liverpool. Peter Crouch's aerial presence has caused problems so far and Daniel Agger has now forced the striker over on the right wing, 5 yards outside the penalty area....
Penalty shout from Liverpool, but it's a real soft one. There is a bit of grappling between Martin Skrtel and Ryan Shawcross but the Slovakian goes down very easily. No penalty that, son.
As positive as they've been in attack, Stoke have been equally as sloppy at the back. Daniel Agger is allowed to run unchallenged from his own half, but his pass just eluded the advancing Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool's turn to threaten as Suarez's devilish trickery down the left allows him to pull the back for Raheem Sterling to slam his shot straight into a Stoke defender. Better from the home side.
Slightly ambitious from Mark Wilson though, the Stoke left-back advancing forward unchallenged, but only to spank a 30-yard piledriver over Reina's bar. Decent opening for the away side.
And as Liverpool fail to clear the ball again, it falls to former Anfield man, Charlie Adam, who can only poke his shot straight at Pepe Reina. Disappointing end product from the Scot.
A little bit of controversy early doors at Anfield as Luis Suarez complains he's been stamped upon by Robert Huth. Replays don't show the German in a good light, to put it mildly.
Sloppy first few minutes for the home side. Unable to maintain any semblance of possession, with Stoke tigerish in the tackle and looking positive. Michael Kightly swings a peach of a cross in from the left, but no Stoke player is able to meet it.
Stoke into an immediate pattern - long ball up to Peter Crouch who flicks the header on with nobody in a Stoke shirt to collect the ball. Could be the trend for the Liverpool defence this afternoon.
We are UNDERWAY at Anfield. Liverpool kicking from right to left in their traditional all red strip.s Stoke in their changed kit of navy blue and red stripes, which looks rather fetching.
The teams are out at Anfield. Kick off is less than five minutes away.
Crouch is in top form this season and seems to have finally found a club to park his feet under. Four goals in six appearances so far this season tells its own story although he's only notched once in ten showings against former club Liverpool. Who's betting on him to buck that trend this afternoon?
So Stoke have a pretty wretched record against Liverpool but Brendan Rodgers' men, despite last week's result at Norwich aren't in the best form themselves and have former striker Peter Crouch to contend with up front too....
Want a full preview of the game with 16 minutes to go until the kick-off? Look no further. Click the 'Preview' link at the top of the page. Please.
These are the Stoke fellas aiming to go right ahead and accomplish that. Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Walters, Whelan, N'Zonzi, Adam, Kightly; Crouch Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Edu, Whitehead, Upson, Etherington, Jerome
We've dealt with Liverpool, but what about the visitors to Anfield this afternoon? Stoke have a slightly strange record against Liverpool.... Try no wins in 49 top flight matches. Lucky number 50 today?
That's an unchanged line-up for Brendan Rodgers from the team that hammered Norwich 5-2 last week. If it ain't broke, don't fix it I guess. One point of note is the return of Joe Cole to the squad from injury. So well done to him on that one.
First thing's first, let's take a look at the all important team news. Annnd it's Liverpool up...err...first. Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Allen, Gerrard, Sahin, Suso, Suarez, Sterling Subs: Jones, Henderson, Cole, Assaidi, Coates, Borini, Carragher
Happy Sunday folks and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of this encounter between Liverpool and Stoke. I am Andy Sixsmith currently and will be leading you through all of the key events this match has to offer. So, let's get started shall we?
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