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February 2, 2011
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 40254
Raul Meireles 47'
L. Suárez 79'
90' + 3'
That is the final whistle and Liverpool have come out clear and deserved winners. Dalglish shuffled his system and Stoke had no answer to it. Goals from Meireles and Suarez ensured an easy victory for the Reds who are sure to be tested a bit more when the travel to Stamford Bridge. The victory keeps Liverpool in seventh as they look to try and close the gap between themselves and the teams chasing European football for next season.
90' + 2'
Into the three minutes of added time and Stoke have a bit of possession and try to get the ball into the area but it is cleared by Liverpool. One of the rare moments that Stoke have had the ball in Liverpool's half.
Three minutes of added time to be played.
Liverpool now appear happy to keep their two goal lead as they play a bit of keep ball against the Stoke players who have covered an awful lot of ground for very little reward this evening.
Liverpool still looking to get forward as soon as possible and they have played some very nice football this evening. Johnson wins the ball in his own half and drives into the Stoke half before laying off to Kuyt. Kuyt then shifts the ball to Shelvey who takes the shot on when he had other options.
There will be some doubt as to who gets the second goal but it doesn't matter to the Liverpool fans who have a new cult hero as Andy Carroll looks on in delight. The game slowing down to walking pace now as the result is almost secured.
Yellow Card Danny Collins
It very nearly wasn't game over as a long ball was beautifully chested by Carew into the path of Walters who snaps at the shot. It was going in before a reaction save from Reina tipped it over the bar. Fantastic save from the Spaniard.
Assist Dirk Kuyt
Goal Luis Suárez
GOOOAAAALLLL!!!! 16 minutes into his debut and Suarez scores! He is set through on goal as Stoke held a high line and the Uruguayan rounds Begovic before scuffing his shot towards the open goal. Wilkinson tries to get back and clear but can only hit the ball onto the post. Game over.
Stoke's tactics appear clear now as they look to get the ball wide as soon as possible to aim for Carew and Fuller in the centre. Liverpool may have some defending to do in the closing moments.
Plenty of noise coming from the Kop end as they will on their new man whose first couple of touches haven't been brilliant. The changes in system from both teams has impacted on the tempo of the game which has slowed slightly.
Ricardo Fuller's introduction shows a willingness for Stoke to chase the game. They will have to improve their sluggish performance quickly if they are to get anything from this game. Liverpool happy to be patient for the moment.
Faye has picked up a knock and instead of using the opportunity as an excuse to bring on an attacking player, Pulis decides to bring on Danny Collins. Just one sub remaining for Pulis now with 25 minutes left.
Abdoulaye Diagne Faye
Suarez has replaced Aurelio so it looks like Liverpool will go with two strikers now as they look to kill the game off.
Suarez is stripping off and he is about to make his Liverpool debut. Listen to the roars. Whether Dalglish will change his system for Suarez remains to be seen.
Liverpool showing plenty of endeavour still and seeing much of the ball but they are still unable to add to their tally. Dalglish will want to kill this game off as soon as possible.
Liverpool playing with a lot more freedom than they have shown for most of this season. Gerrard and Meireles have been excellent so far this evening.
Yellow Card Glen Johnson
Dalglish's tactics appear to working to a tee this evening as they have played some very neat football. Stoke have worked hard but have created very little going forward.
Yellow Card John Alieu Carew
Onus very much on Stoke now to provide a cutting edge. If they don't improve they will find themseleves leaving Anfield empty handed.
Assist Sotirios Kyrgiakos
Goal Raúl Meireles
GOOOOAAALLLL!!! There is the goal for Liverpool, finally. A Gerrard free kick is struck towards goal but a deflection heads in the direction of Kyrgiakos whose heavy touch finds Meireles who smashed the ball into the back of the net.
Yellow Card Salif Diao
That's half-time and Liverpool have played well but haven't been able to break down an obdurate Stoke City team. Both teams may have to take a gamble if they are to win this game.
Decent save from Begovic as Kuyt takes the ball first time and turns to shoot. The ball was heading for the bottom corner and Begovic keeps hold of the ball.
Stoke looking to the half-time break as they have worked extremely hard in this first half to keep Liverpool at bay.
Yellow Card Robert Huth
Booking for Huth as he stretches for the ball but jumps with both feet. He wins the ball but also catches the player much to anger of Johnson who sprints 30 yards to remonstrate with the referee. Ugly challenge from the German.
Super save from Begovic. Hardly had a thing to do all night and then Johnson's header seemed destined for the back of the net before Begovic got a big hand on it stop it going in.
A few groans of discontent coming from some quarters of the Anfield crowd as Stoke continue to frustrate their opponents. Their energy and willingness to win the ball is causing Liverpool trouble when moving forward.
Neither team seems willing to really take the game by the scruff of the neck as both teams are cancelling each other out at the moment. A team will have to take a risk in the second half if they are going to take all three points here.
Gerrard seems to be enjoying the extra freedom he has with this new formation. He needs to support Kuyt a bit more who is also looking a touch isolated.
The game is moving along at snails pace right now as the gap between Carew and the rest of his team-mates widens by the second. Liverpool controlling the game without creating anything.
Another half chance for Stoke as Pennant beats his man and gets a cross which Carew meets but can only send wide of the post.
Atmosphere inside Anfield rather muted now as Liverpool patiently try and build up play with their neat short passing.
Stoke coming into the game a bit more now as they try and exert some authority on the game. Little in the way of goal mouth action though.
Well and truly a centre-halves finish. Skrtel wins the ball high up the pitch and tries to let fly from just outside the area and his shot is skewed a long way wide.
First half chance for Stoke. Pennant's free-kick from the left hand side is only half cleared to Walters whose first touch give himself space for a shot but is off balance and his shot is blazed over the bar.
Liverpool controlling things here and went close with a header from Kyrgiakos. The Greek got above his marker to head towards goal before Diao got his foot in the way to block before it went into the bottom corner. Encouraging start this from the Reds.
Slow start from both teams as they try and feel their way into the game. Liverpool controlling possession for the most part though.
Liverpool start the game with three centre-halves and Aurelio coming into the centre of midfield. Interesting from Kenny Dalglish.
Liverpool get the game underway in front of a very loud Anfield crowd.
Stoke come into the game off the back of a late Robert Huth winner against Wolves in the FA cup on Sunday. Pulis shuffles his pack and makes six changes from their last Premier League game with Carew, Diao, Walters, Pennant, Higginbotham and Faye all coming into the starting XI. Stoke have followed up every victory in 2011 with a defeat, Tony Pulis will be hoping that is stopped tonight.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has ignored the temptation to thrust new signing Luis Suarez straight into the team and has Dirk Kuyt on his own up-front this evening. The thinking behind Dalglish's decision would be to combat a physical Stoke team. The team shows three changes from the team that beat Fulham last time out with Aurelio, Lucas and Kyrgiakos coming into the team. Suarez has to be content with a space on the bench alongside the returning Jamie Carragher.
Stoke City line-up: Begovic Wilkinson Faye Huth Higginbotham Pennant Wilson Diao Whitehead Carew Walters Subs: Sorenson, Collins, Whelan, Jones, Fuller, Delap, Etherington
Liverpool line-up: Reina Kelly Skrtel Krygiakos Agger Johnson Lucas Meireles Gerrard Aurelio Kuyt Subs: Gulacsi, Carragher, Maxi, Poulsen, Suarez, Shelvey, Ngog
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com’s live commentary of Stoke City’s visit to Liverpool. With all the craziness of the transfer window out of the way for a few months, attention turns once again to the football. Stoke come into the game having not played a Premier League game for a week and a half and travel to Anfield knowing that victory will take them above their opponents in the league this evening. While Liverpool will be looking to put pressure on for the European spots above them.
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