Home > Soccer/ Football > Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City: Anfield struggles continue

Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City: Anfield struggles continue

Liverpool’s struggles at Anfield continued Saturday with a scoreless draw against Stoke City, taking the Merseyside’s club record at home this season to 7 draws in 11 league matches.

Manager Kenny Dalglish threw a few surprises with his team selection, opting to play with three CBs and giving Sebastian Coates his first Premier League start. Jamie Carragher also got the start as Daniel Agger was left out of the side due to a knock he picked up in the Carling Cup semi-final match with Manchester City.

Liverpool lined up in a formation that was somewhere between a 5-4-1 and 3-4-2-1, with Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique given the freedom to charge down the wings and give the Reds some width.

Stoke City lined up in a traditional 4-4-2, although they defended for the vast majority of the game, leaving Peter Crouch isolated.

Liverpool only mustered one shot on target in the first half, a Jordan Henderson effort in the 37th minute that was easily saved by Thomas Sorensen. The former Sunderland made displayed a nice bit of skill by executing a half turn, but his left-footed shot was low and straight at Sorensen.

Stoke didn’t fair much better. The Potters’ only shot on target was an effort by Matthew Etherington that saved by Pepe Reina.

The Reds outshot Stoke City 15-3, but neither side could muster more than one shot on target.

Liverpool, who dominated possession 69-31, had their best chance in Dirk Kuyt, who started the match playing as a lone striker. A cross from substitute Craig Bellamy was deflected to Kuyt who had an open header 7 yards out go wide of Sorensen’s post.

Three minutes later, Martin Skrtel had a header bounce over the crossbar. Skrtel’s head was textbook. Coming off a corner, he headed down and towards the corner of the goal, but the pace on the ball gave it too much bounce.

With that said, a draw was the proper result. While Liverpool had 15 shots compared to Stoke’s three, it seemed the Reds were incapable of breaking down a Stoke side that came to Anfield just to defend and grab a point. The team looked uncomfortable with Dalglish’s tactics and never really created a clear-cut chance.

Man of the Match: Martin Skrtel. It’s really a toss-up between Skrtel, Glen Johnson and Sebastian Coates for the honors, all of whom played well. Skrtel played a great through ball for Charlie Adam, was solid defensively, and was close to scoring the winner, so he gets my vote.

Needs to do better: Just about everyone. It’s these kind of games that final league position is decided upon. To come out so flat and lethargic is simply not good enough, especially at Anfield.

Side note: In the league this season, Liverpool have had 26 shots against Stoke, compared to the Potters’ 5 against Liverpool in Premier League play. Yet, the final aggregate score is 1-0 to Stoke in the league.


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