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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Liverpool come back from early goal shock to score 4 against Stoke

Liverpool 4-1 Stoke City: Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge strike to sustain Reds' title challenge after shock Jon Walters opening goal


  • Jon Walters nodded home at the far post after climbing highest to send Stoke City into a surprise lead 

  • But Adam Lallana capitalised on a mistake by former Liverpool player Glen Johnson to level the scores 

  • Roberto Firmino's clever shot then rebounded off both posts before trickling into the back of the net

  • Giannelli Imbula unfortunately turned Divock Origi's low cross into the back of his own net after half-time

  • Daniel Sturridge latched onto a wayward back pass before rounding Lee Grant and slotting into an open net 
Gareth Southgate was in Anfield's posh seats. So, too, were a raft of club legends. It was a night when everyone wanted to watch Liverpool, particularly one man in a long coat and Baker Boy hat.
Pep Guardiola tried to make himself inconspicuous when he arrived on Merseyside to conduct a scouting mission. He was caught by television cameras before kick-off, smiling and shaking hands, looking every inch a man without a care in the world.
When the time came for him to head home, Guardiola would have departed with a headache induced by the countless riddles he knows he must solve. Liverpool eviscerated Stoke on Tuesday night to leave Manchester City's manager under no illusions about the task that awaits on Saturday. 
Liverpool's players celebrate after Daniel Sturridge's goal with his first effort secured victory at Anfield on Tuesday evening
Liverpool's players celebrate after Daniel Sturridge's goal with his first effort secured victory at Anfield on Tuesday evening
Sturridge rounded goalkeeper Lee Grant in the Stoke goal after receiving the ball following a loose pass by Ryan Shawcross
Sturridge rounded goalkeeper Lee Grant in the Stoke goal after receiving the ball following a loose pass by Ryan Shawcross
Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino completed Liverpool's first-half turnaround in the 44th minute with a clever finish
Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino completed Liverpool's first-half turnaround in the 44th minute with a clever finish
Firmino struck both posts with his shot before it travelled into the back of the Stoke City net on Tuesday evening
Firmino struck both posts with his shot before it travelled into the back of the Stoke City net on Tuesday evening
Giannelli Imbula turned Divock Origi's low cross into the back of his own net to put Liverpool into a 3-1 lead after half-time
Giannelli Imbula turned Divock Origi's low cross into the back of his own net to put Liverpool into a 3-1 lead after half-time
Adam Lallana levelled the scores for Liverpool in the first-half after the home side went behind against Stoke City
Adam Lallana levelled the scores for Liverpool in the first-half after the home side went behind against Stoke City
Lallana slotted the ball past Stoke City goalkeeper Lee Grant from a tight angle after a Glen Johnson mistake
Lallana slotted the ball past Stoke City goalkeeper Lee Grant from a tight angle after a Glen Johnson mistake
Boyhood Everton supporter Jon Walters celebrates after opening the scoring against Liverpool at Anfield
Boyhood Everton supporter Jon Walters celebrates after opening the scoring against Liverpool at Anfield

PLAYER RATINGS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE 

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3) Mignolet 6.5: Clyne 7, Lovren 6.5, Klavan 7, Milner 7.5: Wijnaldum 7.5, Henderson 7.5, Lallana 7 (Can 69mins 6): Mane 7, Origi 7 (Sturridge 69mins 7), Firmino 8(Moreno 78mins)
Subs not used: Karius (GK), Moreno, Lucas, Ejaria, Woodburn
Goals: Lallana 34, Firmino 44, Imbula OG 59, Sturridge 70
STOKE (3-4-2-1) Grant 6: Johnson 5.5, Shawcross 5, Martins Indi 5: Diouf 6, Whelan 5 (Sohbi 67mins 5), Imbula 6, PIeters 6: Allen 7.5, Walters 7: Crouch 6.5 (Bony 84mins)
Subs not used: Given (GK), Bony, Afellay, Adam, Shaquiri, Bojan, Sobhi
Goals: Walters (12)
Booked: Allen
Referee – Michael Oliver 7
Attendance – 53,094
Man-of-the-Match – Roberto Firmino 
Liverpool were imperious, overcoming a disjointed start to eventually run amok. They scored four goals for the seventh time this season, taking their tally for the calendar year in the Premier League to 86, and cutting Chelsea's lead at the top to six points.
This had the potential to be a difficult contest but, by the final whistle, Jurgen Klopp's biggest issue was keeping warm on a bitter evening after Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge – as well as an own goal from Gianni Imbula – put Stoke to the sword.
Stoke have moved on from those primitive days when they were set up to frustrate and destroy, an eleven man battering ram that did the basics and looked to turn games into wars of attrition. This squad Hughes has moulded can play with sophistication.
Hughes, though, is no fool. There are no secrets about Liverpool's desire to play high up the pitch and a way to get the better of those tactics is by playing over the top. It was no shock, then, to see both Peter Crouch and Jon Walters in from the start.
Joe Allen looks to impress on his return to Anfield after his former side Liverpool sold him to Stoke City in the summer
Joe Allen looks to impress on his return to Anfield after his former side Liverpool sold him to Stoke City in the summer
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) watches on with a grimace on his face during Tuesday night's game against Stoke
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) watches on with a grimace on his face during Tuesday night's game against Stoke
Walters battles for the ball with Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan - the burly striker would strike for Stoke moments later
Walters battles for the ball with Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan - the burly striker would strike for Stoke moments later
The Republic of Ireland striker rose highest at the back post and beat Dejan Lovren to the ball before heading home
The Republic of Ireland striker rose highest at the back post and beat Dejan Lovren to the ball before heading home
Walters celebrates enthusiastically after putting Stoke into a shock lead during Tuesday's late Premier League game
Walters celebrates enthusiastically after putting Stoke into a shock lead during Tuesday's late Premier League game
England midfielder Lallana slots home at Anfield after capitalising on a mistake by former Liverpool defender Johnson
England midfielder Lallana slots home at Anfield after capitalising on a mistake by former Liverpool defender Johnson

And for the first 20 minutes Liverpool had big issues with the plan Hughes had concocted. Stoke were aggressive, they swarmed and buzzed around red shirts and pestered them to the point of distraction, leaving Klopp a screeching, gesticulating figure of frustration.
Deservedly the visitors took the lead. In the 12th minute, Sadio Mane failed to deal with a bouncing ball and Erik Pieters zipped in to take it away, fizzing in a left-footed cross that allowed Walters to flash a header beyond Simon Mignolet.
It was the first time Mignolet had been beaten since replacing Loris Karius in goal yet if there was a feeling he should have done better, he quickly made amends when sticking out a leg to deny Joe Allen – so impressive on his return to the place he used to call home – a certain second.
Had Allen's angled shot – which came after flummoxed Dejan Lovren by pushing the ball around him – sneaked into the far corner, Liverpool would have had serious issues. So flat were the crowd and so laboured were the team, you could have seen the hosts folding.
It was a big moment. Allen knew it, as he ran his hands over his hair. Mignolet knew it, as he blew out his cheeks and thanked Ragnar Klavan for clearing Walters' follow up. Hughes knew it too, as he jammed his hands in his trouser pockets and turned the air blue.
'I felt we were very much in the game,' Hughes grumbled. 'We are disappointed because individual and collective errors have cost us.'
Once Liverpool had been let off the hook, they summoned the kind of riposte that teams with designs on a title challenge often muster. 
The answer they produced to the question asked of them was as emphatic as it was attractive.
Gradually Liverpool began to play. Soon they became the pests, their slick passing enabling the creative souls of Firmino, Mane and Lallana to pull the strings and pull Stoke's defence out of shape. 
There was no panicking, just a simple, unshakable belief they would get back into the contest. 
Goalscorers Lallana and Firmino embrace after their quick fire double puts Liverpool into the lead ahead of half-time
Goalscorers Lallana and Firmino embrace after their quick fire double puts Liverpool into the lead ahead of half-time
Stoke manager Hughes watches on in dismay as his side surrender their one-goal lead during the first-half at Anfield
Stoke manager Hughes watches on in dismay as his side surrender their one-goal lead during the first-half at Anfield
Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard watches on from the stands with a smile on his face as his former side go into the lead
Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard watches on from the stands with a smile on his face as his former side go into the lead
Stoke striker Peter Crouch accidentally pulls out the corner flag during the action in the Premier League on Tuesday
Stoke striker Peter Crouch accidentally pulls out the corner flag during the action in the Premier League on Tuesday
The former Liverpool striker then replaced the corner flag in its original position to the enjoyment of the watching fans
The former Liverpool striker then replaced the corner flag in its original position to the enjoyment of the watching fans
It got even better for Liverpool as Stoke's Imbula was forced into turning Origi's cross into the back of his own net
It got even better for Liverpool as Stoke's Imbula was forced into turning Origi's cross into the back of his own net
Liverpool's comfortable lead meant Klopp was able to send substitute Sturridge on for Origi in the 70th minute
Liverpool's comfortable lead meant Klopp was able to send substitute Sturridge on for Origi in the 70th minute

The equaliser arrived in the 34th minute, Lallana threading a precise finish into the Kop net after Divock Origi and Mane had lacerated Stoke's defence and forced Glen Johnson to inadvertently tee up the England international six yards from goal.
Lallana didn't wait to celebrate, he simply beckoned his team-mates back to the centre circle. Liverpool were ready to build up a head of steam and just before the interval, they had their lead as Firmino crashed a left-footed drive past Grant that bounced off both posts before crossing the line.
There are occasions when the interval can disrupt a team's momentum but Liverpool emerged to start with a similar tempo and, just before the hour, the one way traffic brought the goal that effectively clinched the game.
Jordan Henderson was the heart, showing poise to set Origi galloping into the area and his cross was so dangerous that Imbula could only put through his own net under pressure from Mane, who was waiting to apply the finish. 
And Sturridge scored with his first effort after a wayward back pass before celebrating in his trademark style
And Sturridge scored with his first effort after a wayward back pass before celebrating in his trademark style
Sturridge only had to beat goalkeeper Grant before firing into an empty Stoke net to extend Liverpool's lead even further
Sturridge only had to beat goalkeeper Grant before firing into an empty Stoke net to extend Liverpool's lead even further
Job done but there was still time for one more, Daniel Sturridge ending a run of 656 minutes without a Premier League goal when he waltzed around Grant after latching on to an appalling back pass from Ryan Shawcross 56 seconds after coming on as a substitute.
'I've not had many gifts like that for a while so I can consider that a gift,' said Sturridge, his eyes twinkling. 'But it's important to take that chance. We never give up and we keep going throughout the game. We are very resilient.'
Guardiola will have noticed that. He will have noticed plenty of other things, too. Klopp tried to make light about his old foe's presence – 'maybe he just wanted to watch a game?' – but, privately, he will recognise the significance.
If Liverpool were no threat, Guardiola would have stayed at home. That he took a ticket tells what he thinks about the challenge emerging from the banks of the Mersey.  
Stoke City's players are left dejected by Liverpool's fourth goal of the game - the encounter started so well for the visitors
Stoke City's players are left dejected by Liverpool's fourth goal of the game - the encounter started so well for the visitors


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4068990/Liverpool-4-1-Stoke-City-Adam-Lallana-Roberto-Firmino-Daniel-Sturridge-strike-sustain-Reds-title-challenge-shock-Jon-Walters-opening-goal.html#ixzz4U6VPUGC8
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