Liverpool incredible Champions League run affected their Premier League form last week when they gave up a 2-0 lead against bottom-placed West Brom and had to settle with one point on the road. However, they had a crucial home outing this afternoon against the last but bottom side Stoke City at Anfield and needed to win the game to ensure a finish within ‘top four’. But the occasion proved to be another tough afternoon for the Reds who could not find the net and the game eventually ended scorelessly after the final whistle.
Paul Lambert, the newly appointed Stoke City boss, had a brilliant record against Liverpool as he never lost a game at Anfield ( 3W 2D) but went through a tough contest this afternoon. Mohamed Salah missed a glorious opportunity in early minutes whereas Trent Alexander-Arnold failed to beat Jack Butland one-on-one. The Potters needed three points to constitute a late escape but opted to defend deep and went for one point from the game.
An injury-riddled Liverpool side looked sloppy during the most of the game as Jurgen Klopp was forced to field his players in alternate roles changing the formation in order to keep themselves fit and fine for midweek’s crucial Champions League semi-final tie versus Roma at Stadio Olimpico. Danny Ings decent finished was rightly ruled out for off-side but a late controversial decision from the referee ruined Liverpool’s hope of clinching a victory. Georginio Wijnaldum’s cross was deliberately handled by Eric Pieters inside the 8 yards box yet referee Andre Marriner ruled out a penalty appeal. Stoke had one glorious opportunity at the other end but Ryan Shawcross failed to direct Mame Diouf’s cross inside an empty net. The game, hence, ended in a futile 0-0 draw and Liverpool now must ensure a win against Brighton & Hove Albion in their final fixture of the league campaign unless in-form Chelsea drop points in remaining outings including next weekend tie versus Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Stoke boss Lambert, meanwhile, maintains his unbeaten record at Anfield but sents his side further closer to a relegation.
Liverpool vs Stoke City Lineups:
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold (James Milner 65′), Georginio Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings (Nathaniel Clyne 65′).
Stoke City: Jack Butland, Kurt Zouma, Ryan Shawcross, Bruno Martins Indi (Ramadan Sobhi 52′), Erik Pieters, Xherdan Shaqiri, Joe Allen, Badou Ndiaye, Moritz Bauer, Peter Crouch (Darren Fletcher 65′), Mame Biram Diouf
Liverpool vs Stoke City Highlights:
Liverpool vs Stoke City Match Stats:
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