Saturday, September 10, 2011

Live Thoughts: Stoke vs Liverpool (Premier League)

After two weeks of internationals we're back with Liverpool on this site. I've done a lot of live thoughts recently, for both Liverpool and England. It's a lot of fun actually, I enjoy doing it. And it gives me more to talk about football wise on this site, because the other three topics I also talk about (music, games and wrestling) have far more content on here. So we all win (I hope!)

So yeah, we'll be hoping for three more points against Stoke today, to keep the pressure on both the Manchester clubs for as long as possible. Let's hope we can match our previous performances before the international break, as there's always the risk we won't.

So will the two new boys start today, Craig Bellamy and Sebastian Coates? We'll have to see. Gerrard won't be involved unfortunately, but next weeks looks optimistic.

Here are the teams:

Stoke: Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Walters, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shotton, Whelan, Palacios, Jones, Jerome.

Stoke are stronger now than they ever been in their latest run in the Premier League, and at home they'll be difficult. But if we continue our form from two weeks ago we should be able to get three points.

Liverpool: Reina, Skrtel, Agger, Carragher, Enrique, Henderson, Downing, Lucas, Adam, Suarez, Kuyt. Subs: Doni, Johnson, Coates, Maxi, Spearing, Carroll, Bellamy.

Hmm... interesting line up in the back with Enrique rumoured to be on the right and Skrtel on the left. We'll see after kick off what happens. Still Carroll is on the bench, but our attacking force was great in our last match with Kuyt, Suarez and Downing so long may it continue.

3' - Suarez with a decent effort with a header from a Charlie Adam cross.

6' - We're causing some problems early on which is great, it's what we want to do away from home more often.

8' - Foul on Peter Crouch by Martin Skrtel, who is playing at right back from what I can tell.

9' - Carragher is bleeding. He's taken off but comes back on shortly. 

12' - The game has slowed down slightly due to the injury on Carra.

13' - Etherington takes a shot that Reina comfortably saves.

16' - Liverpool corner. It's our second so far. We cause a bit of menace in the box that ends with Kuyt taking a shot that goes for a throw in. Good play. 

19' - Penalty! Stoke have a penalty! It was Jamie Carragher. He tugs 
Jon Walters down in the penalty box. He does it all the time frustratingly. Right decision.

20' - GOAL! Jon Walters takes the penalty comfortably down the middle of the box. We're one behind.

22' - They're showing the replay over and over again and
there's a possible claim that Walters put pressure on Carragher first, but the fact that Carra tugged him down is unjustified. I'm an unbiased Liverpool fan and I'm not going to say Stoke didn't deserve the penalty. They did. It was against the run of play though.

24' - Suarez! Lovely block by Ryan Shawcross. That was a real chance. Made from Henderson on the right flank and crosses it to Suarez on the left of the penalty box.

25' - Possession is 50%/50% at the moment. It feels it too, both sides have made decent chances.

26' - Yeah it's Enrique on the left and Skrtel on the right. I'm still not sure about Skrtel being on the side of the defence, I'd rather Carra persevere and just do it for a few games.

29' - Stoke starting to take control now. There was some lovely movement outside our box by Walters, Pennant and Crouch. They didn't break through however. 

32' - Nothing really to report at the moment. Things have calmed down again.

33' - The crowd are preparing for a Rory Delap throw in a dangerous area. Nothing comes of it. 

34' - Skrtel! Over the bar. Lovely movement from Kuyt and Suarez who have combined nicely a few times today, but Skrtel hits it over the bar and falls over. He looks okay though.

36' - Matthew Ethertington is down. It was the Skrtel shot. He tackled Skrtel while he was shooting and they must have clipped somehow. He's been arguably their best player today so far. 

38' - Charlie Adam whips a lovely cross to Jose Enrique who apparently hand balls for a foul. He protests and gets a talking to. The Stoke fans boo as he doesn't get yellow carded. 

40' - We're trying to score before half time now and Suarez is trying really hard to break the defence.

43' - Shawcross! Just over. Walters earns a corner for Stoke and Shawcross almost scores.

45' - Two minutes of added time.

45+2' - Full time. We're still in this game but Stoke have held their own quite well today and are 1-0 up. They're not going to make it easy for us to equalise, never mind win. We need to be more inventive in the second half, not that we haven't looked good, but their strength have matched our ability that's all. Fingers crossed for a better performance second half.

46' - Difficult start to the second half so far. We have the ball but we can barely get into their half of the pitch. Not good. 

49' - Same as above really at the moment, apart from we're slowly getting more in their half. There's a lot of throw ins at the moment. No progress.

50' - Corner for Stoke. We finally started to break through their defence then they get the ball and storm through for a counter attack. 

51' - Nothing comes of it and we attempt a counter attack but the ball from Adam to Suarez was just too long and it goes for a throw in.

52' - A bit better by Liverpool now. We're moving the ball a lot better. 

55' - The possession is still predominantly in our favour but we're just finding it difficult to penetrate past Stoke. Very little has happened. 

57' - That was good then. Adam cuts the ball to the left wing where Enrique storms down. He whips in a cross to Suarez but he can't control it and it's a goal kick. 

59' - Foul by Henderson. That was a little nasty, although it didn't look intentional. Free kick to Stoke from around 45 yards, slightly to the left. 

61' - HENDERSON AND ADAM! FIVE shots between them! Henderson counter attacked the free kick and was free to storm down the pitch, he tries to score past Begovic, and again, and again. It goes to Adam who tries twice himself. Absolutely incredible defending by Begovic, by the third or fourth shots the defenders block the shots. Amazing.

62' - The game has just been ripped open now, we're not letting those misses phase us, we're bombing forward with purpose now.

63' - Henderson in space... he skies it. Literally. The Stoke defender started to close him down and it put him off.

64' - Stoke Sub: Robert Huth is off for Wilkinson.

65' - Adam from long range... not sure if that was a cross or a shot as Suarez was there. Begovic saves comfortably anyway. 

67' - Double Liverpool Sub: Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy come on for Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson. Bellamy on his second debut for the club. 

68' - Stoke Sub: Kenwyne Jones comes on for Matthew Etherington.

68' - Crouch! Blocked by Carragher and Reina saves. I don't think he's scored against us since he left, which is good obviously. 

69' - Downing! Saved by Begovic. A cross from the left and Downing from the right with a clean header. 

70' - Stoke Sub: Rory Delap for Wilson Palacios. That's all three Stoke subs used now. 

71' - Bellamy seems to be playing on the left wing and Downing has gone to the right. 

74' - Downing and Suarez combine in the middle of the pitch into the box but there's just too many bodies for Suarez to get a shot.

75' - We're definitely on top at the moment, but with no goal to show for it. 

75' - Corner. We're dancing around the Stoke players but we just can't score! Kudos to Stoke though, they have defended for 75 minutes perfectly so far.

76' - The corner has been delayed as Jon Walters has gone down with cramp. 

77' - Now the corner needs be retaken due to interference in the box. The second corner leads to nothing. 

78' - Suarez looking slightly tired now but he runs on and takes a relatively wild shot that goes only just wide. It was a decent effort in the end. 

80' - The match has stopped again as Wilkinson has a bleeding nose.

80' - Liverpool Sub: Martin Skrtel comes off and Glen Johnson comes on. It's nice to see Johnson come back from injury. 

83' - Corner. Downing whips a cross from the right for Suarez but Shawcross heads it for a corner.

83' - Downing! Over the bar. His shot was from the corner of the right hand side of the box.

86' - So much pressure on Stoke's defence, they keep kicking it for a throw in. Not long left. 

87' - Bellamy! Side netting. Downing crosses deep again and Bellamy heads it cleanly into the side netting. 

88' - The match got a bit hot for a moment with a few players from both sides arguing. 

90' - Corner. Suarez and Downing combine very well again and earn us a corner. Adam's corner misses everyone. 

90+1' - There was an appeal for handball by Suarez. When he hit the shot in the box before the corner it appears to hit Matthew Upson's hand. I think deflection more than anything though. FIVE minutes of stoppage time.

90+2' - The ball goes to Begovic and Lucas runs into him with minimum contact as he's trying to slow down. Begovic goes down like a sack of spuds. Pathetic. 

90+3' - Suarez! What a miss. Begovic clears the ball badly with his fist and Suarez hits the ball wide of the post. 

90+5' - Full time.

My thoughts? For ninety five minutes Stoke defended world class today. They were absolutely solid in the back throughout the match. We did everything we could to score today. Could we have done better? Well not scoring suggests so. But Liverpool played with some swagger today, not as much as a couple of weeks ago, but it was still a decent attacking performance, particularly the second half. But it was Stoke today. They were excellent. That five shots at goal in 15 seconds was the story of the game for me. They just were absolutely boss. They will be hard to beat this season, especially at home. Unfortunately we have lost our first match of the season now. And it's a reality check for those Liverpool fans who think we can go all the way to win the league. I don't think we're good enough. But let's try to concentrate on making sure we can pick ourselves up from this defeat, we did play quite well. Fingers crossed it can be a small blip and we can continue to play well, and get some results. That's all from me. Take care.

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