Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Live Thoughts: Stoke vs Liverpool (Carling Cup)

I wrote this live. Here are my unedited thoughts when Liverpool played Stoke in the Carling Cup.

Hey everyone, welcome to another one of my Live Thoughts feeds. I'm sorry I missed this weekend's action, I had family over and was occupied all day. I'm not going to be covering the weekend's action that's to come either, I'm away from Saturday to Thursday with an important trip. Where am I going? You'll find out in a few months.

Onto the football now. We were disappointing against Norwich on the weekend, and that combined with the fact that we only lost to Stoke a few weeks ago in this stadium suggests there's doubts about the outcome today. All I say is, we were on decent form not too long ago, and I personally think we're a better team than Stoke, no disrespect to them. Yes they are a very tough nut to crack, especially at home, but we can do it. Keep the faith!

Here are today's lineups: 

Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Woodgate, Wilson, Shotton, Delap, Whelan, Etherington, Jones, Walters. Subs: Nash, Diao, Pennant, Upson, Crouch, Jerome, Palacios.

It's a strong lineup, especially in defence. It's not going to be easy and Jon Walters is turning into a decent player recently. Crouch, Pennant and Palacios on the bench also shows some strength in depth for Stoke. It's still a team we can beat though, if we play our game right. 

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Agger, Henderson, Lucas, Spearing, Maxi, Suarez, Carroll. Subs: Doni, Aurelio, Kuyt, Adam, Skrtel, Flanagan, Bellamy.

Who's playing at left back? Carragher? Agger? Kelly? If Kelly is playing left does that mean Carra is playing right? We'll find out soon. I think it's Kelly on the left and Agger on the right. That confusion aside, having Suarez and Carroll up front from the start is great. As much as Carroll is getting a lot of stick recently, I still want and hope that Suarez and Carroll can be a perfect match up front for Liverpool. There's no reason why they shouldn't. Let's give them our support today and hope they both have a great game!

2' - Agger is playing at left back. It's the best option I think, I still don't understand why we don't play Flanagan or Aurelio instead though.

3' - We're playing the better football at the moment. Some early pressure without any threat at the moment. 

5' - The commentator comments on us taking the Carling Cup seriously this season. We have and it's really refreshing. 

6' - Walters! That was close. He drives the ball form the corner of the left side of the penalty box and it dips just over the right side of the bar. 

8' - Suarez! Should have done better. Carroll takes a shot from distance and Thomas Sorensen  palms it low and it comes to Suarez but he shoots wide. He had more time than he thought.

9' - Walters again! Wide. There's a bit of frenzy in the Liverpool box and it ends with Walters on the left side of the penalty box and he shoots it wide. Very lively opening this match on both sides!

12' - Some good passing from Liverpool in the centre of the pitch. We're playing the better football now but it can still go either way based on the attempts so far. 

15' - An opening for Liverpool and we counter attack, Stoke only have two players back but Carroll couldn't control the ball in the box and it dissolves. Shame. 

17' - Carroll! A low header bounces of the ground and it goes straight to Sorensen. 

20' - Yellow card for Carragher. He fouls Etherington and walks off in a huff. 

23' - The game has slowed down a little now. We're still playing a little better than Stoke, but you just can't rule them out. Not after last time. 

25' - Carroll! Saved. A neat bit of football ends in Maxi Rodiguez being surrounded by Stoke players and he shoots, it ricochets off one of the players into the path of Carroll who shoots low and it's saved by Sorensen again.

28' - Kenwyne Jones has gone down and it looks like he's going to have to be replaced. 

29' - I tell a lie, I think he's staying on. 

31' - Tensions are rising as both teams claim fowls for separate incidents.

34' - Stoke celebrate as they head the ball into the net but the whistle blew for a foul in our box. Thank god. 

36' - Kelly! Good shot but saved. Some good attacking football all over the pitch, it ends with Kelly who takes his chance from a good 35 yards out, a low drive to the bottom right but Sorensen gets to it. 

39' - Stoke keep giving the ball away in midfield but we're just not capitalising at all. 

41' - Ryan Shawcross gets a yellow card for a tackle on Suarez.

42' - This match is very similar to the previous match at the Britannia. I don't like that feeling.

44' - GOAL! Kenwyne Jones has scored. A sloppy interception, Coates loses possession and Jon Walters storms down the Stoke right wing and cuts it back and Kenwyne Jones heads it into the bottom right corner. Against the run of play arguably. Frustrating. 

45' - Two minutes of added time. 

45+2' - Half time.

It's been a good first half if you're an unbiased fan. As the match went on we made more and more chances and played better football than Stoke. Then we had the sucker punch at the end of the half. It's very similar to the match earlier in the season when we lost here. We played very well that day but couldn't score, they got a goal and we lost. I really hope this isn't going to be the same outcome.

I don't like being negative in general, especially when it comes to the younger players, but I really don't think Coates is ready for the first team yet. He always looks nervous and concedes too easily, it's disappointingly his fault we conceded that goal, he didn't control the ball and Walters intercepted with some ease. It wasn't good. I'm not going to say "sell Coates" or anything stupid, but I do think he should go to the reserves, build his confidence from the ground, get him used to how football is played in England and then give him some game time towards the end of the season. He's not ready for the first team at all unfortunately.

45' - Liverpool Sub: Martin Skrtel is coming on for Jamie Carragher. It must be because Carra is on a yellow card. I'd rather Coates go off but hey ho. 

48' - Am I being too harsh on Coates? Comment if I am. I try to give the younger players a chance and long term I reckon he'll be a great asset. It's just too soon I think. 

51' - Free kick in a dangerous area for Stoke. Around 25 yards out, central. Spearing is the culprit. 

53' - GOAL! Suarez! Belter! The free kick is dealt with and we slowly counter attack, it ends with Spearing crossing the ball to Suarez who is on the left wing, he goes to the corner of the penalty area and bends it round the defence and into the bottom right corner! Excellent! 

54' - Well we equalised. A quality goal too. We've done more than we did last time we were at the Britannia. That's good. Let's see if we can now get a second! 

55' - Glenn Whelan has been booked for Stoke. 

57' - I forgot to mention, the Stoke fans were starting to boo Suarez in the second half, his response is his fantastic curler. Great stuff. 

58' - Jermaine Pennant is coming on for Stoke. Glad to see he's finally got a club that he seems happy with, and them in return like him.

59' - Stoke Sub: Pennant comes on for Ryan Shotton. Like for like swap. 

62' - Pennant's best moment in a Liverpool shirt? This

63' - Stoke Sub: Another quick sub, Cameron Jerome comes on for Matthew Etherington. 

66' - Cameron Jerome will offer more presence up front for Stoke, and with no Carra and a Sebastian Coates who's very green, that could be dangerous for us. 

69' - We could have had a free kick but the ref played on and Carroll was on his own up front, he got pushed to the right wing and we didn't really take advantage of the situation. 

72' - I'd like to hope we can score a second, I'd rather us not go to extra time if we can avoid it. 

75' - Glenn Whelan knocks Spearing over and you can argue he could have been given a second yellow. He's still on the pitch for now. 

76' - Kuyt and Bellamy are warming up. A good move if you ask me. 

77' - Shawcross and Suarez have a few words and one of the other Stoke players moves Shawcross away. That's two games now where Suarez has a sparring partner. He likes to annoy the opposition doesn't he! Just for the record I doubt Suarez said anything racist last week. 

79' - Stoke are starting to pile some pressure. There's been a lot of Rory Delap throw ins the past five minutes. 

81' - Liverpool Sub: Craig Bellamy is coming on for Maxi Rodriguez. A very good move I say. Let's hope his pace and recent goal scoring touch can continue. 

83' - BELLAMY! Hit the post and out! So close! He sets up a layoff with Carroll and shoots low and it was so close! Sorensen was beat! 

84' - GOAL! Suarez! A brace! The ball is headed back to Henderson who whips in a lovely sharp cross from the right and it's a perfect header for Suarez from the left, straight into the net! Great stuff and it looks like we're in the quarter finals!

87' - Peter Crouch is about to come on. His best Liverpool moment? This.

87' - Stoke Sub: Kenwyne Jones is off and Crouch is on. All Stoke's subs are used.

87' - Liverpool Sub: Dirk Kuyt is coming on for the man of the match, Luis Suarez. Of course, he's taking his time to come off. Good times!

89' - There's a huge scramble in the Liverpool box and Crouch scores but he was offside. Very confusing then, so many bodies. 

90' - Four minutes of added time. Yellow card for Robert Huth. 

90+2' - Despite Stoke's dominance since the second goal, we have a moment of attacking football and both Agger and Kelly were high up the pitch. It was good but concerning due to the fact that we need to be careful for the next two mintes. 

90+3' - Nice to see Suarez having a laugh and joke on the subs bench. He usually sulks when he's taken off. I love that guy. 

90+4' - One last Rory Delap throw goes for a goal kick and it's full time!

We're in the quarter finals! All thanks to a certain Uruguayan menace! This is a great result, to go to Stoke, where we earlier lost a few weeks ago, and come back from behind. It's a fantastic result. Stoke played very well today for most of the match and gave us a game. We were definitely the better side though, and if it wasn't for that man, we wouldn't have won. Seven goals to his name now. Luis Suarez is turning into a new Kop hero and I'm so happy he's playing for us rather than against us. That's all from me, as I said, I won't be covering this weekend's game as I'm away, but I should be back the week after. Have a good night.

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