I apologize for the delay. Due to the delay in airing this game, I didn't get to watch it from my DVR until last night.
That was awesome; we Stoked Stoke (and they did not like it one bit). I loved that we matched them in physical play and Lee Probert (the ref) had a fantastic game, consistently letting it go both ways. This was a great win to pull out and one we probably deserved based on the run of play. After Sorenson's first fantastic save on Suarez, it left me wondering if another keeper was going to have the night of his life against us. However, I was nervous for a while that I was going to end up with a case of deja vu, outplaying Stoke at the Britannia and still losing. Thankfully, that didn't happen again.
The ratings after the poll:
Reina - 6 - A little suspect on a couple of balls played in, but overall a solid performance. I really can't remember a save worth noting that he made.
Agger - 8 - What is it about Scandinavians and long throw-ins (John Arne Riise, Morten Gamst Pedersen and apparently Daniel Agger)? Is there some sort of recessive Norse gene pased down through the generations? I had no idea he had this in him. While he is no Delap, he did put some long throws into dangerous spots. I thought he was great up and down the left flank and provided good width while still defending well. Very good game for him.
Coates - 6 - It probably should be lower because that was an awful mistake that led directly to the goal. However, I thought he had a decent game aside from that. He was solid in the air and didn't allow himself to get pushed around. Should have earned a penalty.
Carragher - 6 - YOU ARE NOT A KEEPER JAIME! It was a comical handball. He was doing well before he was subbed at half. I hope it isn't due to injury.
Kelly - 7 - He is really looking good. There were a few balls that went astray, but he provided all the width down the right flank while never really ever being caught out. Good game.
Maxi - 5 - I know many of you are going to disagree with this, but he was pretty much anonymous. His passes were inaccurate and on the few occasions he did play a good ball, someone was usually offside. I just don't see where he fits in. We should have sold him over summer when his value was as high as it was going to get.
Spearing - 7 - Wee Jay Spearing did very well to cope with the physical nature of Stoke's play. This was quite surprising given his diminutive stature. I like him in there. I would like to see him play when Lucas needs a rest.
Lucas - 7 - Together with Spearing they seemed to be in total control of the center of midfield. It is amazing how far he has come.
Henderson - 6 - Started brightly, but faded. His cross did make the winner. In the begininning he seemed to be involved in everything. By the 25' he had faded and in general stayed that way for most of the game. He and Kelly never seemed to link up much on the flanks, leaving Kelly to provide all the width.
Carroll - 7 - He faded in the latter portions of the second half, but this is what I had been waiting so long to see from him. He hustled non-stop. He came back and got the ball, he flicked the ball on for Suarez and sometimes Maxi, he defended the aerial balls (throw ins and corners well); it was great to see. Should have scored on 3 great chances, but overall it was a good display.
Suarez - 10 - Is there anything he can't do? Does he ever have a bad game? What a fantastic goal his first was. He is simply amazing. He has been labeled a diver, but stayed on his feet when he easily could have gone down and gotten a penalty. Perhaps he should have taken a tumble.
Skrtel - 7 - Came on for Carragher at halftime and did well with Coates to cope with Stoke's throws and crosses.
Bellamy - 7 - Lively introduction. Nearly scored shortly after coming on. He could be the super sub.
Kuyt - N/A - Little cameo. Not much time to do anything.
Good game for Carroll. I hope he can build on this. We finally eeked out a victory, something we had been unable to do over the last few games. This will go a long way to get Liverpool out of their scoring slump (although again they are quite good at hitting the woodwork).