This was exactly the match most would have expected at Stoke. It was very physical, very frantically played and very painful and frustrating to watch if you weren't a neutral. However, three points will never be scoffed at and this was just what the Reds needed. In addition, it was probably a preview for the type of game we'll see in a couple of weeks in the most important Derby in ages.
The scoring started with a shot by Cissokho which, while struck well, was heading far wide of the net. However, the power with which he stuck it helped it ricochet like Lindsey Lohan's car off of a guardrail and into the Stoke net. The next goal wasn't much better as Suarez, in typical insatiable style, chased down a Skrtel clearance and watched Stoke's defense turn into a two man circus as the tried to clear the ball. Suarez pounced and sloppiness continued.
It looked like Liverpool would be able to ride out the rest of the game, but this was Stoke and that feeling they weren't going away was always lingering. Liverpool fell asleep on a corner and were punished by former Red, and definition of lanky, Peter Crouch. It didn't take long until Liverpool were punished again by one of their formers as Charlie Adam lashed the ball home after a turnover by Henderson in the midfield. It was one of those trademark shots from distance that always went into row Z when he played for Liverpool.
Rodgers had to be fuming as Liverpool went in the locker room at the half as Sterling was adjudged to have been fouled after more sloppy play by the Stoke defense sent him in on another counter. It was a very soft penalty, but a penalty nonetheless. Stevie stepped up and did what Stevie does. Suarez then notched his second 20 minutes later after some brilliant play between himself and Sturridge. Sturridge slyly poked the ball to Suarez who curled it just inside the far post.
However, Stoke would not go away as Walters squeeked the ball between Toure's legs and past a handcuffed Mignolet. Sturridge took his turn next after a brilliant ball by Suarez, forcing an incredible save from Butland. However, he was not to be denied as he pounced on the rebound and slotted it home. Luckily that was it, but Stoke nearly got another in injury time with Crouch putting one off the post.
This match was horrible. It showed Liverpool have a lot of drive and grit, but it also exposed Liverpool's defense for what it is, average at best. This game frayed my nerves and left me pulling my hair out. I really just want to get this article over and forget Stoke every happened.
-Sturridge's penalty was very soft. Let's just leave it at that.
-Suarez has now scored as many or more goals than 9 of the teams in the EPL.
-Skrtel is a ticking time bomb back there. How he gets away with his style of play is beyond me.
-Pulis is gone, but Stoke is Stoke. I really didn't want Sturridge coming back in the match for that reason. Luckily it all worked out.
-Crouchy didn't celebrate his goal. He is a class act who was really done wrong by Benitez. Adam on the other hand, does he like poker? What was that celebration?
-If Liverpool can't solve their defensive issues, they will not make 4th place. Either tactics or the transfer window need to be used to fix this.
-Gerrard looked good in his more defensive role. Unfotunately, if he is playing that far back it would be nice to have a more attacking second midfielder than Lucas. Not that Lucas was bad.
-Can't rest on their laurels, Villa is next and then an FA Cup match before the Derby. Liverpool need to take it one game at a time.