Sadly, Stoke don't look likely to be relegated any time soon, and this torture chamber of a trip is something we're just going to have to get right at some point. At the moment, we're 0 for 4.
Liverpool's four league games have taken on the exact same patter (save Arsenal slightly), where they start out brightly and are taking it to whoever is on the opposite side. From there, it breaks one of two ways depending on if they get the early goal or not. They didn't on Saturday, and from there is was attempting a jewel heist surrounded by the cops and armed guards. You may get out of there, but it's going to be extremely difficult. And with the way Stoke bunkered in, it couldn't be managed, despite some ridiculously glorious chances.
-First the penalty. While Mark Clattenburg isn't a favorite of the Red support, and despite whatever Kenny Dalglish may say, the award wasn't a crime. Yes, it would tilt to the soft side of the spectrum, but when you're beaten to the ball and throw your arm out, you're pretty much asking for it. Of greater concern is that Jamie Carragher was once again on the donkey end of one of these decisions, as he was so often at the beginning of last year. One goof is not a trend, but the chance that there could be more coming is frightening. A second season of consistently being beaten or in the wrong spot would signal more than just a dip in form.
-While it's easy to point to the possession stats and shot stats as signs of Liverpool's domination, outside of that Henderson-Adam flurry and Suarez's chance at the end, how many tough saves did Begovic really have to make? With that much of the ball, Liverpool need to be cutting open more glorious chances.
-And part of the reason they didn't create those was that we saw the bad side of Charlie Adam (there's an image). Too ambitious with far too much of his passing, Adam eschewed the simple ball for a killer through ball that simply wasn't there far too often. While I've certainly warmed up to Adam, this won't be the last side to dig a couple trenches in and around their 18-yard box, and his patience is going to have to be upped when that happens. He wouldn't have seen this much when wearing tangerine, he will in red.
-That being said, we'd be far happier if Jordan Henderson didn't have 38 hours to think about scoring when clean through from the halfway line. How you have the entire target to shoot at and choose right at the goalkeeper is beyond me, but this was clearly a case of thinking about it too much. Pretty sure if he buries that, Liverpool would have relaxed and found a winner soon after. Hopefully the confidence from opening his Liverpool account hasn't been eroded, although it might not matter with The Captain itching for a return next week.
-I was pretty surprised to see Skrtel once again at right back, which didn't give Liverpool much down that wing, but considering Johnson was only a sub and Kelly's physical condition, there may not have been another choice.
-Anytime now, Mr. Carroll.....
So there, the first loss is in the books at a ground where a lot of teams come unstuck. Next up is a Spurs side that isn't quite the mess they were a couple weeks ago, but one that still looks pretty ripe for the taking. We know that they won't just defend, if Harry could even spell that word. A win at White Hart, not an easy task, would mean a haul of 10 from five games. I think we'd take that.