Liverpool’s penultimate game of the year is at home vs Stoke City on Tuesday 27th of December at 5:15PM.
“Could he do it on rainy Tuesday night in Stoke?” This was a constant saying in the Premier League over the last few years. Not an insult towards Stoke or anything of the sort, it examplified the true proving ground for any player who thought was World Class as Stoke was a notorious place to play at. This is not neccesaarily the case anymore as Stoke have become much more grounded in their playing style but Stoke are still very much a hard place to play at or generally play against. Unlike the last installment of this series, this fixture yields positive reading for Liverpool fans.
The last game Stoke played at Anfield resulted in a 4-1 loss for them with Moreno, Sturridge and an Origi double sinking the Potters after Bojan gave them hope with an equaliser. Moreno gave Liverpool the lead after some quick thinking from a James Milner freekick left the Spaniard in acres of space to fly one into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Bojan gave Stoke hope with a header after some shoddy defending from the Reds. Sturrdige ensured that Liverpool went into halftime with a lead as he scored from an Ojo cross. Origi added salt to the wounds as he struck with a double that should have been a Hattrick if all chances had been put away. Liverpool leapfrogged Stoke in the table thanks to this result at the time.
WEMBLEY! Liverpool reached the Wembley Final in the Capital One Cup with a Penalty win over Stoke in January of 2016. Stoke actually won the game after full time with Arnautovic scoring in the 45+1 min in first half added time. Besides Arnautovic’s strike, the game was pretty quiet. The entertainment came in the form of a Penalty Shoot Out. 14 penalties were taken with Stoke missing their final and wee Joe Allen scoring the winning Penalty to send the Reds to Wembley.
The game prior to the one above was the first leg of the Capital One Cup Semi Final. Played in Stoke, Liverpool took the lead with a sweeping move which culminated with Ibe scoring past Butland. This game was one that Liverpool relied on the counter attack heavily and it worked in the end. Stoke pressured Liverpool constantly but to no avail. Liverpool took the lead in the Semi Final but, as you read above, lost the battle but won the war in the end.
Again, what was looking like a guaranteed 0-0 draw and with Coutinho looking out of place on the pitch, just before his number was to pulled up for him to substituted, he hits a Thunderbolt into the top corner of Butland’s goal. A magician with his party trick. Nothing could be simpler really. What is now a common occurrence was something spectacular at the time and saved the blushes of then manager Brendan Rodgers after what happened 3 months earlier in Steven Gerrard’s last game for the club…
Gerrard’s final game. Gerrard’s final goal. Gerrard’s final loss as Liverpool Captain and it was 6-1 loss at the hands of Stoke City. Stoke were 5-0 up at half time. There isn’t really anything to add on top of this to be honest. Credit to Stoke because they came to do a job and they did it. Liverpool just made it really easy for them to do. Goals from Diouf (2), Walters, Adam and Nzonzi gave the Potters the 5-0 lead before Gerrard added his final swansong for his beloved Reds with a typical bursting run and bottom corner finish. Peter Crouch added the 6th for Stoke. Lets move on to better news…
In the Worthington Cup, Liverpool strolled into the Quarter Final’s with a thumping 0-8 win over Stoke. A hattrick by Robbie Fowler and goals from Zeige, Smicer, Babbel, Hyppia and Murphy rounded off an easy day for the Reds. This was not the Stoke that is known today, but where Stoke were a struggling 2nd division side and where Liverpool were regulars in the upper echelon of European Football. The gulf in class between the two clubs was evident from the outset and was cemented when the route was completed via Fowler’s Hattrick goal in the 85th min.