Stoke City vs Liverpool
Capital One Cup Semi Final first leg
5th. January 2015
It’s been a great season so far for Stoke City fans with strong victories coming against the so called big teams while playing open attractive flowing football.
False number 9s replace the Longthrow in the Period of Sparky Evolution at the club.
One thing is sadly lacking from both the managers and the clubs recent history is silverware. Stoke as we know went very close in 2012, Hughes has been here before as a club manager losing 3-2 on aggregate against his old club side Man Utd. while Blackburn manager.
Fast forward, press room at Stoke a City, 60 mins before kick. flicking through social media and see the headline “Reds have never lost a cup match to Stoke”, suddenly the haunting reminder of seeing the Old scoreboard at the Brit flash up Stoke City 0 Liverpool 9 ( yes it was only 8 but even the scorer lost count that night).
Screen flashes on in the build up to the game and up pops Klopp’s semi final record that is very impressive and includes an aggregate victory over some side called Real Madrid!
So the omens didn’t look to good, but this is the all new Stoke City. Here’s how the game panned out.
00.41 an early finger stinger for Butland as Liverpool try a long shot
1.32 first corner to LFC
2.01 Stoke don’t clear their lines and a second corner for LFC
3.50 All the early pressure comes from the men in black as Stoke struggle to get out of their own half and concede a thirds corner
6.21 Stoke get a throw in the LFC half
7.18 Butland pulls a fine one handed save, full stretch, from Lallana as he strikes from 30 yards
10.18 Stoke put a string of passes together but play is broken up by the high pressing game of Liverpool
14.42 Afellay has an attempt from 30 yards which is blocked, Liverpool break and it’s corner number 5.
16.49 Liverpool put the ball out for a Stoke throw as Coutinho falls to the floor clutching his hamstring. 2 minutes later he gets a cuddle from Klopp as he leaves the field to be replaced by Ibe.
26.03 Stoke get their first corner. Shaqiri finds Bojan unmarked but the Spaniard mis-kicks and the chance goes begging.
27.31 Ibe gets a shot on goal but Butland is there to keep it out.
29.36 Stoke raise their tempo as they try to break through Liverpool’s stalwart defence of 10 men behind the ball. Johnson dinks in a defence splitting cross but Arnoutovic fails to pluck the ball from chest height and sees it bounce away.
32.15 Lovren goes down while defending a Shaqiri run. He is accompanied off the pitch by the physio and replaced by Milner.
35.02 Ibe puts Liverpool 1-0 ahead after a break down their right sees the ball feed across to him leaving him comfortably to push it past Butland.
38.02 Arnoutovic goes close with a header on the edge of the 6 yard box flashes wide of Mignolet,
43.10 Afellay hits a speculative shot which deflects and loops to into Mignolet’s arms.
Just 3 minutes added time, that after 2 lengthy substitutes and a goal, has water got into referee Taylor’s watch?
Hughes and Klopp appear on the screen, both look soaked to the skin, one is livid, the other has the look of a merry German, make your own mind up which was which.
45.00 Johnson spurns a chance when his shot from the edge of the area is blocked.
Half Time Stoke. City 0 – 1 Liverpool
45.00 Walters replaces Cameron
52.10 Stoke pile on the pressure and it nearly pays off as a Shawcross shot looks to strike the hand of a defender.
57.36 Arnoutovic splits open the LFC defence with a 40 yard pass that falls a yard short of the on rushing Shaqiri.
59.48 Corner to Stoke after pressure from Walters.
61.26 Shaqiri aims a lob into the edge of the 6 yard box but Mignolet gets there first.
62.45 Liverpool fashion a chance on the edge of the Stoke area which is put 2 yards wide by Firmino.
65.10 Butland hits a route one kick up field which Arnoutovic is close to connecting with.
66.22 Stoke survive a tame penalty appeal as Clyne bounces off Arnoutovic in front of the Liverpool fans
68.20 Shaqiri spreads the ball from the centre of the field to find Walters deep on the wing, his cross finds Shawcross who gets under the ball to head over the bar.
69.00 Bojan leaves the field to be replaced by Joselu
72.14 Mignolet is booked for time wasting after several delayed goal kicks
73.10 A Shawcross back pass is cleared by Butland into the mid riff of Firmino which forces the Stoke keeper into a reaction save.
75.49 Joselu has a shot blocked by Clyne which loops and forces Mignolet to push the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner Joselu arrives late at the back post and narrowly misses the target.
78.04 Benteke replaces Allen
81.45 Shaqiri raises the noise levels as he goes on mazy run to the byline before his cross is extinguished by Toure’s dive to force it out from his chest.
82.43 Stoke improve their average height by a few inches as Shaqiri is replaced by Crouch.
86.41 Crouch makes his height pay to cause panic in the Liverpool back four as he forces a corner.
89.00 man of the match is announced as Arnoutovic and 3 minutes is added to the clock as injury time.
92.45 Walters latches onto a through ball but puts it wide
Stoke City 0-1 Liverpool
The omens seemed true as the run of Liverpool not losing to Stoke in a cup match continue, this is only part one and it seemed strange to see the Liverpool set up so defensively. I sense more opportunities at Anfield for Stoke in the return leg and who remembers the hoodoo of the Cardiff dressing room being broken by The Potters