Date: 2nd February 2011 at 7:30pm
Written by:

Hello everyone.  I’m Benjamin Neumann, and I’ll be watching the Stoke match with you today.  Any comments or questions can be posted below in the comments section or emailed to me at:

ourkoplive@gmail.com

Feedback is welcome also, I’m thinking this is our first mbm.  I’d be glad to know what you think, and to talk about the game some as well.

If you like this and are interested in more of it, let us know and we’ll see what we can figure out for everyone. =)

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I don’t think there is any question after this performance that the ship has been if not completely righted then at least stopped from taking on any more water.  We’re bailing it out as fast as we possibly can it seems, with this our most impressive performance yet under King Kenny.  We created more than half a dozen clear cut chances while keeping a fairly easy clean sheet at the other end.  I’d have to check but I’d imagine it’s been some time since we kept three consecutive in the league.

As far as I’m concerned Sunday can’t come soon enough, and I’m predicting 2-0 LFC at the bridge in front of the Plastic Fans and their Plastic Man.

The full minute by minute can be found after the jump.

Full-Time : Suarez tries to find Shelvey in the box unselfishly in the final attack of the match as the whistle blows on a well deserved Liverpool victory.

90 min + 2 : Stoke seem as anxious as we do for the final whistle, these final few moments are but a formality as Liverpool will move to within 2 points of Sunderland for 6th place.  Three consecutive wins have moved us right up the table.

89 min : Liverpool seem the more interested in adding to the scoresheet, even with a 2-0 advantage here at Anfield.  What a change that marks from the Hodgson era of scoring and falling so far back as to beg the other side to put in an equalizer.  We have become more aggressive and more pressing as our success here tonight has grown.  Confidence abounds as Pepe claims another tame cross and we move into stoppage time.

87 min : Kuyt does well in the box again to find Shelvey, who makes a few moves and forces to keeper to put it over the bar.  The youngster moves over ot take the coerner and does well with it.  It comes out to Gerrard, who volleys just over the crossbar for a goal kick.  Beautiful technique, and almost a wonder goal from the captain.

85 min:  Both sides seem to have accepted the inevitability of a 2-0 scoreline as neither seems to bothered to get forward.  I honestly don’t know who this Liverpool side is compared to the disgusting performance it put in at the Britannia.  This is almost the collective first breath for LFC and its supporters following the stench of H&G’s ownership, which never really left us as long as Fernando was here sulking about what has happened to us.  You don’t sulk, you keep a clean sheet first and foremost, then work on getting the ball in the back of the net.  We’re moving past our misfortune and playing some good football.

83 min : Kelly with a nice cross to the far post, but no one in the vicinity.  Another fine game from young Martin.  I don’t think we need to worry about the right back position for some time to come.

82 min : Anfield is in full voice now, as the three points appear in the bag.  It’d be nice to see us keep focus and yet another clean sheet for these final 8 minutes.

80 min : Immediately from the kick off, Stoke goes down and fashions their fiercest shot from Collins on the Liverpool goal but a nice save from Pepe, and the danger is past.

79 min : 2-0 GOAL LUIS SUAREZ!!!!  He finds himself alone with the keeper on a nice through ball, rounds him and leaves the shot short allowing the Stoke defender to catch up and try to clear but it’s a scuffed clearance and ends up in the back of the net.

78 min : Suarez with a nice challenge on Delap to a roar from the Kop.

77 min : First stray touch from Suarez in traffic, both sides clear it back and forth a couple times with no real progress made.  Finally it ends up in the hands of Reina, no harm done.  A win seems to be on the cards if this state of affairs keeps up, no real urgency to come out yet from Stoke but I’d be surprised not to see that change and soon with just over 12 minutes to play in normal time.

75 min : Shelvey in, Meireles out  Another great game for Raul, who does look a bit knackered to be fair.  He’s run himself out for the team today, classy performance with a goal to boot.

74 min : Gerrard to Suarez, who lays it over with a neat little pull back around his pivot foot and unfortunately it comes off Skrtel in the end.  Beautiful touches so far from the Uruguayan without being in any sort of unusual situation.  The normal appears to be poetic in the first few minutes for the young striker.

73 min : Collins crosses well for Stoke but no one can get on the end of it.  Quickly up to Suarez, and wide to Kelly. The cross is deflected out for a Liverpool corner.  It comes in towards no one in particular and is cleared without much fuss.

71 min : Suarez juggles it a bit and lays it off to Gerrard, who is brought down by Delap on the edge of the box for a free kick.  Gerrard puts it over, not really troubling the keeper at all.

70 min : Pennant down the right again, the only difference is this time the cross is even worse and into the back of the net.  There’s a familiar sight at Anfield, though I’ve always felt it’s a bit of a shame Jermaine is such a diva and doesn’t seem to ever be going to reach his potential.

68 min : Fuller’s first touch goes into yep….touch but we return it to Stoke immediately who put it into the box with Carew but his headed ball can’t be controlled by anyone and we clear it up to Suarez.  Beautiful first time lay off by Luis to Kuyt.  Over to Meireles though, who gives it away and we’re back at a standstill back and forth.  Pennant drives down the right but crosses straight to Reina.

66 min : Fuller in, Wilson out  Stoke is still hoping to find Carew on the end of a long ball cleared down the pitch as we see a couple of those efforts.  The staleness of the attack isn’t lost on Tony Pulis, as he then brings in Ricardo Fuller to replace Marc Wilson.

64 min : Gerrard rolls it up the sideline for Suarez, Faye clears it away for Stoke but seems to have pulled his hamstring in the process.  He indicates to the physio that he is coming off, we’ll be waiting a moment for Danny Collins to replace him.

63 min : Suarez on, Aurelio off Our new no. 7 Luis Suarez enters the game to a standing ovation as our new era kicks off in earnest.  I can’t wait to get a look at him.

62 min : Suarez pulls on his top in front of the crowd for the first time as he too now prepares to come on.

61 min : Delap on, Diao off

60 min : 1-0 seems an acceptable scoreline to the home side at the moment, as they seem content to try and draw Stoke out before committing a major effort forward.  Rory Delap takes off his track suit for Stoke and starts preparing to enter the game.  Carew and Pennant work it down the sideline and make a chance for Carew but he puts it a whisker wide.  Best chance for Stoke.

59 min : Liverpool slow things down a bit after a stoke cross that is cleared by Aurelio, pinging it around the back line before they give it away and John Carew finds himself in space.  Nothing comes of it as Carew allows himself to be closed down and back to the pinging.

57 min : Headed on target weakly by Carew, that may be the first attempt on goal just about for Stoke.  It was a tame effort and handled easily by Pepe who immediately get it upfield as usual in an attempt to catch Stoke out a bit.

56 min : Aimless passing as the crowd continues to celebrate the goal and the performance here in the past 20 minutes of the match.  Glen Johnson picks up a yellow card for carelessly plowing into the face of a Stoke player.

53 min : Another corner for Liverpool, another poor ball from Gerrard.  Pennant breaks for Stoke and Kelly runs him down and dispossesses him.  Well done by the young right back, who has done nothing but impress ever since Kenny has brought him into the team.  It’s been a bit curious he hasn’t seen more time on the pitch before.

52 min : Beautiful stepover by Meireles leads to a corner as Johnson has it tackled away hard.  The corner itself is very underwhelming and dribbles out for a goal kick.  I’ve never been sold on Stevie G taking them for us, if only to have his heading in the box.

51 min : The ball has gone back to the aimless pacing about it was used to in the first half hour of the match before Gerrard gains possession and breaks forward.  He hits the deck and loses possession cheaply. Another hard foul on Agger, another yellow card this time for John Carew.  Liverpool may be a bit unlucky not to have the advantage payed.

49 min : Deflected off the wall and two other players in the box before it fell into the Portuguese midfielder’s path.  Terrific finish with power into the back of the net. He is really coming into his own in the Red shirt, and is starting to look a proper EPL starting XI player.

47 min : GOAL!  Terrific run from Agger ends as he’s brought down hard by Diao, who gets a yellow for his trouble.  Gerrard lines up the free kick about 30 yards out and…..deflected into the box and Meireles scores 90 seconds into the half!

Start of the 2nd half : Suarez still on the bench for now as both sides complete their warm ups and ready for the kick off.

Half-Time : Nothing really of note in the one minute of stoppage time and we’re scoreless at the half.  Liverpool really came to life in the last 5-10 minutes, the introduction of Suarez should only add to that feeling of inevitability that has crept into Anfield.  It’s been some time since I can remember really feeling that we will score, we will win, This Is Anfield etc.  King Kenny has us on the right path, let’s see if we can take the next step or two in the second half.  After the way Stoke slapped us around under Roy, this is a miraculous recovery.  Why oh why wouldn’t H&G appoint him in the summer is my feeling atm.

45 min : Kuyt with a chance again right in front! Straight at the keeper and saved.  He really should have found the back of the net by now.  He’s done a wonderful job tonight getting into good positions but that’s not enough for the three points.

43 min : Meireles plays it wide to Johnson, who drives past a defender before losing possession.  Gerrard wins it back in midfield and Stoke drop even deeper into defense as halftime approaches.  Will the goal come?

42 min : Two footed challenge from Huth on Kelly produces a yellow card and perhaps should have been a bit more.  I’ll say that a yellow might be fair enough, as it didn’t seem malicious to me.  Very clumsy though.  Gerrard puts the free kick into the box and it’s batted around before bouncing in front of Kuyt 5 yards from goal.  He doesn’t get a touch on it and the keeper collects.

39 min : Gerrard is unselfish and chests down to Meireles, who touches to Kuyt who tips it around a defender all in a 4-5 sec whirlwind of possession in front of the Stoke goal.  Kuyt puts wide again and yet another clear chance has gone.  It could easily be 2-0 Liverpool in the past few moments.

38 min : The commentator suggests Kenny may have sent the lad out for exactly the reason I described, listlessness in the building.  If so, well done to the manager as it seems to have had some effect.

37 min : Ohhhhh, Johnson heads on target but a terrific save and we’re still scoreless. I can’t believe he didn’t score there.  Biggest save of the game so far, perhaps the only one.   Another cross is sent back in and Kuyt has a free header but puts just wide.  He really needed to test the keeper there.  Liverpool seems to have surged to life with the crowd merely from Luis standing up on the sidelines.  I hate to see what happens when he gets on the pitch.

36 min : Anfield seems a bit deflated after everything that’s gone on the past few days.  Just as I type that, Suarez takes to the sideline to stretch for the first time as a Liverpool player and the support comes to life.

34 min : Longest sustained possession yet from Stoke but it merely pokes and prods and ends with a blasted ball closer to the touch line when it goes out of play.  So far this has been a real snoozer of a match, but it doesn’t have the feel of a 0-0 about it.

31 min : Pennant goes down easily and draws a foul 30-35 yards out to the right side of goal.  The story of the day prevails with 2 more Stoke crosses, make that 3 not finding any sort of meaningful destination.

29 min : Gerrard feels he was obstructed in the box, but he really didn’t have full possession of the ball. Liverpool win it back and send crosses in  from each side of the pitch but they find first a defender and then the hands of the keeper.

28 min : Whenever Lucas or Aurelio picks the ball up in the space ahead of our back four, they turn to find acres of space to drive into with the Stoke defense well set down the pitch waiting for them.  When not breaking, Stoke seem content to see what Carew can do up front on his own.

26 min : I’m really shocked to be honest by both sides’ willingness to drop their back lines so far down the pitch.  This is not the high pressing Liverpool we’ve seen for the past few weeks.  We’re showing Stoke a healthy amount of respect thus far, more than we showed to Wolves or Fulham to be sure.

24 min : Not much to report as both sides still seem to be a work in progress in terms of producing some quality in the final third.  Reina flubs a clearance into touch and looks around sheepishly as he retreats back into position.

22 min : Gerrard and Kelly tackle each other at the edge of the box. Stoke goes quickly to the other end and Carew heads wide of Pepe Reina’s goal.  Liverpool have seemed the more likely as they probe around the edges, but Stoke have showed a willingness to break when they have the chance so far.

21 min : Lucas floats one up to Kyrgiakos in the box, who nods down to Kuyt.  Dirk is forced wide and the chance is gone.

19 min : Good pass by Gerrard to Johnson leads to a nice cross, but headed away firmly by Stoke for a corner.  Good corner right at the edge of the 6 yard box, but that too is dealt with by the Stoke defense.

17 min : Stoke are dropping deeper and deeper, encouraging Liverpool to come at them.  The Reds are poking it about nicely but with no real intent. Aurelio brings the possession to a close but after a few Stoke touches a game of head tennis breaks out.

15 min : Liverpool is really showing a desire to keep shape when in their half of the pitch.  They seem a bit more organized than I’ve seen in most of the matches this year.  A bit of hesitancy to go forward to far, but focus on the clean sheet is always a good thing, let’s see if it can be built upon as we continue.

14 min : Replays show a handball in the box by a Stoke defender but looked incidental to me.  Good no-call.

12 min : Shouts for handball from Liverpool are turned down, as the protest continued Skrtel found himself with the ball at the top of the box.  Panicking he puts well wide and not troubling the keeper.

11 min : Stoke with another set piece from the left for Pennant, almost a mirror image of the first.  Headed down by Kyrgiakos into Huth’s path for Stoke but he blasts into the stand.

9 min : We seem to be taking a page from the Hodgson tactical manuel with wayward crosses and punts into areas with no one in particular around to get on the end of them.  Replay shows the Stoke keeper was beaten on Kyrgiakos’s header but the defender was there to clear it away.

7 min : Kyrgiakos rises and heads it down, cleared away by Stoke.  Liverpool regain possession and are passing it around the back line.  Other than that one flash from Liverpool, still very much a feeling out process on both sides.

6 min : Liverpool ping it around a bit before putting it out for a goal kick.  Not a whole going on here at the start.  Gerrard has a sudden opportunity on the left hand side deflected out for a corner.

4 min : It seems to be Lucas and Aurelio holding is the difference from what I guessed at the start.  I’m minded of Fabio in midfield against Portsmouth either last year or the one before it.  He’s not bad in the role, but very limited going to his right.

2 min : Pennant swings in a free kick, headed away and around for a bit.

1 min :  Unfortunately, the American feed cut in at the 00:22 mark so I’ll be sorting the team.  Looks like Glen Johnson is back in the left back slot.

7:54pm GMT :  With Sunderland’s loss to Chelski yesterday we can cut their lead to 2 points for 6th place.  I know it’s not the place we’re looking for but one team at a time right?  Also Blackburn have been a bit of a wild card this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them snatch a point or three from Tottenham.

7:48pm GMT :  I’ve long liked the idea of Carra, Agger, and Skrtel as a back 3.  I’m a fan of three center backs in general then as long as one of them is a passable technical player such as Daniel is.  He is then able to bring the ball forward if necessary without leaving a gap needing to be filled that drastically by his teammates.  It adds another element to our ability to choose a point of attack.

7:43pm GMT :  This lineup takes me back to the formation I imagined Rafa playing had we actually bought Gareth Barry a few years back.  It was clear to me Robbie Keane was brought in to play behind the striker in a more free form role than what he ended up in.  Barry and Masch would have held while Dossena and Degen purely attacked from the wide areas with Keane right behind Torres along with Gerrard in a front three of sorts.  After Barry came in, this was never going to happen but Rick Parry forced through the Keane signing regardless that the tactical idea behind his purchase was now never going to come to fruition.

7:40pm GMT :  Interesting sort of lineup being presented here for Liverpool, 5 across the back with Glen Johnson as a right sided midfielder?  I’m curious to see if this is who we line up with, and also exactly how long into the second half we get before we see Suarez for the first time.

7:34pm GMT : via the BBC

  • 25 Reina
  • 02 G Johnson
  • 05 Agger
  • 06 Aurelio
  • 16 Kyrgiakos
  • 34 Kelly
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 04 Meireles
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 21 Lucas
  • 18 Kuyt

Substitutes

  • 42 Gulacsi,
  • 23 Carragher,
  • 17 Maxi,
  • 28 Poulsen,
  • 33 Shelvey,
  • 07 Suarez,
  • 24 Ngog

Stoke

  • 01 Begovic
  • 03 Higginbotham
  • 04 Huth
  • 25 Faye
  • 28 Wilkinson
  • 12 Wilson
  • 15 Diao
  • 16 Pennant
  • 18 Whitehead
  • 19 Walters
  • 22 Carew

Substitutes

  • 29 Sorensen,
  • 05 Collins,
  • 06 Whelan,
  • 24 Delap,
  • 26 Etherington,
  • 09 Jones,
  • 10 Fuller

7:29pm GMT :  Working on lineups, will have them up shortly.  Stoke are a physical team that really pushed us around the last time we met, it will be interesting to see if our newfound team spirit and tactical overhaul can overcome that physical deficit.