Philippe Coutinho’s screamer of a goal in the 86th minute helped Liverpool seal a 1-0 win over a formidable Stoke City side in the first match of the season.
Liverpool secured a sweet revenge over Stoke City as they managed to gain a narrow win at the Britania Stadium. Stoke had beaten Liverpool 6-1 in the last game of the previous season.
It was a match characterised by lack of chances created by either sides. Brendan Rodgers had fielded 4 out of his 7 new recruits. Christian Benteke started upfront and James Milner accompanied Jordan Henderson in the central midfield. Nathaniel Clyne and youngster Joe Gomez featured in either of the wing back positions.
Benteke looked uncomfortable throughout the game as he did not manage to create a positive chance for himself, even though he was there at the ground for enitre 90 minutes.
Jordan Ibe started on the right flank who is considered to be replacement of outgoing star winger Raheem Sterling. Ibe did a commendable job but he has to improve his temperament on the field.
Liverpool dominated the proceedings in the first half but was never convincing in their approach. Stoke City on the hand were firm in their defending and mostly concentrated on counter-attacks. Their newest recruit Ibrahim Afellay stated the game.
Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson was also among Stoke City’s starting XI. Johnson came close to score against his former team in the first half but his shot lacked zeal.
Liverpool’s second half performance was more or less a shadow of their previous half. Brendan Rodgers fielded defensive midfielder Emre Can in the second half replacing Adam Lallana. New signing Roberto Firmino also featured in the game at around the 80th minute mark.
Finally the dead-lock was broken in the 86th minute when Brazilian Philippe Coutinho single-handedly dribbled past two defenders and sent a screamer of a shot which entered through top corner. It was blinder from Coutinho which sealed the fate of the match in Liverpool’s favour.
Liverpool starts their campaign on a high as they successfully register 3 points in their very first match. The new team needs to gel properly and quickly. The Reds have a good squad who are worthy of finishing among the top 4.