LFC 0-0 Stoke: Another home draw for Reds

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Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City
Premier League, Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Liverpool were held to their seventh home draw of the season by Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.

It was another highly frustrating afternoon at Anfield, with very few goalscoring opportunities – the home side recording just one shot on target during the 90 minutes, that being a tame effort from outside the box.

Perhaps most frustrating was the team selection of Kenny Dalglish, with the Reds boss opting for a five-man defence of Skrtel, Carragher and Coates with Johnson and Enrique as wing-backs.

That coupled with playing Dirk Kuyt, yet to score this season, up front on his own against an aerially dominant, physical Stoke back four.

Kuyt had the Reds best chance mid-way through the second half, but somehow headed wide from inside the six-yard box.

Stoke were happy to take the draw, sitting back and defending from the opening minute, but Liverpool lacked invention and couldn’t break them down.

Only the introduction of Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy gave any attacking intent, but it was too little too late, and with Enrique enduring his worst performance in a red shirt having only just recovered from a virus, it was a frustrating afternoon.

Liverpool had 11 corners but time and again failed to even beat the front man; whether it was Gerrard, Adam or Bellamy the delivery was poor more often than not. Just what happened to Charlie Adam’s incredible set-piece delivery?

Highlight of the match for Liverpool was Sami Hyypia’s half-time appearance. The former Red and Champions League winner was a guest of the club but he wouldn’t have seen any signs that his former club will be back in Europe’s top competition next season on this evidence.

At least in the previous draws at Anfield this season we’d witnessed amazing saves from visiting keepers, or having hit the woodwork numerous times. Sorensen didn’t make a single save and rarely did Liverpool threaten to force him into any other action than his time-wasting tactics which frequented the second half.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Coates, Enrique, Adam, Henderson (Bellamy 74), Gerrard, Downing (Carroll 58), Kuyt.
Subs not used: Doni, Aurelio, Kelly, Flanagan, Shelvey.

Stoke City: Sorensen, Woodgate (Wilkinson 78), Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Whelan, Delap, Palacios (Whitehead 62), Etherington (Fuller 87), Walters, Crouch.
Subs not used: Begovic, Pennant, Jones, Jerome.

Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 44, 691

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