Liverpool were dismantled 6-1 by Stoke City on Sunday afternoon, but Steven Gerrard did at least score on his final appearance for the club. Brendan Rodgers’ job must really be on the line now.
Stoke City 6-1 Liverpool
Premier League – Britannia Stadium – Sunday, 24th May 2015
Goals: Gerrard (70); Diouf (22 & 26), Walters (30), Adam (41), N’Zonzi (45), (Crouch 86)
Brendan Rodgers made three changes to the side that lost 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace, in what was Steven Gerrard’s final game for Liverpool.
Mamadou Sakho made a pleasing return from injury after a prolonged spell on the sidelines, and he came into the team along with Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen.
Dejan Lovren, Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling all missed out, with the latter clearly dropped after another controversial week surrounding his future.
It was a rather aimless first 15 minutes to the game from both sides, with plenty of stray passes and an overall lack of quality.
Adam Lallana almost bent a terrific finish into the corner in the 19th minute, but it was Stoke who were ahead shortly after.
Simon Mignolet failed to deal with Charlie Adam’s shot, and Mame Biram Diouf tapped into an empty net with ease. Diouf doubled the Potters’ lead after 25 minutes, rifling a shot past Mignolet and into the roof of the net. Liverpool were in disarray.
It was 3-0 on the half hour mark. Jon Walters scored at the second attempt from close-range, following a shocking piece of defensive play by Emre Can.
Four minutes before half-time it was 4-0, as Adam finished clinically after an error by Lucas, and Steven N’Zonzi incredibly added a fifth seconds before the break. It had been a first-half performance beyond description by the Reds, and Rodgers had an unbelievable amount of explaining to do.
Ibe and Kolo Toure replaced the ineffective Alberto Moreno and woeful Can at the interval, as Liverpool tried to give their fans something to shout about in the final 45 minutes of the season.
Asmir Begovic denied deny Lallana after 63 minutes, and a beleaguered Gerrard curled a shot over, but it was virtually all the Reds could muster in the opening 20 minutes of the second-half. The game was a complete non-event by this point.
Gerrard had his moment of glory midway through the second-half though. Substitute Rickie Lambert’s flick-on found the captain, who finished coolly past Begovic. It was a lovely moment on an otherwise shocking day.
Peter Crouch compounded Liverpool’s misery with an 86th-minute strike, as Liverpool’s 2014/15 campaign ended in disgraceful fashion. Is that the end of the road for Rodgers?
Liverpool: Mignolet, Can (Toure ’46), Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno (Ibe ’46), Lucas, Allen (Lambert ’69), Henderson, Gerrard, Lallana, Coutinho.
Subs not used: Ward, Lovren, Sterling, Markovic.
Stoke City starting XI: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters, N’Zonzi, Whelan, Walters, Adam, Arnautovic, Diouf.
Referee: Anthony Taylor