Select a Team

Barclays Premier League

Britannia Stadium (ATT 27,247) 16th January 2010 - Kick off 12:45 Ref: L Mason

Stoke Stoke City vs Liverpool Liverpool

Stoke 1

R Huth (90)


Liverpool 1

S Kyrgiakos (57)

Potters pile pressure on Rafa

Huth's late leveller compounds Benitez's misery

Last Updated: 16/01/10 5:57pm

  • Share:
Huth: Late leveller

Huth: Late leveller

Liverpool's miserable week continued at Stoke as Robert Huth snatched a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Man of the match: Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Won everything in the air and looked to have done enough to seal the points for Liverpool. Goal of the match: Danny Higginbotham did brilliantly to turn the ball back into the path of Robert Huth as Stoke stole a point late on. Miss of the match: Dirk Kuyt was presented with an open goal in the dying seconds, but somehow managed to hit the post. Moment of the match: Liverpool looked crestfallen after Huth levelled and they could struggle to lift themselves for a crunch clash against Tottenham in midweek. Talking point: Will Rafa Benitez still be around by the time the Reds welcome Spurs to Anfield? If so, will that game decide his fate?

A tame encounter at the Britannia Stadium saw the Reds offer a lacklustre response to their midweek cup exit to Reading, and Sotirios Kyrgiakos' opener never really looked like being enough to settle their nerves.

Benitez, wary of the axe edging towards his neck, set out with defence at the forefront of his mind, while Stoke's starting XI was littered with combative talent.

That did little to help the entertainment value, with the first half devoid of attacking endeavour.

Lucas felt he was deserving of a penalty after tumbling under a challenge from Danny Higginbotham, but all he got for his troubles was a yellow card as both sides struggled to create openings in the final third.

The second period also started in cagey fashion, with the desire to avoid defeat outweighing the drive to secure a win.

Liverpool, though, edged ahead after 57 minutes when Thomas Sorensen failed to deal with a Fabio Aurelio free-kick from the right and Kyrgiakos bundled the ball into the back of the net from close range.

It would not be enough, as Higginbotham towered above the Reds' defence to nod a floated corner back across goal in the last minute of normal time and Huth was on hand to poke home.

Dirk Kuyt should have won the game for the visitors with virtually the last touch of the game, but he somehow hit the woodwork when presented with a free header six yards out.


This game was all about Benitez's future. His club are at an all-time low and the vultures are demanding his head.

Liverpool needed to do something to arrest an alarming plunge in form, with the manager and the club's status on the line.

Stoke fans were holding up giant P45s aimed at Benitez as this crucial game started, with Liverpool's fans belting out 'You'll Never Walk Alone' in open defiance of the position their team have got themselves into.

But Liverpool are a nerve-racked team these days, and that showed when Aurelio had the chance to send Javier Mascherano away on his own but tried a ridiculous 40-yard attempt to expose an out-of-position Sorensen that sailed miles wide.

Liverpool struggled against Rory Delap's long throws from the start, Jose Reina failing to get a positive punch on them, while at the other end the raw David Ngog was being left on his own in an uneven battle with Stoke's giant defenders.

Lucas had two efforts blocked from the edge of the box, but too much of Liverpool's possession was wasted with woeful passing.

Stoke, though, always looked dangerous when the ball was in the air, or at Tuncay's feet.

Stoke lost Delap with a groin strain, Liam Lawrence sprinting into the action, and a minute later Abdoulaye Faye also went off with a recurrence of a back problem to be replaced by Andy Wilkinson.

The half's only real flashpoint came when Liverpool had Lucas booked by referee Lee Mason for diving in the box, although replays suggested he was caught by Higginbotham's challenge.

But without their star men, and way short on confidence, Liverpool's attempts to play a passing game constantly disintegrated against a combative Stoke.

The Potters' renowned long ball game is always likely to be successful against any team in such a state and Liverpool constantly looked stretched under the barrage.


Stoke started the second period intent on taking control, and Lawrence saw a 20-yard free-kick deflected wide.

But then Liverpool took a leaf from Stoke's book, going ahead from a free-kick after 57 minutes.

Aurelio curled the ball towards the near post and Sorensen did not gather cleanly under pressure from Kyrgiakos, the Greek defender getting the final touch on the line to score his first goal for the club.

Stoke responded when Tuncay nodded over after Ryan Shawcross flicked on a Salif Diao throw.

Stoke replaced Mamady Sidibe with Ricardo Fuller after 66 minutes to freshen up their attack.

Diao was booked for dissent before Fuller tested Reina with a flicked header at the near post after 75 minutes.

Liverpool then sent on new boy Maxi Rodriguez for his first taste of English football after 78 minutes in place of Philipp Degen.

Stoke hurled their big men forward for every corner and Liverpool were forced into desperate defence at times, with Martin Skrtel and Kyrgiakos giving everything.

Liverpool brought on Alberto Aquilani for Ngog after 87 minutes, Stoke piling on the pressure now with constant, dangerous set-plays.

And eventually Liverpool cracked. Matthew Etherington's corner was headed back across goal in the 89th minute for Huth to score from close range.

Reina was booked for time wasting but Kuyt's near miss almost provided a final dramatic twist in injury time.

Stoke CityTeam StatisticsLiverpool
01st Half Goals0
2Shots on Target1
3Shots off Target5
4Blocked Shots2
1Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
61.4Passing Success60.7
72.7Tackles Success68
50.4Territorial Advantage49.6

  • Share:



Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 38 87
2 Manchester City 38 79
3 Arsenal 38 75
4 Manchester United 38 70
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 64
6 Liverpool 38 62
7 Southampton 38 60
8 Swansea City 38 56
9 Stoke City 38 54
10 Crystal Palace 38 48
11 Everton 38 47
12 West Ham United 38 47
13 West Bromwich Albion 38 44
14 Leicester City 38 41
15 Newcastle United 38 39
16 Sunderland 38 38
17 Aston Villa 38 38
18 Hull City 38 35
19 Burnley 38 33
20 Queens Park Rangers 38 30