Liverpool 1-0 Stoke – Mignolet Rescues Reds

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Simon Mignolet earned his place in the hearts of Liverpool supporters early in his career at Anfield with a last gasp penalty save on the opening day of the 2013-2014 Premier League season against Stoke City. Indeed it was a familiar story for the home supporters as Liverpool dominated the majority of the game and almost paid the price for not putting the game away early on.

Brendan Rodgers’ men were by far the better side all game long and created enough chances to win two games. Koulo Toure and Jordan Henderson both hit the woodwork. Philippe Coutinho looked every bit as good as he did last season, being his ever creative self with precise through balls and intelligent movement. Diego Aspas also caught the eye with some great support play up front with Daniel Sturridge. Lucas Leiva also deserves a mention for a performance which saw him look like the Lucas of old, winning tackles, intercepting passes and breaking up opposition attacks.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Overall Liverpool looked comfortable against a physical Stoke City for the most part. Whenever a set piece is delivered into the Liverpool area it is still hearts in mouths time and there must be a concern amongst the Liverpool coaching staff as to how vulnerable the reds are against a good delivery.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Liverpool’s first goal of the new season arrived after good work from Henderson as he pulled the ball back for Sturridge from twenty yards out and the Liverpool striker let fly into the bottom corner. A dominant performance was almost ruined by a handball from Daniel Agger two minutes from time. Luckily for the Dane,  Mignolet saved Jonathan Walters penalty low to his right side and also the follow-up from Kenwyne Jones as he reacted instantaneously.

Picture courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

A good start to the season after an encouraging first game. Plenty of positive signs as to how Rodgers has his team playing but stiffer tasks lay ahead. If the club can hold onto Luis Suarez for one more season and also add someone of quality much like the Brazilian winger Willian who is currently touted as a possible target then Liverpool will challenge for a top four place. If not Liverpool will once again find themselves among the also rans in sixth or seventh position.

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet – 8
  • 02 Johnson – 7
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 6
  • 04 Toure (Booked) – 7
  • 05 Agger – 6
  • 08 Gerrard – 7
  • 09 Aspas – 7 (Sterling – 72′ )
  • 10 Coutinho – 8
  • 14 Henderson – 7
  • 21 Lucas – 8
  • 15 Sturridge – 7

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 06 Alberto
  • 24 Allen
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Ibe
  • 29 Borini

Stoke City

  • 01 Begovic – 10
  • 03 Pieters – 6
  • 04 Huth – 6
  • 17 Shawcross – 7
  • 20 Cameron – 6
  • 06 Whelan – 7(Adam – 63′ )
  • 12 Wilson – 6
  • 15 Nzonzi – 6 (Booked)
  • 19 Walters – 7
  • 25 Crouch – 6 (Jones – 81′ )
  • 26 Etherington  – 6 (Pennant – 63′ ) 5

Substitutes

  • 29 Sorensen
  • 05 Muniesa
  • 28 Wilkinson
  • 07 Pennant
  • 16 Adam
  • 09 Jones
  • 33 Jerome
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 44,822
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