Liverpool move back second with drubbing of Stoke at Anfield

Date published: Tuesday 27th December 2016 7:09

Roberto Firmino: Stars for Liverpool

Liverpool moved back second in the Premier League, overturning an early deficit to hammer Stoke City 4-1 at Anfield on Tuesday evening.

Jonathan Walters made early pressure count for Stoke as he headed home from inside the area to give the Potters an early lead.

Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino scored before the break to turn the scoreline around at make it 2-1 to Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Liverpool added to their lead in the second half as Giannelli Imbula turned into his own net from Divock Origi’s cross.

Daniel Sturridge bagged his first Premier League goal of the season to make it 4-1 with just under 20 minutes left.

Liverpool have scored 86 league goals in 2016, their most in a calendar year since 1989, and have 40 points from their opening 18 matches for only the second time in the Premier League era.

Their ability to score at home – half of their eight Anfield league matches have produced four goals or more – is why this weekend’s visit of City is so highly anticipated.

However, Klopp had warned the Stoke fixture – sandwiched between the Merseyside derby and City – was not to be under-estimated and boyhood Everton fan Walters’ sixth league goal in 12 appearances against the Reds proved that.

 

Ominous signs

Jurgen Klopp: Not happy with Liverpool defending

Stoke’s record at Anfield is the worst in the Premier League, having not won in 1959 and scored only two goals since 1983, but Walters set about changing that as he nipped in front of Dejan Lovren to catch Simon Mignolet unawares with a near-post header which the goalkeeper got a hand to but could not keep out.

Mignolet did much better when former Reds midfielder Joe Allen created space for himself inside the penalty area, the Belgium international parrying the shot far enough away from the waiting Peter Crouch.

That was the signal for Liverpool to come out of their post-Christmas slumber with Crouch clearing Firmino’s shot off the line but there was no-one to fall back on when Lallana, via a deflection from another ex-Red Glen Johnson, swept home from the narrowest of angles.

Firmino, who was charged with drink-driving on Christmas Eve, added the second a minute before the break via both posts having blazed over a good chance while Mane, who had tormented Bruno Martins Indi for the first goal, scuffed a shot wide of the upright.

Mane played a part in Liverpool’s third on the hour, if only to put Imbula under pressure, but it was Jordan Henderson’s pass inside Johnson to feed Origi which created the chance.

Sturridge’s arrival with 20 minutes ago produced the fourth when Ryan Shawcross sent a blind backpass straight to the England striker, who confidently rounded goalkeeper Lee Grant before netting.

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