Liverpool’s Samba subs sink Stoke City
Let’s be honest, we all saw the team sheet and wondered how we could record 1 point let alone all 3 against Stoke.
But it only took 126 seconds for the Brazilian pair to take Liverpool from 1-0 down to leading 2-1. However, unlike many times this season, midweek included, the defence held up as we came away with all three points.
- Woodburn third-youngest Red to make full Premier League debut.
- Walters opens the scoring during fraught first half.
- Klopp sends on Coutinho and Firmino in half-time shakeup.
- Coutinho equalises with tidy finish on 71 minutes.
- Firmino powers home to seal the three points away from home.
It was a difficult selection to make, clearly demonstrating the lack of depth we have, but also the trust Klopp has in Woodburm and Alexander-Arnold.
Fielding three at the back with Clyne and Alexander-Arnold providing the width in the absence of Coutinho and Mané. Milner also returned to his preferred position in central midfield.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Klavan, Matip, Lovren; Clyne, Alexander-Arnold; Milner, Can, Wijnaldum; Woodburn, Origi.
By half-time it looked like Klopp’s plan to give youth a chance had backfired as Stoke went in winning 1-0. Which, quite frankly could have easily been 2-0.
Walters was left totally unmarked to bury Shaqiri’s inch-perfect cross past Simon Mignolet.
It was only after the introduction of Brazilian duo Coutinho and Firmino at the start of the second half – in place of Woodburn and Alexander-Arnold – that Liverpool played like a team chasing a Champions League spot.
Coutinho immediately upped the level of skill on display, and if Firmino was fatigued prior to the game then he didn’t show it here. It took just 25 minutes for this extra firepower to show on the scoresheet, but when it finally did the turnaround was swift and comprehensive.
Coutinho, lurking on the edge of the area, was the thankful recipient of a poor clearance after Can had tried to find Daniel Sturridge. Coutinho blasted the ball into the bottom corner, retrieved it from the net and jogged back to his own half ready – he wanted the winner…!
Within moments Wijnaldum sent a ball over the top of the Stoke defence which was so good that Firmino didn’t even have to control it before lashing it into the net on the half volley.
Mignolet still had to produce a fine save to deny Berhaino, but Liverpool hung on to move nine points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, although the we’ve played three games more.
Coutinho has now scored more Premier League goals than any other Brazilian. Thanks to his and fellow Brazilian Firmino’s goals Liverpool look on track for a top four finish.
Two subs, two goals, two minutes and three vital points. Six games ago, Klopp challenged his team not to lose any of the final twelve. Still unbeaten we now go into the final 6 games knowing we are in control of our own destiny.