Stoke 1-2 Liverpool: Coutinho, Firmino launch comeback
- Goal each for Coutinho, Firmino
- Stoke led 1-0 through Walters
- Liverpool move on to 63 points
- Stoke winless in four
Liverpool launched a steely second half comeback at the bet365 Stadium to keep their Premier League top four hopes on track
Jonathan Walters have Stoke the lead just before the break but two half time subs changed the game for Liverpool with Philippe Coutinho equalizing and Roberto Firmino scoring a stunning volley to win it for Liverpool, their first away win of 2017.
With the victory Jurgen Klopp’s side move to 63 points, nine points clear of fifth-place Arsenal, while Stoke remain on 36 points.
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Stoke started well with Xherdan Shaqiri having the ball in the back of the net but he was offside, then Glen Johnson surged forward but couldn’t get his cross right and Erik Pieters had a shot well blocked as Liverpool struggled to get going.
The chances kept coming for the Potters too.
Stoke continued to push forward before half time as Arnautovic was set free over the top but slammed his effort into the side-netting at the near post as half of the stadium thought he’d scored. Liverpool barely got forward in a woeful first half for the Reds as the Potters pinned them back.
7 - Jonathan Walters has scored seven times versus Liverpool in the Premier League, more than against any other side. Habit.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 8, 2017
Then a moment of real controversy arrived as Ben Woodburn went down in the box under a challenge from Pieters but no penalty was awarded and then Stoke took the lead moments later.
Shaqiri skipped past a tackle and clipped the ball into an unmarked Walters who nodded home at the near post. 1-0 to Stoke and Klopp was misery personified on the sidelines as both Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan were caught out.
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At half time both Coutinho and Firmino came on for Liverpool, replacing youngsters Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn, and Klopp’s changes paid off. Big time.
After the break Dejan Lovren hit the crossbar with a header, while Stoke should have scored through Charlie Adam by Simon Mignolet denied him superbly.
Liverpool pushed hard to get back into the game but Stoke looked dangerous on the break and were calling for a red card for Klavan who hauled down Shaqiri but no second yellow card was handed to him.
Coutinho recovered from sickness and jumped off the bench to turn the game as he equalized with just under 20 minutes to go. Liverpool smelt blood in the water.
Less than two minutes later Georginio Wijnaldum’s superb long ball forward found Firmino and the substitute smashed home an unstoppable volley to turn the games on its head and make it 2-1 to
Moments later Mignolet pulled off a superb stop as Arnautovic whipped in a cross from the left which Berahino connected with at the back post but Liverpool’s Belgian goalkeeper clawed the ball away brilliantly.
Liverpool held on for the win as Klopp and his players celebrated a major comeback and a major step towards a top four finish.