Match report: Liverpool 0 Stoke City 0
STOKE CITY 0
STOKE were given a standing ovation by their travelling supporters after holding Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield this afternoon.
The Potters rarely looked in trouble, and even had the best chance of the game when Pepe Reina saved from Charlie Adam after just five minutes.
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Liverpool grew stronger as the game wore on, but Tony Pulis's well-organised side had few scares on their way to a point.
Pulis named the same side for the third successive game. `That meant former Liverpool players Adam and Peter Crouch lined up against their old club. However, another former Reds star, Michael Owen, was missing from the squad after picking up a slight injury.
Stoke started brightly and had a great chance to take the lead on five minutes, when Nuri Sahin attempted a back-pass to Pepe Reina, but played the ball straight to Adam.
The Stoke midfielder swept the ball goalwards but it was blocked by Reina who had stayed off his line.
Marc Wilson sent a 30-yard effort a yard over on seven minutes but, at the other end, Raheem Suarez had a shot blocked in the area after a strong run by Luis Suarez.
Steven Nzonzi sparked further danger when he gave the ball away to Suarez on the half way line. The striker raced towards the area, but his effort was blocked by Ryan Shawcross.
Stoke came close on 20 minutes when Reina's clearance was intercepted by Steven Nzonzi , 25 yards from goal.
He played the ball to Kightly whose chip would have dipped under the bar, but was touched over by the backpedalling Reina.
Glenn Whelan was forced out of the game after aggravating a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Dean Whitehead as Stoke stuck with their 4-5-1 line-up.
Michael Kightly was booked for a 25th-minute foul on Joe Allen before Steven Gerrard forced a flying save from Asmir Begovic with a 25-yard strike which was swerving away from the keeper.
Daniel Agger just failed to connect with Suso's chip into the area before the ball span inches wide. Huth went into the book for a trip on Suarez as the home side finished the half the stronger.
Liverpool 0 Stoke 0
Begovic did well to save a swerving Glenn Johnson strike at the foot of his near post. However, Johnson, who was playing left back, had an even better chance on 52 minutes when Gerrard picked out his run into the area with a typical raking pass.
Johnson controlled the ball with his first touch, but then blasted it over the bar with just Begovic to beat.
Suarez came much closer on 59 minutes when he collected the ball 35 yards out and raced towards the area. He skipped between two defenders before drilling a shot inches wide from 12 yards.
Stoke made a change , on 63 minutes, as Kightly was replaced by Matthew Etherington. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers responded with a 67th-minute change as Suso was replaced by Joe Cole.
Shawcross went into the book for a 69th-minute foul on Suarez before Sterling fired just wide at the near post as Liverpool began to step up their efforts.
Charlie Adam was booked for a 73rd-minute foul on Allen, but Stoke's defence was holding firm.
Suarez attracted angry words from Huth and Wilson after falling theatrically, and ridiculously, in the area.
Walters became the fifth Stoke player to be booked when he was cautioned for time-wasting, on 77 minutes.
Sahin was replaced by Oussama Assaidi on 79 minutes as the home side struggled to create chances.
Pulis responded on 81 minutes as Adam came off and was replaced by debutant Maurice Edu.
Suarez rattled a shot into the side netting from a desperately difficult angle before Gerrard overhit a pass to Begovic as the Kop began to show their frustration.
Whitehead was booked for bringing down Sterling before Liverpool came close on 90 minutes when Martin Skrtel connected with a free kick to the back post. He hooked the ball across goal, but it clipped the edge of the far post and bounced out to safety.
However, a Liverpool winner would have been incredibly harsh on Stoke who were well worth their point.
LIVERPOOL: Reina, Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson, Sahin (Assaidi, 79), Gerrard, Allen, Suarez, Suso (Cole, 67), Sterling.
Subs: Jones, Henderson, Coates, Carragher, Borini.
STOKE: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Nzonzi, Whelan (Whitehead, 20) Adam (Edu,81) Kightly (Etherington, 63), Crouch, Walters.
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Upson, Jerome.
Referee: Lee Mason.