Liverpool played out a goalless draw against Stoke at Anfield in a match that saw both goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Thomas Sorenson put under virtually no pressure at all. Although the Reds dominated play and possession, they were remarkably lacklustre in front of goal and were restricted to passes around the box and long range shots.
The Reds’ most potent weapon seemed to be set pieces, with the Stoke backline looking a bit fragile during corners. Stoke’s resolute defence did have a weak moment late in the game as Dirk Kuyt found himself unmarked inside the box, but the Dutchman failed to make the most of the opportunity as he headed wide from close range.·
Here’s how the players performed…
Pepe Reina (5/10): The Spaniard was stable during the few times that he was called into action.
Jose Enrique (6/10): Made numerous forays forward and crossed well on many occasions. Definitely one of the better performers for the Reds.
Martin Skrtel (5/10): The defender did more than enough to keep the Stoke strikers at bay, although to be fair the Potters didn’t attack much.
Jamie Carragher (4/10): The veteran looked tentative on the ball and made a few loose passes. Not one of his better performances.
Sebastian Coates (5/10): The youngster performed well and even threatened the Stoke backline on a couple of occasions with his runs forward.
Glen Johnson (7/10): One of Liverpool’s best players. Was a constant threat on the wings and tried his best to break Stoke’s defence.
Charlie Adam (7/10): An excellent performance by the midfielder. He made numerous key passes and some of his long balls were breath-taking.
Steven Gerrard (4/10): The club captain was way off the mark today and didn’t really influence the game much. Will need to up his performance if Liverpool are to stay near the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal in the table.
Stewart Downing (4/10): Another disappointing performance by the winger. On a day where he was expected to cause the likes of Jonathan Woodgate and Marc Wilson lots of problems, the Englishman was certainly a big letdown.
Jordan Henderson (5/10): A tireless display by the youngster, but will perhaps need to develop his passing in the final third before he can make any significant contribution.
Dirk Kuyt (3/10): Was hugely disappointing upfront. Missed a sitter late in the game and couldn’t take advantage of a few more half chances.
Craig Bellamy (4/10): The forward did not get enough time to make any significant contribution.
Andy Carroll (5/10): Liverpool looked a better team after he came on. In a game like this he probably should’ve started.
Thomas Sorenson (5/10): He had very little to do in the game and looked solid enough when he was put under pressure.
Jonathan Woodgate (5/10): Put in a good shift and was not troubled much by the likes of Downing and Enrique, despite his lack of pace.
Ryan Shawcross (6/10): Was excellent in defence and proved to be more than a match for Liverpool’s ineffectual frontline.
Robert Huth (6/10): Like Shawcross, Huth too barely put a foot wrong throughout the game and negated the threat of Andy Carroll from set pieces late in the game.
Marc Wilson (5/10): Was offered much protection by Stoke’s midfield and so wasn’t put under a lot of pressure.
Rory Delap (5/10): Usually Delap’s most significant contributions in a match are his long throw-ins and he did not get many chances to exercise his arms tonight. Worked hard to close down Liverpool players in the midfield.
Wilson Palacios (5/10): The Honduran will be a key player for Stoke if he stays fit. Played the role of a defensive midfielder well and gave his defence ample protection.
Glenn Whelan (4/10): The 28-year old midfielder did not make any significant contribution in the game.
Matthew Etherington (6/10): Perhaps Stoke’s best player. Put Liverpool under pressure on a few occasions during counters and was the only player to test Reina with a long ranged effort.
Jonathan Walters (5/10): Did not get much service from the defence minded midfield and tried to make the most of the few chances he had.
Peter Crouch (5/10): The former Liverpool frontman had almost nothing to work with throughout the game, although he did chip in with a few nifty touches, most notably setting up Etherington for a quick counter.
Dean Whitehead (5/10): Was an able replacement for Palacios and did well in the second half.
Andy Wilkinson (5/10): Came on for Woodgate and performed well under increasing pressure towards the end of the game.
Ricardo Fuller (NA): Came on too late to have any sort of impact.