All thoughts of last season’s 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Stoke are gone as the Reds controlled the match fairly easy and put on a good show ahead of their big standoff against Borussia Dortmund this Thursday.
Peter Crouch was handed the start for the visitors, a clear statement of intent that Stoke would be crossing the ball often. They tested Liverpool early on, but the duo of Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel did well to keep the former-Red off the score sheet.
Liverpool would strike early on due to a bit of brilliance from Alberto Moreno. James Milner took a quick free kick from the left to his feet and the left back took a brief glance at goal before firing home from outside the box. Jakob Haugaard had no chance as the shot drifted just beyond his reach.
Set pieces would be a problem for Liverpool once more though as they conceded off a long free kick. Xherdan Shaqiri lofted a ball into the area, and the Liverpool defence failed to pick up the run of Bojan Krkic as the Stoke man glanced the ball past Simon Mignolet. The man at fault for the goal was Sheyi Ojo, who should have followed Bojan as he simply ran past the youngster.
Stoke nearly snatched the lead from Liverpool too as Crouch began to make his presence known in the match. He nodded home an excellent cross from Erik Pieters but, before he could celebrate, the flag had gone up on the near side to disallow goal.
Ojo would then make up for his earlier error with a world class assist to take the lead. He sized up Shaqiri before skipping past him and his resulting cross was perfect as it evaded every Stoke defender before Daniel Sturridge nodded home from close range. It was a beautifully worked goal, and Ojo’s teammates gave him the praise he deserved.
The visitors would come back and threaten well in the air, but Liverpool were able to close the half out with their advantage. Ryan Shawcross would come close, but the centre-back couldn’t keep his header on target, with it going just wide of the far post.
Origi impresses once again
Jürgen Klopp made one change at the break, bringing on midweek goal scorer Divock Origi who made an immediate impact. Within five minutes of entering the match, Origi found his name on the score sheet. Liverpool played a short corner kick to Sturridge who returned the ball to Milner. The midfielder sent in a wonder cross that curled into the box to the unmarked Origi, who headed it into the back of the net.
From that point on, it was all Liverpool. Every time the Reds marched down the pitch, they looked like they would score. Roberto Firmino forced a fine save from Haugaard with laser shot at the near post. Origi failed to nod home into an empty net after Moreno’s cross had beaten Haugaard and the Stoke defence. The attack was working on all cylinders and never let up.
The only real chance of the half for Stoke came from Geoff Cameron as the American rose the highest to send a looping header towards goal. Mignolet was nearly caught out of position but did well to reach back and push the ball onto the roof of the net.
Origi would cap off a fine performance from the Reds with what was surely the goal of the week. The Belgian made a fine run down the left wing before cutting in past Phil Bardsley. From the edge of the box and at a ridiculous angle, Origi unleashed a beauty of curler that found the bottom right-hand corner.
While the match may not have had major complications for either side, it was good a warm-up for Liverpool who await Borussia Dortmund on Thursday at Anfield. The Kop can draw a lot positivity from Origi, who is currently having the best form of any Liverpool striker this season.