Stoke City came to Anfield with the intention of exposing the flaws of Liverpool
Stoke City came to Anfield with the intention of exposing the flaws of Liverpool and played with a different system to the one they normally play with, but, it couldn’t quite sit well as it actually opened the opportunities for the Reds instead of blocking them.
And, any possibility that the Potters might have of finding themselves in the Europa League next season, it ended with a 1-4 result.
Nobody can tell how correct were the moves of Mark Hughes, the one to start with Peter Crouch and some other moves too, but, there can be no hiding from the fact that apart from the system, it was the poor execution of skills too which had its part in the loss.
Well, talking about Peter Crouch, did he really have his worst day on the pitch? No, but, why had he made the cut? To provide some aerial strength to the front line; did he do that? No. So, judging him that way, the job was not well done.
Bojan Krkic, yes you can say the presence of mind from him, the way he got into the positions, was admirable. In fact, his goal in the 22nd minute, which very few would have remembered in the context of the result later on, was one of the highlights of the game, but, that single performance was never going to save the evening for Stoke.
Having gotten into the contest with a negative goal differential already, this was the last thing that Stoke would have wanted, to lose by as big a difference as they did. It was absolutely killing for the Potters and not to ignore that the teams on either side of them in the standings, Liverpool and Chelsea, have played lesser games.
The Reds have got seven to play, while, the Blues have got six, compared to five left for Stoke. So, safe to say, the Europa League ambitions are simply crushed.