The Britannia stadium was given a treat this evening as they witnessed an incredible eight goal thriller, with Liverpool walking out 5-3 winners to give Stoke only their second home defeat of the season.
Before the game started the Britannia had seen the least amount of goals in the Premier League, but that would all change this Sunday.
Liverpool hadn’t won at Stoke since 1984 and Chelsea, Man City and Everton all hadn’t won against the Potters this season, showing what a win this was for Brendan Rodgers’ boys.
Stoke City started the game well and looked up for the match, but with just five minutes gone they were dealt a huge piece of bad luck.
Liverpool full-back Aly Cissokho hit an ambitious strike from outside the box which was going miles off target, until it took a wicked deflection of Ryan Shawcross. This wrong footed Jack Butland in goal and gave the Reds a fortuitous lead.
After the lucky goal, the game went a bit flat with the Potters looking a bit deflated and Philippe Coutinho spurned an opportunity to increase Liverpool’s lead.
With neither side playing anywhere near their best in the first 30 minutes, the game looked to be a poor one. However, on just half past the hour and the game suddenly erupted.
An awful defensive header back was well read by Luis Suarez, who had been relatively quiet up to this point, and with the Premier League top goal scorer chasing the ball down he forced Ryan Shawcross into a mistake. Suarez then pounced and produced another exquisite finish to make it an incredible 21 goals in 16 games, giving Liverpool a 2-0 lead at the Britannia.
The second goal seemed to spur life into the Potters as they began pressing the Liverpool goal. Marko Arnautović found he had space on the left and he produced an excellent cross to find Peter Crouch with acres of space in the box. The former Liverpool striker showed his aerial prowess with a lovely header into the bottom corner to pull one back for Stoke.
Just a minute later, Coutinho missed another chance as his shot was well saved by Butland, and within a few minutes he was punished.
A mislaid pass by Jordan Henderson fell to Charlie Adam, who had been very poor up till now, and the Scot teed himself up and hit a perfect strike with such power right into the bottom corner of the net with Simone Mignolet not being able to get anywhere near the ball. From 2-0 down, Stoke now found themselves level going into the break, and suddenly an awful game had turned into an extremely interesting one.
The second half only produced more excitement, and within the first five minutes we saw another goal.
Mark Hughes’ side started brightly, but Liverpool would be given a rather cheap penalty to regain the lead when Raheem Sterling went down very easily from a Marc Wilson challenge. After a dreadful mistake from the defender, Steven Gerrard stepped up to send Butland the wrong way and put Liverpool 3-2 in front.
From here, both sides went for more goals as it showed the disparity between a Stoke managed by Tony Pulis and one managed by Mark Hughes.
On the 65th minute, Daniel Sturridge was brought on for Coutinho after a nine game absence through injury. Just five minutes later, the reuniting SAS partnership was in full swing.
Sturridge burst forward on the left hand side and gave a fantastic cheeky pass to Suarez, whose first time finish highlighted the man’s brilliance. Finding the corner of the net, Suarez put Liverpool 4-2 in front with another two goal lead.
But Stoke wouldn’t give up, and two minutes after Jonathan Walters missed a header to give Stoke hope, the Irishman would redeem his miss and score what could have been a vital goal.
Arnautovic played another excellent ball for Walters. Fending off Kolo Toure, Walters managed to hit a scrappy effort which bobbled past Mignolet and into the goal to make it 3-4 in favour if Liverpool on the 84th minute.
However, all hopes of another two goal comeback were soon shattered.
Suarez and Sturridge switched roles from their earlier goal as the Uruguayan picked out a lovely pass to the England international. Although Sturridge’s first effort smacked the post, it came back out to the former Chelsea man and he made no mistake in putting the Reds 5-3 up and finishing the game off with just a few minutes remaining.
Hughes will have been disappointed to lose at home, especially conceding five goals seeing as their stadium has been such a fortress this season. But his side showed passion and real drive which will be very encouraging to him seeing as his side now sit only four points off the relegation zone.
Rodgers on the other hand, will surely be delighted to have Sturridge back as his partnership with Suarez seems to have taken no time it getting back to his best. If they can keep SAS fit, it is hard to argue that the Reds aren’t title contenders with such a formidable pairing.