Stoke extend Liverpool hoodoo
Stoke vs Liverpool (Getty Images)
Stoke - Kenny Dalglish was condemned to his first defeat of the season after Jon Walters extended Stoke's remarkable hoodoo over Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
A 21st-minute penalty from Walters was enough for Stoke to preserve their own unbeaten record this season and secure their fourth successive home game against their opponents without defeat.
Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios both made their debuts for Stoke but it was the man whose place looks under jeopardy who delivered the hammer blow to his home town.
Born ten miles away from Anfield in Merseyside, Walters won and scored the spot kick that only served to keep the feel-good factor buzzing around the Potteries.
Liverpool and Stoke were two of the biggest, and most successful, spenders in the transfer window, with Dalglish and Tony Pulis forking out nearly 80 million between them this summer.
But despite the vast outlay by Dalglish he still cannot find the formula for Liverpool to win at the Britannia Stadium.
This was their fourth trip in the Premier League and Walters's goal was enough to send them back to Merseyside contemplating another defeat.
Liverpool's resurgence since their last visit to the Britannia Stadium has been remarkable. On that rainy November night Roy Hodgson suffered another chastening experience as his side were swatted aside after a timid performance.
But under Dalglish they are now a different proposition and they went toe to toe with Stoke's streetfighters in a scrappy opening.
There is a steely resilience to the new-look Liverpool but after 20 minutes their determination to match the abrasive approach of their opponents went too far when Jamie Carragher foolishly hauled down Walters in the area.
Walters picked himself up to emphatically power the penalty past Jose Reina.
That setback robbed Liverpool of their early verve and vigour, even though Luis Suarez was a constant menace in the first half and the Uruguay international created an opening for Martin Skrtel nine minutes before half-time but the defender blazed horribly wide.
Suarez then manufactured an opportunity for himself out of nothing, turning Matthew Upson in the area before shooting straight at Asmir Begovic.
Liverpool were dominant in the early stages of the second half and were denied an equaliser on the hour by the brilliance of Begovic.
The Bosnia international produced a stunning hat-trick of saves to deny Jordan Henderson twice and then Charlie Adam as the hosts clung valiantly onto their lead.
Referee Mark Clattenburg piled the agony on the visitors when he waved away late penalty claims, even though Matthew Upson appeared to handle Luis Suarez's cross.