English Premiership

Stoke frustrate Liverpool

2010-01-16 16:59
Rafael Benitez (AP)

London - Robert Huth deprived Rafael Benitez of a vital victory as Stoke claimed a dramatic equaliser against Liverpool a minute from time at the Britannia Stadium to force a 1-1 draw.

Huth pounced from close range to ensure a frustrating end to a tortuous week for Benitez with Stoke's first ever Premier League goal against Liverpool.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos had appeared set to ease the pressure on the Liverpool manager with his first goal for the club. But a sustained period of late pressure from Stoke was rewarded right at the death.

In the face of severe criticism from former players and just days after a humiliating FA Cup exit to Reading, Benitez had attempted to bring light relief to Liverpool's troubled season on the eve of this daunting trip.

Before the corresponding fixture last season, Benitez produced a piece of paper from his pocket and proceeded to deliver a rant aimed at title rival Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager.

At his pre-match media conference at the club's Melwood training base, Benitez once again reached for his pocket and produced a piece of paper.

The difference this time was that the Spaniard did it as a joke, an attempt at raising the gloom that has descended on Anfield.

Despite Benitez's attempt at humour, the pressure remains on the Liverpool manager and the failure to beat mid-table Stoke will only lead to more calls from disgruntled fans for his six-year reign at Anfield to be brought to an end.

Alberto Aquilani and new signing Maxi Rodriguez started on the bench while Phillip Degen, Lucas Leiva and Fabio Aurelio all started on a day when Benitez was without five first-team players: Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun, Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson.

A trip to the bearpit of the Britannia Stadium is enough to test the most fragile of individuals and Stoke are a team that, despite their deficiencies, are masters at playing to their strengths.

A series of long throw-ins from Rory Delap typically unnerved the Liverpool defence early on in a frantic start.

Chances were at a minimum after such a cagey opening but Benitez was fidgeting with fury midway through the half when Lucas was clearly hacked down in the penalty area by Danny Higginbotham.

Not only did referee Lee Mason refuse to award a penalty but he booked the Brazilian for diving - emphasising the poor fortune Benitez is currently experiencing.

Stoke's mission to pile more agony on Benitez suffered a blow soon after that penalty decision when Abdoulaye Faye and Delap were both forced off injured.

The Potters, one of the lowest scorers in the Premier League, failed to test Reds goalkeeper Jose Reina once in the first half.

Liverpool were forced to weather an early aerial bombardment in the second period but stunned the noisy home crowd into silence in the 57th minute.

Aurelio's free kick was fumbled by Thomas Sorensen and Kyrgiakos bundled the ball over the line despite the frantic attempts of Higginbotham to hack clear.

Stoke did not test Reina until the 75th minute when substitute Ricardo Fuller headed Matt Etherington's corner straight into the goalkeeper's arms.

But a late bombardment ended with an equaliser when Huth stabbed in from a yard out after Etherington's corner had been headed back across the goalmouth by Higginbotham, then flicked on by Salif Diao.

Stoke pressed hard for a winner but it was Liverpool who could have snatched victory in the fifth minute of injury-time. Aurelio got clear on the left and curled in a superb cross that Dirk Kuyt, from barely five yards out, contrived to head against the post.

Read more on:    rafael benitez

Table doesn't lie - Mourinho

2014-12-27 09:06


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


13 summer safety tips

Summer time and the burning is easy. Get some great tips to ensure sunburn doesn't spoil your holiday!


I love summer.24

Stay in shape this summer
Ultimate fails compilation 2014
This sleeping bulldog is you during the holidays
This man's reaction to his Christmas present is priceless!
28 December 2014
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United, White Hart Lane 14:00
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 16:05
West Ham United v Arsenal, Boleyn Ground 17:00
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion, Britannia Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Burnley, Etihad Stadium 17:00
Queens Park Rangers v Crystal Palace, Loftus Road Stadium 17:00
Hull City v Leicester City, The KC Stadium 17:00
Aston Villa v Sunderland, Villa Park 17:00
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 18:15
29 December 2014
Liverpool v Swansea City, Anfield 22:00
01 January 2015
Stoke City v Manchester United, Britannia Stadium 14:45
Liverpool v Leicester City, Anfield 17:00
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion, Boleyn Ground 17:00
Manchester City v Sunderland, Etihad Stadium 17:00
Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City, Loftus Road Stadium 17:00
Newcastle United v Burnley, St. James' Park 17:00
Southampton v Arsenal, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Hull City v Everton, The KC Stadium 17:00
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace, Villa Park 17:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea, White Hart Lane 19:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

How long will Mario Balotelli last at Liverpool?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.