Saturday, 21 September 2013

Five Favourite Wins Against - Stoke at home

This is the first of a new series for the 2013-14 Premier League season which will focus unashamedly on success for Liverpool down the years.  For each league fixture we will highlight my five favourite wins against the upcoming opposition.  So be warned, if you’re looking for coverage of matches where your favourite team has put one over on Liverpool, then move along or write some yourself as there’ll be nothing to see here for you.

17th April 1976
LIVERPOOL   (2)   5   (Neal, pen 37, Toshack 43, Kennedy 51, Hughes 73, Fairclough 78)
STOKE CITY   (1)   3   (Conroy 30, Moores 60, Bloor 89)

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Smith, Thompson, Hughes, Smith; Case (Fairclough), Callaghan, Kennedy; Toshack, Keegan, Heighway

STOKE: Shilton; Marsh, Mahoney, Dodd, Pejic; Robertson, Bloor, Salmons; Moore, Conroy, Greenhoff

This was Bob Paisley’s first League title winning season in only his second since taking over from Bill Shankly.  QPR had emerged as the surprise challengers, leading the league up to November.  Liverpool had only hit the top in February but then struggled to keep their League form as well as compete in the UEFA Cup.  They’d just knocked out Barcelona to reach the UEFA Cup Final and then Stoke City visited Anfield with just 3 games to go.

Stoke, managed by Tony Waddington had Peter Shilton in goal and were the livelier to begin with.  With half an hour gone Terry Conroy converted a right-wing cross to give the visitors the lead.  It was the first time Clemence had been beaten in the league for 6 games.  Within minutes a clumsy challenge from Marsh on Keegan gave Liverpool a penalty and Phil Neal beat Shilton to equalise.  Just before the break, Toshack and Keegan combined to find Heighway on the left and his cross was turned in by Toshack to give Liverpool a half-time lead.

Early in the second half and Keegan picked the ball up just inside the Stoke half, ,made room for himself and then picked out a lovely through ball for Ray Kennedy to run onto and he slid the ball in for a 3-1 lead.  10 minutes later and a long ball from Stoke left-back, Mike Pejic had Greenhoff causing problems in the home defence and Ian Moores was on hand to head in to grab a goal back.  Then with 20 minutes to go came a characteristic run from the back from Emlyn Hughes and he played a one-two with Keegan on the edge of the box and then fired the ball past Shilton for a memorable goal.  5 minutes later Keegan found Kennedy free in the area and he got to the bye-line to pull it back where substitute David Fairclough converted it for Liverpool’s 5th.  It was David “super-sub” Fairclough’s 3rd goal in 4 home games when coming on as a sub.  Bloor got a goal back for Stoke but Liverpool were worthy winners.  It was a win which took them back to the top as QPR lost at Norwich.  Liverpool went onto lift the trophy beating QPR by 1pt.  They also won the UEFA Cup that season too.

27th December 1976
LIVERPOOL   (1)   4   (Thompson 5, Neal pen 62, Keegan 67, Johnson 81)
STOKE CITY   (0)   0

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hughes, Jones; McDermott, Callaghan (Johnson), Kennedy; Toshack, Keegan, Heighway

STOKE: Shilton, Marsh, Smith, Bloor, Pejic; Dodd, Waddington, Bithell; Tudor, Salmons, Robertson

When Stoke came back to Anfield the following December, Liverpool were again in 2nd place in the league just behind Ipswich on goal difference.  Liverpool had won a17pts from a maximum 18 at home and Stoke were yet to win away.

Phil Thompson gave Liverpool and early lead in the 5th and that was the difference between the two sides at the break.  Phil Neal doubled lead when he scored from the spot just on the hour and then 5 minutes later, Kevin Keegan made things certain as he scored Liverpool’s 3rd.  Into the last 10 minutes and substitute, David Johnson completed the scoring with the home side’s 4th.  Liverpool went back to the top of the table as Ipswich were held at Coventry.

3rd April 1981
LIVERPOOL   (1)   3   (Whelan 27, McDermott 52, 81)
STOKE CITY   (0)   0

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, Kennedy; Lee, Case, McDermott, Whelan; Dalglish, Rush

STOKE: Fox; Evans, Doyle, Dodd, Munro; Ursem, O’Callaghan, Bracewell; Maguire, Heath, Chapman

Stoke again visited Anfield in April but this time Liverpool were 10pts off the lead in the League as they were chasing other trophies.  Two days before this fixture they’d beaten West Ham to lift their first League Cup when they won 2-1 in a replay.  Ian Rush made an impression in that game and retained his place for this match.  Ronnie Whelan gave Liverpool a first half lead as he marked his debut with a goal.  Whelan was one of several players Paisley had introduced that season as he sought to rebuild a double European Cup winning side.   Early in the second half Terry McDermott put the home side 2-0 up and then he completed the scoring 9 minutes from the end.  1980-81 was a vintage year for McDermott as he topped the scoring charts even beating Kenny Dalglish.  This win moved them up to 4th but they never threatened as Aston Villa won their first title for 70 years.  Liverpool had to console themselves with their first League Cup and a third European Cup as they beat Real Madrid in Paris.

5th March 1983
LIVERPOOL   (2)   5   (Dalglish 7, 47, Neal 35, Johnston 76, Souness 89)
STOKE CITY   (0)   1   (Bracewell 49)

LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Neal, Lawrenson, Hansen, Kennedy; Lee, Johnston, Souness, Whelan; Dalglish, Rush

STOKE: Fox; Parkin, Berry, Watson, Hampton; McIlroy, Thomas, Painter (McAughtrie); O’Callaghan, Chamberlain, Bracewell

When Stoke arrived at Anfield they found the hosts again unbeaten and leading the table by 14pts.  Liverpool had already booked their annual trip to Wembley for the League Cup but had just returned from trip to Poland where they lost to Widzew Lodz in the first leg of their latest European Cup tie.  This was Bob Paisley’s final season as Liverpool manager and the team were keen to make sure they added to their haul of League titles.

The Stoke side included former Man Utd players, Mickey Thomas and Sammy McIlroy as well as future Everton midfielder, Paul Bracewell and Mark Chamberlain, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Dad.  Kenny Dalglish opened the scoring for the home side inside the first 10 minutes and then Phil Neal scored against Stoke yet again when he made it 2-0 10 minutes before the break.  Just into the second half and Dalglish scored his 2nd of the game.  Bracewell got a goal back for the visitors minutes later by Craig Johnston and Graeme Souness rounded things off to give Liverpool an impressive 5-1 win.

Liverpool ended up winning their third successive League Cup and their 6th League Championship under Bob Paisley as they finished 11pts clear of Watford. 

19th August 2009
LIVERPOOL   (2)   4  (Torres 4, Johnson 45, Kuyt 78, Ngog 90)
STOKE CITY   (0)   0

LIVERPOOL: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Ayala, Insua; Lucas, Mascherano; Benayoun, Gerrard (Voronin); Kuyt (Riera), Torres (Ngog)

STOKE: Sorensen; Higginbottom, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Whelan; Whitehead (Pugh), Faye, Delap, Etherington; Beattie (Lawrence), Cresswell (Fuller)

When Stoke visited Anfield at the beginning of the 2009-10 they were into their 2nd successive season in the top flight after a gap of 23 years.  This was the first home game of the season for Liverpool who’d just come off a 1-2 defeat at Spurs.  Liverpool had finished the previous season in 2nd place in what was probably their best chance of winning the Premier League title.  They hadn’t lost a league game at Anfield since December 2007, a run of 30 games.

They began this new season in fine form and ahead as early as the 4th minute as a burst from Steven Gerrard on the right saw him pull the ball back and Fernando Torres was on hand to drill the ball past Sorensen.  Liverpool doubled their lead right on half-time from a corner as Kuyt’s low header was blocked on the line by Sorensen and Glen Johnson knocked in the rebound for a goal on his debut.  Johnson was involved in many of Liverpool’s best efforts and he was involved in the 3rd goal when he found Gerrard with a clever pass and the captain’s low cross was turned in by Kuyt from close range.  Then in injury time Johnson was again involved as Ngog, a 2nd half substitute for Torres, headed in from just under the bar. 

It was a good, fluent performance but the season frustrated throughout and at the end of it, Rafa Benitez left the club.

HEAD TO HEAD at Anfield

Matches: 62
Liverpool win: 46
Stoke win: 3
Draws: 13

Liverpool goals: 134
Stoke goals: 40

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