It was a battle of the big men as Andy Carroll and Liverpool took on Crouch, Huth, Shawcross and co at Anfield.
How goes it. We’re on Merseyside for a cup tie as the Reds welcome the Potters. In the day’s earlier FA Cup game, Chelsea booked their place in the semis with Fernando Torres scoring not one but two goals in a man-of-the-match performance.
It’s just kicked-off so here are the teams:
Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Maxi, Gerrard, Spearing, Downing, Suarez, Carroll. Subs: Doni, Henderson, Coates, Kuyt, Adam, Flanagan, Shelvey.
Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Crouch. Subs: Nash, Jones, Pennant, Upson, Delap, Jerome, Palacios.
Decent attempt with the back of his head from Maxi Rodriguez after a Steven Gerrard free-kick.
Liverpool full-back Martin Kelly is the first man into Kevin Friend’s book for chopping down Matthew Etherington. The former Spurs winger has yet to get up and looks in some pain. That could be his match over… Jermaine Pennant warming up.
Plenty of frees for both sides early on. Andy Carroll just been penalised for a foul on Marc Wilson. Stoke, unsurprisingly, are playing the direct style of football which they’ve become famous for.
Etherington is back on thankfully.
Sneaky from Stoke. Ryan Shotton is expected to launch a throw-in towards the Liverpool goal but goes short to Andy Wilkinson. He receives it back and finds Peter Crouch at the back post, who can only head into the hands of Pepe Reina.
The card is out again and referee Friend could be busy today. Irish midfielder Glenn Whelan catches Jay Spearing on the foot and goes into the book.
Gerrard competes in the air with Peter Crouch. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Nice footwork from Wilson there, who sells two opponents a dummy before Shotton skies an attempt on goal well wide. Scrappy enough so far.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Stoke (Luis Suarez)
Out of nothing, Liverpool take the lead with some style. Suarez picks up possession and curls a strike past Thomas Sorensen from 20 yards out. Brilliant finish for his 11th of the season.
The Potters hit back immediately and have won three corners in a row.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Stoke (Peter Crouch)
Liverpool lead lasts just two minutes. The decision to give a corner looked debatable and upon seeing the replay, it should’ve been a goal-kick. Former Liverpool player Crouch comes back to haunt his old club by heading home after Andy Carroll allows him far too much room.
Chances at both ends. Carroll volleys over acrobatically, then Walters fluffs his lines when through on goal.
Another shocker of a call. The ball plays off Huth and he tries to shield Suarez off but allows it to go out of play but the referee’s assistant signals a goal-kick.
The Uruguayan is in the thick of it moments later – after being pulled back by Ryan Shawcross, he trips the defender and concedes a free-kick.
Free-kick to Liverpool in a great position. Shawcross has a hold of Suarez right on the edge of the 18-yard area. Gerrard takes but can’t find the target.
Half-time: Liverpool 1-1 Stoke
Suarez collects a cross but does so illegally with the use of his arms in the last piece of play before the halfway mark.
While we wait for the teams to re-emerge, why not watch that Suarez goal back. It was pretty special:
Some Liverpool fans are feeling pretty aggrieved after a couple of the decisions in that half…
Right, here we go again. No changes from either of the teams.
Bit of a tussle is going on between Carroll and Shawcross in the box while a Liverpool free is fired in. It’s Suarez who gets on the end of it but his glancing header drifts by the far post.
GOAL! Liverpool 2-1 Stoke (Stewart Downing)
Stewart Downing notches what is only his second goal since joining the club from Aston Villa with a unintentionally well-worked goal. Downing plays in Gerrard but the ball gets caught under the skipper’s feet, leaving it for his team-mate to come on to. The winger goes by one tackle and slots past Sorenson.
Another former Red, Jermaine Pennant, is on for Shotton. Dirk Kuyt has also come on in place of Maxi Rodriguez.
Less than 20 minutes remain and Stoke are in need of a goal. Tony Pulis opts for Cameron Jerome in place of Etherington and throw specialist Rory Delap comes in for Dean Whitehead.
Martin Kelly involved at both ends. The full-back recovers well to keep Jerome at bay. He nearly adds to Liverpool’s lead minutes later after a one-two with Kuyt.
Suarez needs treatment and hobbles off to be replaced by Jordan Henderson after Huth catches the striker on the foot. Fellow Uruguayan Sebastian Coates is also on for the final minutes.
Couple of nervous moments at Anfield. Stoke throw bodies forward, but Reina is glad to have the ball in his arms when the delivery comes in.
Carroll looks to link up with Henderson and they’ve won a corner, which they’re happy to hold in the corner. Four of the five minutes are up… that looks to be it.
Full time: Liverpool 2-1 Stoke
It’s never easy against a tough, physical side like Stoke. It was even steven but I though we took over in the second half. Stewie took his goal extremely well so off to Wembley we go for the second time. We’ve been frustrated with our league form but we’re going strong in the cups. One more hurdle to get to another final and it would be fantastic to deliver the cup to our fans.” – Steven Gerrard
So Liverpool are going to Wembley again and join Chelsea as the first two confirmed semi-finalists. Don’t go anywhere as that draw is about to take place so we’ll be bringing it to you as it happens.
Here’s the winning goal while John Scales, Bobby Gould and Jim Rosenthal exchange small talk.
The FA Cup semi-finals have just been confirmed:
A great credit should go to Stoke as they made it hard for us, especially in the first thirty minutes. With the exception of the goal, we defended really well and weren’t afraid to put our bodies on the line.” – Kenny Dalglish
That’s my lot, I’m off to enjoy what’s left of the bank holiday weekend. Hope you do the same.
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