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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 17 December, 2018


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Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off for the games is at 8pm.

We’re under way…


Liverpool seem to be playing a 4-2-3-1 with Solanke as the main striker.

It’s been a fairly uneventful opening.


Stoke City v Liverpool - Premier League - bet365 Stadium Stoke City's Darren Fletcher gets past Liverpool's Sadio Mane. Source: David Davies


It continues to be a fairly cagey opening.

Stoke have looked fairly well organised, with Liverpool finding it difficult to gain any leeway in their opponent’s final third.


Mane tries to beat Stoke’s offside trap, but he’s adjudged to be offside.

In a way, Stoke are at their most vulnerable when they are on the attack and in possession, given how swift and dangerous the visitors can be on the counter.


Stoke are not happy as they feel the ball was out of play in the build-up, though replays suggests the referee was right.

Anyway, it’s a lovely through pass from Solanke to find Mane, who coolly dinks the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.


Liverpool haven’t really gotten out of second gear, but they still look very comfortable.

Stoke have yet to have a touch in the opposition box.


Firmino’s ball through is cleared by Shawcross.

There’s only been one team trying to play constructively so far.


A rare attack for Stoke.

Fletcher’s goalbound shot is blocked, before Shaqiri makes a mess of the rebound and slices the ball well wide.


This is a better spell for Stoke.

As I type though, Shaqiri’s cross goes straight into Mignolet’s arms.


There’s been a definite shift in the balance of play in recent minutes.

Stoke have the momentum right now, without creating any real clear-cut chances.


Solanke and Firmino link up brilliantly, but the former’s shot is too close to the goalkeeper.

Moments later, Mignolet gets booked when he arguably should have been sent off  for taking down Diouf just outside the box — the goalkeeper was the last man.

Shaqiri’s subsequent free kick deflects wide.



So close!

Mane beats the offside trap as he’s played through, but his shot hits the outside of the post.


Boos greet the half-time whistle.

Stoke fans are not happy. Mignolet should have been sent off in most people’s eyes, while there was a dispute about whether the ball was out of play for the goal.

Liverpool haven’t been great so far, but they’ve done just enough to be ahead.

Stoke, meanwhile, have been a bit hesitant, and only really came alive sporadically in that first half.


The second half has begun…


Chance for Stoke!

Shaqiri’s cross is only half cleared to Allen, whose finish from the edge of the area deflects off Lovren and goes just wide.


It’s been a quiet last few minutes.

Prior to that, Liverpool broke with pace, before Wijnaldum’s shot from the edge of the area was deflected out for a corner.


Can is booked for cynically taking down Shaqiri.

This game is starting to become more open now.


Liverpool haven’t been great this half. There is a lack of conviction about Klopp’s side.

Perhaps they are simply sitting back and trying to be solid, attempting to avoid a repeat of the Sevilla debacle in the process.


Mignolet parries away a Shaqiri free kick.

Liverpool have had 58% possession, but have looked second best at times in this half.

As I type, Wijnaldum is booked for chopping down Peters.

The ensuing free kick sees Diouf’s shot blocked, with claims of handball that the referee ignores.


It’s been a below-par second half, and Klopp responds by making a double substitution.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Solanke are replaced by  Salah and Milner.


Big chance for Stoke!

Crouch lays off a header to Allen, who can’t get over the ball on the half volley and fires over as a result.


Milner gets the ball on the edge of the box and his shot is deflected wide.

Liverpool have looked more threatening since the substitutions.


Stoke make a change.

Jesé comes on for Choupo-Moting.


Mane beats his man down the right, before crossing to Salah.

The Egyptian volleys home brilliantly to go ahead of Harry Kane in the scoring charts.



Salah beats Pieters to the ball before sprinting through on goal and finishing consummately.

He’s on fire right now.


Fair to say Klopp’s changes have made an impact.

Liverpool are coasting now and threatening a fourth.


Grant tips over Wijnaldum’s free kick.

There will be three minutes of time added on.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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