Liverpool respond well to beat Stoke City 4-1

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Roberto Firmino of Liverpool (L) celebrates with Adam Lallana as he scores their second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on December 27, 2016 in Liverpool, England.
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Matthew Sinton runs over the important bits from Liverpool’s easy 4-1 win over Stoke City on Tuesday night.

Another three points at Anfield tonight saw the Reds keep the gap between Chelsea at six points and the fans’ dreams of a first league title in 28 years alive. We responded excellently to a difficult first twenty minutes by dominating the rest of the game and winning comfortably in the end.

It very quickly looked like it wouldn’t be our day after just twelve minutes as Erik Pieters managed to find Jonathan Walters in the box and Mignolet was unable to save his header (I must say, it looked like he could have done better and Lovren was partly at fault for letting Walters get to it). The next ten minutes or so were very shaky but we managed to ease the nerves through a Lallana equaliser in the 34th minute. Then Firmino’s goal came just at the right time and, going into the break, we led 2-1. Panic over.

We also started the second half pretty slowly but Stoke weren’t as good this time around. An Imbula own goal and an awful backpass from Shawcross which Sturridge excellently finished meant the game ended 4-1, as comfortable a victory as you’re likely to see at Anfield this season.

There were two players that I was particularly happy to see score. Roberto Firmino ended a six-game goal drought with his effort (which came off both posts!). It was an excellent way to silence the critics over his poor recent form and his off the field issues. Hopefully, he can get back on track in the next few games.

I was even more delighted to see Daniel Sturridge’s name on the scoresheet. Although the chance was given to him on a plate by Shawcross, the style and composure with which he finished it showed exactly why he is regarded as one of the best strikers around. He has had some very good moments in a not so great season so far and has been unlucky not to net in the league, but this will be a huge relief for him. We’ll be glad we had him in the side come the end of the season.

Adam Lallana produced yet again and took his tally to seven goals and six assists in just 1100 minutes, which is just over 12 games. Towards the end of last season, you could tell he had certainly improved under Klopp, but nobody expected him to be this good. He’s really taken his game and his end product to the next level.

Overall a very good performance from the whole team, bar two individual mistakes very early on. Another three points to keep our hopes alive and we look forward to our next game, Manchester City at Anfield on Saturday. Come on, Reds!

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