Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did not go with his best eleven against Stoke City, but his chosen players responded with a brilliant show at Anfield, Sunday. Liverpool played some fluid football, winning the game with ease 4-1.
It was a game, which would make any manager happy. Not only were their attackers lethal, the central defensive pair of Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure also looked strong at the back. Overall, it was a quality performance from the home side, who climbed to eighth place in the EPL standings with the three points.
It was Spaniard Alberto Moreno's long range goal in the eighth minute, which gave Liverpool an early lead. But Stoke did come back, drawing level in the 22 minute when Bojan Krkic was offered a free header from a setpiece. However, after the goal, Liverpool pushed forward, looking to get back their lead, and Daniel Sturridge headed the ball home after a fine run from Sheyi Ojo, who prouced an inch-perfect manner cross for the striker.
Though Liverpool looked good in the first half, it was their performance in the second, which caught the eye. They were constantly looking to score goals, and Belgian forward Divock Origi, who came on during the second half, continued his impressive goalscoring record of late, betting a brace.
The striker found the back of the net in the 50th and 65th minutes. Klopp praised the player for his effort, and felt the second goal, which looked like a cross, was a shot at goal.
"The first goal, setpiece, quick in mind, short corner and then what a cross and what a header. It is only possible with confidence.The second goal, he really wanted to shoot, it was not a cross or something. Even on the bench it was a surprise, but it's a nice goal," Liverpool Echo quoted Klopp as saying.
The final quarter of the game was one-way traffic, with Liverpool players eyeing a fifth goal.
Though Liverpool emerged triumphant, it has to be said that Stoke did not have a great day at Anfield. Their offensive players such as Peter Crouch, Xherdan Shaqiri and Krkic looked good in phases, but lacked consistency. Stoke did trouble Liverpool defenders in setpieces, but they did not enjoy much possession to threaten Simon Mignolet in open play.
With this victory, Liverpool will have their tails up when they meet Borussia Dortmund in a crucial second leg quarterfinal encounter at Anfield, Thursday.