The match looked destined for a goalless draw, after both teams failed to serve up enough from an attacking perspective, but then in stepped Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool's little magician, to swerve and smash the ball into the top corner to exorcise the ghosts of the 6-1 defeat at the Britannia from last season.

Liverpool would have probably gone back to Anfield happy with the 0-0 draw, after that absolute shellacking in the last game of last season, but Coutinho had other ideas, and thanks to the Brazilian, Brendan Rodgers' men start their English Premier League campaign with a win, the kind of win that will give them the confidence that they can stay the course this season and make a serious push for a top-four place.

There was not much to write home about the match really, with Stoke, if anything, shading the contest, looking a touch more dangerous going forward.

In the first half, Simon Mignolet definitely had a lot more work to do than Jack Butland, with Mame Biram Diouf and Jon Walters causing a bit of trepidation to the Liverpool defence, with their two new fullbacks in Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez, while Christian Benteke, at the other end was more a spectator than the terrorising striker he can be, provided he gets the right service.

The second half was a little bit better for Liverpool from an attacking point of view, with a few chances, at least, coming to the fore, but still, you felt, this was a match that had 0-0 written all over it.

Coutinho, obviously had other ideas, and with five remaining on the clock, he wriggled away from Steve Sidwell and unleashed an unstoppable drive from 25 yards to send Liverpool on their way to their first three points of the season, three points that could very well set them on course for a memorable season.