Saturday 10th December 2016
Not many people like Stoke. Not necessarily because they do anything wrong either. Just because they are always very difficult to beat. And especially away from home, they seem to save some of their best performances for us. Not today Potters. You played well. But we thoroughly deserved the 3 points.
There are 3 similarities between today’s game and our last home outing. One is the final score, the second the referee awarded a very soft penalty and the 3rd is ultimately it didn’t prove costly. But, again that doesn’t take away we were pegged back by poor refereeing.
Having not seen TV replays as yet my judgement might be proved inaccurate but you show me a similar challenge go unpunished to the one the Stoke centre forward made in the build up when he wasn’t even looking at the ball! It was a foul all day long. Seconds later we were one nil down.
We beat Bournemouth well in the end last time out at home but I didn’t come away feeling we had been fantastic. Today I thought we played extremely well from start to finish and it always looked only a matter of time before we would score.
All over the pitch we looked sharp, up for it and full of desire even, somewhat crucially, in that period from when Stoke were handed the lead and Theo’s equaliser just before half time.
The mood ‘out the back’ during the break was definitely more upbeat than not. We were playing well and having gone behind everything looked positive for the second period.
Mesut nodded us in front and our thoughts looked to have been the correct ones.
Alex’s good finish completed an excellent win and day tainted only slightly by Mustafi limping off with what looked like a ‘hammy’.
A big chance for Gabriel to shine at centre half and at least he comes in match fit having enjoyed plenty of game time in Hector’s absence.
Two extremely tough fixtures come next as we head to the North West, firstly to Goodison Park on Tuesday night.
Sandwiched between now and then however, is the Champions League draw and when we find out which one of the 6 teams we will need to overcome to reach the quarter finals.
I quite fancy a trip to Lisbon.
Another one successfully ticked off today, onto the next one we go.
See you in Liverpool.
Come on you mighty reds!