Liverpool recorded a 4-1 home win over Stoke City on Sunday to go over their opponents into eighth place in the Premier League table.
Alberto Moreno’s early strike had Liverpool in lead but Bojan’s glancing header got Stoke back on level terms. Sturridge put Liverpool in the lead again before the break while Origi scored two second half goals to get Liverpool to a comfortable 4-1 lead which put Liverpool just 4 points behind West Ham into the 6th place in premier league.
The win is a timely boost to morale ahead of the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash with Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, with the tie delicately balanced after a 1-1 result on German soil.
And here 5 things we learnt from Liverpool’s win.
Divock Origi continues to shine.
Divock Origi has had few better weeks in his Liverpool career to date. After starting, and scoring, in the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, the striker produced an impressive 45-minute cameo against Stoke City less than 72 hours later.
He put the hosts 3-1 up when heading home James Milner’s left-footed cross just five minutes after coming on in place of Sheyi Ojo.
His second, however, was a little fortunate. Origi’s cross after cutting in from the left wing was meant for Daniel Sturridge, but it missed his team-mate and instead ended up in the back of the net. Considering both strikers scored against Stoke, it will be fascinating to see who manager Jurgen Klopp picks to face Dortmund at Anfield.
Sturridge is still a valuable asset at Anfield.
After Origi’s emphatic showing at the Westfalenstadion, sections of the Liverpool support questioned Sturridge’s role at the club in the long term, but restored to Klopp’s starting lineup at Anfield, the 26-year-old provided a reminder of his enduring quality.
On hand to put Liverpool 2-1 up before half-time, Sturridge was a constant threat to the Stoke defense both on and off the ball, with his linkup play alongside Origi hugely promising.
Liverpool have the finest full-backs.
Alberto Moreno earns a fair amount of criticism for his occasional mad moments. For a defender, he can certainly be suspect in defense, but no other Liverpool full-back provides the kind of speed down the flank and attacking push from deeper positions like he does.
Scoring goals, however, makes up for a lot. His opening screamer was the kind of strike every side hopes to get from a full-back. The Spaniard tucked inside to receive a quick restart and unleashed a left-footed missile that gave Stoke’s Jakob Haugaard no chance.
Even Nathaniel Clyne found moments to get forward and join the attack, getting shots in both the first and second half. The steady full-back picked his moments but got into the penalty area on occasion, as well as providing solid support.
Klopp’s tactics ensured full squad strength.
With the match at Anfield in between the two Europa League quarterfinal games against Klopp’s old club Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp made seven changes with Thursday’s second leg in mind.
Roberto Firmino returned as a starter in what probably was always going to be a substitute-shortened performance. In another positive sign, Daniel Sturridge put in a full 90 minutes for the first time in quite a while.
Academy regulars Kevin Stewart and Sheyi Ojo earned starts. Stewart provided the midfield cover and had a solid performance, showing intelligence and good positional awareness. Ojo was a bit more mixed but will no doubt learn and build on the positives.
The changes also included a centre-half pairing of Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure. Neither were ever really tested. Skrtel did well to forget his shocking display against Southampton. With Joe Allen playing alongside Stewart centrally, Liverpool’s defence benefitted from keeping possession ticking over. It all showed for a strong team win.
Ojo is good.
Producing a moment of magic in what was a tepid first half at Anfield, Ojo showed his potential: unfazed by the occasion on his first start for the club, Ojo ploughed beyond Shaqiri on the left flank before teeing up Sturridge’s header with an inch-perfect cross.
Other than this brilliant assist, Ojo put himself about well in his 45 minutes on the field, and can be encouraged by his first foray into Klopp’s starting lineup—the first of many.