Simon Mignolet endeared himself to the Kop Army as he kept out a last minute penalty from Stoke City’s Jon Walters, ensuring Brendan Rodgers made a winning start to the season thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s arrowed finish.
Liverpool were impressive throughout the game, creating numerous chances through some stylish play. As with the end of last season, Luis Suarez’s absence allowed Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho to flourish, with neat interchanges and clever movement a factor throughout the match.
Sturridge went close a number of times, but a habit of shooting from unlikely angles still proves to be an unwanted factor in his game. However, his persistence paid off in the 37th minute, as he rifled in a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area - the first goal of the new Premier League season.
Stoke were unlucky not to have taken the lead earlier in the match, as Robert Huth crashed a shot against the crossbar after Mignolet had attempted, somewhat unconvincingly, to clear a corner. However, the Potters failed to craft a consistent threat to the Liverpool goal, until Daniel Agger handled in the area, allowing Walters to salvage a point.
Or at least that was the plan for Mark Hughes in his first competitive game in charge of Stoke City; unfortunately for him, Mignolet, who had improved during the match, made a great stop from Walters’ penalty, which preserved Liverpool’s lead until the final whistle.
Hughes will look to next week’s game against Crystal Palace to kick-start his side’s season, whilst the Reds will hope to continue building a challenge for Europe against Aston Villa.
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