Liverpool 0 – 0 Stoke City

It was a frustrating afternoon for Liverpool fans as the Reds were held to a goalless draw by Premier League new boys Stoke City.

Despite dominating proceedings from start to finish Liverpool were unable to convert any of numerous chances into a goal.

Yet it initially appeared things would pan out so differently, Steven Gerrard’s strike hitting the back of the net after just three minutes. The linesman appeared to flag for offside though, and the goal was dubiously disallowed.

Five minutes later Dirk Kuyt’s low cross was met by the Robbie Keane, with the goal at his mercy. The Irish hitman failed to deliver though, and his shot fell harmlessly to Thomas Sorensen.

Stoke had clearly come to Anfield for a point, and defended in numbers for the most part. The tactic seemed to be working, with Liverpool restricted to mainly speculative efforts from range, but they worked their way behind the defence on a couple of occasions, and but for some poor finishing and excellent last ditch challenges would have had the game dead and buried.

At the other end Liverpool had very little to worry about defensively, Rory Delap’s long throw being the sum total of Stoke’s attacking prowess, and even then the throw was dealt with comfortably by Pepe Reina.

As the halftime whistle went the Stoke fans could feel happy with their side’s resilient display, but with Liverpool dominating possession so much it seemed only a matter of time before the away side ran out of steam.

The second half began just as the first had, with Liverpool pushing forward whilst Stoke threw men behind the ball. It looked as though the deadlock would be broken on 52 minutes when Alvaro Arbeloa played a neat one-two with Kuyt before creating space for himself and crossing into the box. The ball fell to Keane, who must be wondering what he has to do to get a goal at the moment, and again his shot found it’s way safely into Sorensen’s arms.

Seconds later Fernando Torres rose above the Stoke defence to meet a superb Arbeloa cross, but the resulting header sailed narrowly wide.

It was Torres who had arguably the best opportunity to score for Liverpool, when the ball fell to him eight yards out, but the Spaniard somehow blasted the ball over when it seemed easier to score than miss, in what pretty much summed up Liverpool’s afternoon.

Next up was Kuyt, who’s low shot was saved by the in-form Sorensen. With time running out it seemed it was not to be Liverpool’s day.

As the final whistle approached Liverpool threw men forward, and for large parts of the closing stages every player on the pitch bar Reina was in the Stoke half. Try as they might though that elusive goal would not arrive, and after three minutes of stoppage time the ref blew up to confirm a result that whilst it sees Liverpool top of the league is unlikely to have many fans smiling.