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Stoke 3 Liverpool 1 Match Review

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Premier League

Sub standard from ShelveyMan of the match: Stoke City FC.

Villain of the match: Jonjo Shelvey

Moment of the match: Walters chest down and volley for Stokes third goal.

Once Liverpool took the lead through a second minute penalty reds fans were thinking that finally their team was about to show what it was made of – and by the end of the match it had – but not in a good way.

Feeble resistance for Stoke City's three goals, one from a corner, one from a throw in and the first from a direct long ball down the middle of the park highlighted how

Sub standard from Shelvey

Man of the match: Stoke City FC.

Villain of the match: Jonjo Shelvey

Moment of the match: Walters chest down and volley for Stokes third goal.

Once Liverpool took the lead through a second minute penalty reds fans were thinking that finally their team was about to show what it was made of – and by the end of the match it had – but not in a good way.

Feeble resistance for Stoke City's three goals, one from a corner, one from a throw in and the first from a direct long ball down the middle of the park highlighted how much work is still to be done on the training ground before any sort of renaissance can be thought to be taking place.

If it's bad enough not being able to score goals at one end of the pitch then it compounds the plight when you start letting them in at the other.

Across the back Liverpool have what I consider to be the best defensive line up in the premiership.

As a mixture of defensive and attacking intent with both Agger and Skrtel in the middle and the full backs pushing on it is definitely one of the most accomplished. Combined with the improvements in both Johnson and Enrique in recent weeks this has to be a back line right up there with the very best.

So what is going wrong?

The problem lies with the wafer thin squad that Rodgers has to work with. In Suso and Sterling we have two talented but lightweight players and when another player goes missing for the game like Shelvey – who looked like he had eaten all the mince pies on Christmas day then it exposes the defence badly.

Lucas is still trying to find his form after returning from a cruciate ligament injury and he needs more games before he is going to get to his former level so therein lies the problem.

After the match Brendan Rodgers issued a warning that players have to perform in every game. But the manager himself must shoulder some of the blame for substituting a superb Downing with Sterling when it was clear that Shelvey was suffering from too much Christmas pud.

It's now down to the manager to correct that mistake.

Next up QPR away.

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