Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Liverpool held at home again

Steven Gerrard and Jonathan Walters (right)

Dirk Kuyt had the best chances for Liverpool but they were held to a 0-0 draw at Anfield by Stoke.

Manager Kenny Dalglish tried a different formation but it proved more problematic for the home side that it did for Stoke.

Liverpool lined up in the same 3-4-2-1 formation with which they beat Stoke at home last season but with the personnel different - including summer signing Sebastian Coates being given his first Premier League start - they struggled to adjust.

Kuyt, without a league goal since the final day of last season, lacked support up front and while Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique lacked penetration on the wings.

Steven Gerrard's raking 60-yard crossfield ball straight to the feet of Enrique was one of the few highlights of the first half.

The visitors had probably the best chance midway through the first half from a quick counter-attack, but even then Matt Etherington's shot from outside the penalty area was easily saved by Jose Reina.

Stewart Downing, Gerrard and Jordan Henderson all had shots from distance but only the latter's troubled goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

In the second half, Johnson twice cut in from the right to shoot with his left foot, having his first blocked and dragging the second wide, and when Enrique finally got forward his cross from the left byline was too close to Sorensen.

Striker Andy Carroll made his entrance in the 59th minute to replace Downing and immediately caused a problem, with Robert Huth putting him a headlock - unseen by referee Howard Webb - from Gerrard's corner.

Carroll then blocked team-mate Henderson's goalbound volley from Enrique's cross, and Kuyt missed Liverpool's best two chances in the final 13 minutes of the game when he headed Enrique's deflected cross wide and then nodded into the side-netting at the far post.

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