Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Thursday December 27 2012
Liverpool slip to their second defeat in three games to leave the manager reiterating the need to put a successful run together...
Despite taking a lead within the opening couple of minutes courtesy of a Steven Gerrard penalty, Liverpool were ruthlessly dispatched 3-1 last night by Stoke City.
Things could not have started much better for the visitors when Luis Suarez was bundled to the ground within moments of the kick off for the club's first penalty of the season.
However the lead lasted only three minutes when a slip by Martin Skrtel was ruthlessly punished by Jon Walters.
Another goal followed on 12 minutes when Kenwyne Jones profited from slack marking and the absence of a Liverpool player guarding the post to head home a set-piece from close range.
Walters got his second of the game shortly after the restart when the Reds failed to deal with a trademark Stoke long throw and in truth Liverpool never looked likely to retrieve the situation.
Speaking after the game, Kop boss Brendan Rodgers was critical of his side's defending and acknowledged the game had been 'too easy' for the hosts.
"We conceded soft goals tonight after a great start," analysed Rodgers at his post-match press conference.
"A terrific ball by Martin Skrtel and a bit of magic by Luis for our first pen of the season and Steven sticks it away perfectly. We are one-up in a difficult place to score goals.
"The first goal [we conceded] we were rather unfortunate - Skrtel slips and then Walters finishes really well. But the other two goals, we have to be better than that. The players have to be better in those moments.
"You have to earn the right to play in whatever game - and in particular when you come to here. You know you are going to get pressed. I have no doubt about the characters we have - we have some big characters and big players, but tonight it was just too easy for them."
Defeat sees the Merseysiders slip to 10th and means a festive period, which on paper promised much, has delivered very little.
Next up is a visit to Queens Park Rangers and a game that will again test Liverpool's resolve and determination to stop another league season aimlessly passing by.
"I said during the week and last week that [consistency] will be the biggest thing for the group" added Rodgers.
"We were terrific at the weekend [winning 4-0 against Fulham] but you have got to be able to put a run of games together - if not you just keep taking two or three steps forward and making one or two back and then going again.
"That's been the nature of the group over the last couple of years in terms of where we have finished. We're looking to improve that. There is still an awful lot of work to do."
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Date:Thursday December 27 2012
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