Liverpool 4-1 Stoke: No midweek hangover from the Reds as Divock Origi double helps overtake Potters in Premier League
A Divock Origi double helped Liverpool cruise to a 4-1 victory over Stoke at Anfield.
Alberto Moreno opened the scoring before Bojan Krkic drew the visitors level on 22 minutes.
Daniel Sturridge put the hosts back in front before Belgian striker Origi, who scored against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, came off the bench to net twice in 15 second-half minutes.
The Reds move up to eighth in the Premier League table with their biggest, and most convincing, win of the season, as Stoke drop to ninth following a tough afternoon on Merseyside.
Jurgen Klopp made seven changes – two were enforced, with Jordan Henderson’s knee injury ruling him out for the rest of the season and Emre Can suspended. Kevin Stewart and Sheyi Ojo made their first Premier League starts while Roberto Firmino and Sturridge were given the chance to impress in attack.
It took Liverpool only eight minutes to break the deadlock but the source was somewhat unlikely given Moreno had not scored since December 2014.
Stoke gave the Spaniard all the time in the world to pick his spot after James Milner had found him with a short free-kick and Moreno lashed his effort into the far corner from 20 yards.
Xherdan Shaqiri, back after a month out injured, soon curled a free-kick into the box and it was the smallest man on the pitch, Bojan, who flicked in the header – Stoke’s first Premier League goal at Anfield.
Liverpool have been better at defending set-pieces recently but this was back to the bad old days as Bojan was given the freedom of the penalty area.
At the other end, Sturridge shot just wide, but the striker did not have long to wait. The England man has much to prove for club and country and was given the simple task of nodding in after Ojo, having switched from right to left, tricked his way past Shaqiri and dug out a perfect cross to the back post.
If Liverpool looked lively in attack, in defence they were very shaky, and from another free-kick Ryan Shawcross headed just wide.
It was a surprise to see Ojo replaced after an impressive half but less than five minutes after coming on Origi rose unchallenged to head in Milner’s cross.
Neither defence looked comfortable, and Mignolet was called on to keep out Geoff Cameron’s header from another Shaqiri free-kick before Haugaard pushed Firmino’s shot behind.
Origi had certainly made an impact since coming on and in the 65th minute he put the game out of Stoke’s reach.
The striker picked the ball up wide on the left and drove into the area before curling the ball just inside the far post. The Belgian may well have been intending to pick out Sturridge but could not have placed it better.