Liverpool 0-0 Stoke: Reds suffer further Anfield agony as Suarez & Co fail to fire

Liverpool failed to secure their first home Premier League win of the season as Stoke battled to a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts toiled in front of the goal, with Raheem Sterling, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel all shaking the woodwork, but could not find the breakthrough against obstinate opposition.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers elected to keep faith in the same team which recorded an emphatic 5-2 victory over Norwich last weekend, with youngsters Andre Wisdom, Suso and Sterling all handed another chance to impress.

Stoke, meanwhile, were missing Andy Wilkinson, who sat out the final match of the three-match ban for elbowing Mario Balotelli. Liverpool old boys Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch made the starting XI on their return to Anfield, but Tony Pulis was forced to omit Michael Owen through injury.

A bright start from both sides was marred on three minutes when Robert Huth appeared to stamp on Suarez while the Uruguayan lay on the floor after a collision. Fortunately for the German, referee Lee Mason and his assistants did not see the incident.

Suarez was soon back on his feet and causing problems though, and when his clever run and cut-back found Nuri Sahin, only a block from the unwitting Sterling prevented the Turk’s goal-bound shot from finding the bottom corner.

Liverpool’s staunch devotion to playing their way out of defence under Rodgers has already resulted in some embarrassing moments this season, and on 20 minutes Stoke almost forced another. Pepe Reina’s wayward pass gifted the high-pressing Potters possession some 25 yards out, and the Spaniard had to be at his most agile to tip over Michael Kightly’s ambitious lob attempt.

But the Reds recovered from that shock and committed wave after wave of attack before narrowly failing to go ahead as Agger struck the post after getting the slightest of touches on a cross from the right.

It was the nearest the hosts came in a frustrating half for the Anfield crowd, which they ended by voicing their displeasure with a referee who had shown plenty of leniency to the physical visitors.

With their manager’s words clearly ringing in their ears, Liverpool began the second period much brighter and almost broke the deadlock as Glen Johnson’s cross was desperately nodded away after some nice build-up work.

And Johnson was at the heart of the attack again as he latched onto a raking cross-field pass from Gerrard only to shoot narrowly over the bar in the box just moments later.

Despite their domination, the hosts were fortunate not to go behind when a three-way clash between Jon Walters, Wisdom and Skrtel meant a clever interception from Agger was needed to stop a cross into the box with a goal looking certain.

Liverpool subsequently stepped up their onslaught on the Stoke box, if not Asmir Begovic’s goal, and went even closer as Sterling struck the base of the post with a side-footed drive from inside the area.

However, they could not get past a determined Potters back line, even as Skrtel hooked onto the post in the dying seconds.

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