The first game to kick-off this exciting Saturday of football was a decisive match for Liverpool who were playing away to in-form Stoke City. Liverpool were going to have to make do without Torres, Gerrard or Benayoun and they needed these three points to settle the nerves on Merseyside.
Stoke started the better of the two teams as Liverpool failed to connect up-front, but the home team lost star set-piece man Rory Delap and powerful defender Faye to early injuries.
On twenty-six minutes the game was given its first heated talking point when Lucas was brought down in the Stoke penalty area by Higginbotham. The Brazilian midfielder looked like he was on his way down before the tackle was made but he was fouled nevertheless, his penalty claims were rebuffed though and he was given a yellow card for diving.
The teams went in level at half-time and Liverpool seemed to be picking up their game towards the end of the half but, besides the penalty shout, there was very little excitement.
The home team started stronger in the second half but it was Liverpool who opened the scoring. Fabio Aurellio drove a free-kick straight down the throat of Goalkeeper Sorensen, the Stoke number one should have caught it but instead he flapped at the ball, punching it straight against a pack of players which included Liverpool defender Kyrgiakos, the Greek international got the final touch and helped the ball roll over the line.
Stoke struggled to get back into the game and late on Maxi Rodriguez was introduced for his Liverpool debut as the home side continued to pump the ball into the box; hoping to steal something from this game.
With one minute to go a goal-line scramble in the Liverpool box gifted Stoke a corner, from the set-piece Higginbotham got his head to the ball at the far post and headed it across the goal for Robert Huth who was waiting at the near post to tap in a dramatic equalizer. The drama wasn’t over yet though and Kuyt nearly won the game for Liverpool in the fifth minute of stoppage time when his diving header from eight yards cracked off the post.
The game finished 1-1, with all the excitement coming towards the end. Liverpool walk away with a point but it won’t be enough to ease their troubles, whilst Stoke deservedly take something from this game.