Huth tap-in piles pressure on Rafa
The Reds went into Saturday lunchtime's game at the Britannia Stadium on the back of a new low in their season - the midweek FA Cup exit at the hands of Championship strugglers Reading. And with the knives being sharpened for Benitez, a match at Stoke was hardly the easiest of assignments for Liverpool's injury-hit squad. However, when Sotirios Kyrgiakos stabbed home a 57th-minute opener, it seemed the Reds were set to claim a much-needed three points. The lead had stayed intact until the 90th-minute when Huth finally ended the Reds' resistance by poking home from close range after Danny Higginbotham's header across goal following a right-wing corner had created the chance. The Potters made a bright start with Pepe Reina struggling to claw out some typically missile-like Rory Delap throw-ins, but the Reds keeper managed to do enough - just - to keep his goal intact. The major talking point of the first period came after 25 minutes when Danny Higginbotham appeared to trip Lucas in the area after the Brazilian played a one-two with Phillipp Degen, but the Reds midfielder was booked for diving and a goalkick was awarded to the hosts. The Potters were then forced into a double substitution when Delap and Abdoulaye Faye were withdrawn through injury to be replaced by Liam Lawrence and Andy Wilkinson, but it had little impact as both sides fought out a largely forgettable half. And it was Stoke who made the brighter start to the second period, with Lawrence's free-kick deflecting wide at the expense of a corner, which came to nothing. But it was Liverpool who made the breakthrough after 57 minutes when Fabio Aurelio's free-kick into the box wasn't dealt with by Thomas Sorensen and Kyrgiakos was on hand to scramble the ball over the line. Stoke could have grabbed an immediate equaliser but Tuncay wasn't quite able to direct Huth's flick-on on target, his header sailing just over the bar. A flicked header from substitute Ricardo Fuller on 75 minutes, which was comfortably held by Reina, represented the Potters' first effort on target. But that was the start of a period of intense heavy pressure from the hosts, with Huth's strike earning Stoke a point. There was still time for Dirk Kuyt's diving header to hit the post in the dying seconds - but the draw means Liverpool remain seventh, now four points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City having played a game more. Stoke remain 10th.