Liverpool beats Stoke 2-0 in Premier League
Liverpool won its third straight Premier League match with a 2-0 win over Stoke on Wednesday that featured a goal on debut by Uruguay forward Luis Suarez.
Raul Meireles gave Liverpool the lead in the 47th minute at Anfield, latching onto a loose ball in the Stoke area following a free kick and smashing the ball past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Suarez came on in the 63rd minute and struck a left-footed shot 16 minutes later that was on its way into the net before Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson's attempted clearance struck a post before the ball rolled in.
Having previously beaten Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham under new manager Kenny Daglish, Liverpool has won three straight league matches for the first time this season, and without conceding a goal.
''Suarez scored on his debut, which is fantastic for him and great for the supporters,'' Dalglish said. ''He will be alright and there will be no problem with him. He has not even trained with the players yet because of the paperwork and work permit, so that is something to look forward to.
''It's an old adage and I'm sure you'll cringe, but we will just take each game that comes along. Three clean sheets is always a bonus and always a help, and we kept pushing forward and we made some opportunities and we took some. We have had a good day's work.''
After wildly celebrating Suarez's intervention, Liverpool's fans breathed a sigh of relief following a nervy contest in which they never really dominated Stoke.
Tony Pulis's side were clearly intent on trying to earn a draw and little else from the contest, rarely threatening the Liverpool goal with John Carew having a quiet evening playing as a solitary striker.
In the first half, and despite Stoke's lack of ambition, Liverpool failed to find the opening goal.
Begovic denied Glen Johnson with a fine close-range save, clawing away the England right back's header as Liverpool grew increasingly frustrated in its attempts to break Stoke down.
However, a touch of luck helped the hosts take the lead. Steven Gerrard's free kick fell fortunately for Meireles, who did the rest from eight yards.
Stoke remained in touch only because Liverpool failed to create any telling chances, but that changed when Suarez ran on to reach a through ball from Dirk Kuyt, rounding Begovic before just beating Wilkinson's despairing dive to secure the win.
''I've watched him in games for Ajax and at the World Cup and he is a top player,'' Pulis said of Suarez. ''Our lads worked very hard and put a lot into it, but Liverpool are a good side with good players. They've spent 70 million pounds on two players, so let's put it in context.''
''We did OK in the first half and Asmir made a world-class save from the header. But I thought we contained them OK, and to concede straight after halftime knocked us a bit. Up until the second goal, I thought we were still in the game. But to their credit, they took their chances.''