Premier League
StokeStoke City1LiverpoolLiverpool2

Stoke City 1-2 Liverpool

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Stoke City
Philippe Coutinho has scored more Premier League goals than any other Brazilian

Liverpool came from behind to beat Stoke City and stay on course for a top-four finish thanks to goals by substitutes Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.

Unmarked Jon Walters headed the hosts into the lead after meeting Xherdan Shaqiri's cross, as the Reds failed to register a first-half effort on target.

Coutinho levelled with a first-time shot before Firmino smashed the bouncing ball beyond keeper Lee Grant after Georginio Wijnaldum's pass.

Liverpool remain third in the Premier League table.

Liverpool overcome bottom-half hoodoo

Much has been made of Liverpool's inability to beat teams in the bottom half of the table and for 45 minutes it looked like they were heading for defeat against a team that started the day 12th.

Klopp started with 17-year-old Ben Woodburn and 18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold, while opting to keep Coutinho, who was ill during Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, and Firmino on the bench.

It looked like his plan to give youth a chance had backfired as Walters was left totally unmarked to bury Shaqiri's inch-perfect cross past Simon Mignolet.

It was only after the introduction of Brazilian duo Coutinho and Firmino at the start of the second half - in place of Woodburn and Alexander-Arnold - that Liverpool played like a team chasing a Champions League spot.

Impact of a substitute: Philippe Coutinho's touch map after coming on at the start of the second half to play an influential role in Liverpool's comeback win
Impact of a substitute: Philippe Coutinho's touch map after coming on at the start of the second half to play an influential role in Liverpool's comeback win

Dejan Lovren headed against the bar before Coutinho swept home the equaliser from 12 yards out.

Liverpool fans were still celebrating when Firmino lashed a dipping shot over Grant from 22 yards, a sublime goal worthy of winning any match.

Mignolet still had to produce a fine save to deny Saido Berahino, but Liverpool hung on to move nine points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, although the Reds have played three games more.

Stoke lose again to a top-six team

Stoke slipped to 13th in the table after a fourth successive league defeat.

They were the better team in the first half but Mark Hughes' side remain without a win against a team currently in the top six - eight defeats in 11 games.

At 1-0 they wasted a great chance to double the lead when Charlie Adam was denied at close range by Mignolet after a terrible mistake by Wijnaldum.

Had that gone it, it could have been a different story.

Stoke need to recognise goalscoring opportunities - Hughes

The Potters still need another four points to reach 40 with six fixtures left, including a home match against Arsenal.

They ought do it with games to spare - but they need to escape this losing run before it causes serious damage.

Man of the match - Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet (right) at the end of his side's win at Stoke City with manager Jurgen Klopp
There is no doubt Liverpool's two Brazilian substitutes made a huge impact, but Simon Mignolet produced excellent stops when his side trailed and then when they led 2-1 to ensure they left with three points

'I couldn't feel any better' - what the managers said

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes: "We needed to take our chances and capitalise when we were on top. I was happy, we were good value at 1-0 and restricted them to very little.

"Second half they brought their big hitters on, which made an impact, but it took a mistake from us.

"It was a long ball down the middle and we should have dealt with it. When those are the things that are happening you think maybe it's not your day."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "Philippe Coutinho lost three kilos in the past three days, which some people wish - but for a professional footballer it's not too cool.

"Simon Mignolet saved our life. Job done, feels good. Nice weather, 63 points and I couldn't feel any better.

"Now we have a long week. No team in the world wins only the very, very good games. You need to win games like this."

Liverpool won despite low batteries - Klopp

'Comeback kings' - the stats

  • Liverpool have won more points from losing positions than any other Premier League team this season (18).
  • There were just 126 seconds between Liverpool's first and second goals.
  • Walters has scored seven times against Liverpool in the Premier League, more than he has against any other side.
  • Wijnaldum has provided six Premier League assists this season, one more than he registered for Newcastle in 2015-16.
  • Klopp's side won their first away Premier League game of 2017.

What's next?

Stoke can end a four-match losing run at home to Hull City on Saturday, 15 April (15:00 BST), while Liverpool are away at West Brom the following day (13:30).

Line-ups

Stoke

Formation 4-4-2

  • 33Grant
  • 8Johnson
  • 17Shawcross
  • 15Martins Indi
  • 3Pieters
  • 22Shaqiri
  • 20Cameron
  • 4AllenSubstituted forAdamat 27'minutesSubstituted forSobhiat 81'minutes
  • 10Arnautovic
  • 19WaltersSubstituted forWhelanat 68'minutes
  • 9Berahino

Substitutes

  • 5Muniesa
  • 6Whelan
  • 16Adam
  • 18Diouf
  • 24Given
  • 25Crouch
  • 32Sobhi

Liverpool

Formation 3-5-1-1

  • 22Mignolet
  • 6Lovren
  • 32Matip
  • 17KlavanBooked at 48mins
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldSubstituted forCoutinhoat 45'minutes
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 23Can
  • 7Milner
  • 2Clyne
  • 58WoodburnSubstituted forFirminoat 45'minutesBooked at 73mins
  • 27OrigiSubstituted forSturridgeat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Karius
  • 10Coutinho
  • 11Firmino
  • 15Sturridge
  • 16Grujic
  • 18Moreno
  • 21Leiva
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
27,568

Match Stats

Home TeamStokeAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home9
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away8
Fouls
Home7
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Stoke City 1, Liverpool 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Stoke City 1, Liverpool 2.

  3. Post update

    Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City).

  5. Post update

    Offside, Stoke City. Marko Arnautovic tries a through ball, but Ramadan Sobhi is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Glen Johnson.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Emre Can (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

  9. Post update

    Offside, Stoke City. Erik Pieters tries a through ball, but Ramadan Sobhi is caught offside.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Stoke City. Ramadan Sobhi replaces Charlie Adam because of an injury.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Emre Can (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  12. Post update

    Hand ball by Geoff Cameron (Stoke City).

  13. Post update

    Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Simon Mignolet.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Saido Berahino (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic with a cross.

  15. Booking

    Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Stoke City 1, Liverpool 2. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is high and wide to the left.

  18. Goal!

    Goal! Stoke City 1, Liverpool 1. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Sturridge.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge replaces Divock Origi.

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea31243465254075
2Tottenham31208364224268
3Liverpool32189568402863
4Man City31187660352561
5Arsenal29166761362554
6Man Utd291412343241954
7Everton31149853341951
8West Brom32128123941-244
9Southampton30117123737040
10Watford31107143652-1637
11Leicester30106143747-1036
12Burnley32106163244-1236
13Stoke3299143447-1336
14West Ham32106164257-1536
15Bournemouth3298154559-1435
16Crystal Palace3094173950-1131
17Hull3286183364-3130
18Swansea3284203767-3028
19Middlesbrough31412152237-1524
20Sunderland3055202453-2920
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