Stoke 1—0 Liverpool: The Reds Have No One to Blame but Themselves

Andrew Chappell@@liverpoolfcblogContributor IIISeptember 11, 2011

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool (L) holds off Ryan Shawcross of Stoke during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at Britannia Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Poor Finishing. That’s the main reason Liverpool came away from Stoke City with nothing. Kenny Dalglish, the players and the fans can blame it on Mark Clattenburg’s decisions, the international break or the long grass, but at the end of the day Liverpool had 73 percent of possession and 24 shots at goal to Stoke’s three, and still couldn’t find the back of the net.

When I was growing up playing the game, one of the first things I was told was not to blame the referee. You rarely see one change their mind so you’re better off focusing on what you can control.

Liverpool had more than enough opportunities on goal to score, so I found Kenny Dalglish’s post-match comments a little bit unsporting. 

“We can only do what we can do ourselves, sometimes other things are taken out of our jurisdiction and if we continue to play like that with the same attitude and commitment we’ll be okay this season.

But if we continually get battered by things that are out of our control then we’re not going to have much chance.

The first four league games have all had contentious decisions in them and every one of them has gone against us. We would like to be respectful towards the referees, I think we have been respectful towards the referees but more importantly than respecting referees and their campaign, they should have respect for my football club.

If I feel they’re suffering in any way, shape of form then I think I’ll just need to go down the same route as some other people go and see if we can get some benefift from that.”

“Did we deserve something? It’s a wee bit of an understatement.”

Liverpool and Stoke got exactly what they deserved.

Stoke stuck to their game plan —it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it gets results and they deserved their three points.

Liverpool might have had all the possession, played some decent football and created more than enough chances, but they failed to put those chances away and at the end of the day, that’s what counts, so they deserved nothing more.

Blaming referees and hoping penalties go their way doesn’t achieve anything and if Liverpool want to finish in the top four, they need to stop complaining and let their football do the talking.

Certain aspects of their game were below par.

For the second game in a row, Jamie Carragher was at fault for Liverpool conceding a goal and with Sebastian Coates waiting in the wings, it’s high time Kenny Dalglish seriously reconsiders the veteran’s spot in the starting 11.

Watching Charlie Adam, who was so impressive against Bolton, pass the ball in such a hit and miss fashion, really made me further question why Alberto Aquilani was moved on this summer.

Liverpool needed a player like him yesterday to unlock Stoke, even if it was just as another option off the bench.

Steven Gerrard will fill that creative void when he returns, but Liverpool will be right back where they started if he gets injured again.

Twenty-four shots and only seven on target tell a story in itself. Liverpool were wasteful.

Even Luis Suarez had an off day in front of goal, spurning the best chance of the match late on.

Andy Carroll was hardly anyone's first choice replacement for Torres, but I really expected him to offer at least a little bit more than he has so far.

Admittedly, he wasn’t awful when he came on, but he didn’t really do anything either, and we certainly didn’t look any more likely to score with him there.

Aside from that, there were a few positives.

Liverpool dominated possession, created chances and passed the ball reasonably well.

Downing and Enrique were again dangerous, Lucas was solid, Bellamy looked threatening and Luis Suarez did his best to create something every time he got the ball.

However, the Uruguayan was contained reasonably well by Stoke, and when he can’t fire on all cylinders Liverpool just seem to lack that something special to unlock exactly these kind of stubborn defences.

After Begovic and Stoke’s defenders kept out three shots from Jordan Henderson, one from Charlie Adam and another from Luis Suarez, all in a matter of seconds, you had the feeling that it just wasn’t going to be Liverpool’s day.

The manager, players and fans can blame the referee, the long grass or the international break, but at the end of the day the only reasons Liverpool lost were because their players failed to capitalize on their complete domination, and Stoke were fiercely determined not to sacrifice their lead.

There’s no doubt Dalglish was frustrated, but lame excuses don’t do anything other than make Liverpool look like sore losers.

Perhaps it would have been better to accept it wasn’t our day, and instead of spending all his time and energy making an official complaint to the FA, Dalglish should have his team spend the week doing a little shooting practice.

It certainly couldn’t do any harm.

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