Hardly revenge, but a win is a win and Liverpool are Stoked with three points

Coutinho and co. celebrate an undeserved winner. (Getty)

Coutinho and co. celebrate an undeserved winner. (Getty)

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t exciting, and it wasn’t deserved. If football allowed negative goals for boredom, this game would’ve finished -5 plays -5. Well, -5 plays -4 thanks to Philippe Coutinho’s 86th minute wonder strike that gave Brendan Rodgers’ side all three points to start the new season. Certainly beats getting hammered 6-1, at least.

I could go on and on about how it’s the start of a new era without Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling, but no-one associated with the club should care about that. They’ve gone and now we need to focus on the season ahead.

In truth, we looked okay at times. Stoke, kings of the transfer market, also looked okay. Both teams will want more than ‘okay’ in the future, but it’s opening day and there’s still months of football left to play. However given the heaps of signings both clubs have made in the last month, this game should not have been the snooze-fest it was. Two hours of my life I’ll never get back…

Stoke City player ratings

Jack Butland – Had literally nothing to do all game but made a decent save for the cameras from Martin Skrtel. Absolutely powerless to prevent Coutinho’s winner. 6

Glen Johnson – Assume you didn’t watch the game. Take the idea you have of how you think Glen Johnson played. That is how he played. Uninspired as ever and scooped a good chance from just 12 yards out into the next county. 5

Geoff Cameron – More often than not, he beat Christian Benteke in the air and generally marshalled the defence. 6

Marc Muniesa – Made a wonderful challenge on Jordon Ibe in the box, but was invisible otherwise. 6

Erik Pieters – Had nothing to do, really. Got injured after 45 mins, well before Liverpool got anything going upfront. 4

Glenn Whelan – Could’ve been replaced by a dog on its hind legs and it wouldn’t have made a difference. 4

Charlie Adam – Another ex-Anfield player and another load of rubbish. Not back to his usual self with the ball yet, but without it he was; should’ve been booked for pushing James Milner and was booked for a poor tackle later on. 5

Jon Walters – Still in Joe Gomez’ pocket. 3

Marco van Ginkel – touched the ball maybe twice in attacking positions. Had a goalbound effort blocked but was ineffectual otherwise. 5

Ibrahim Afellay – Not quite the debut the ex-Barcelona man wanted, but showed signs of what he can do. Had a well-hit volley blocked by Nathaniel Clyne early on. 6

Mame Biram Diouf – Won a header. Maybe. Was offside a couple of times. Peter Crouch would’ve been the better option. 5


Philipp Wollscheid (Pieters, 46) – Dealt with Liverpool well but didn’t have much to do outside of normal defensive duties. 6

Steve Sidwell (Adam, 78) – Had no idea he played for Stoke and may as well not have done today. 4

Peter Odemwingie (Afellay, 78) – See above. 4

Liverpool player ratings

Simon Mignolet – Made a couple of good saves and looked assured. Didn’t drop any crosses, which is another bonus. 6

Nathaniel Clyne – Solid defensively and going forward minus some poor passing, and made a great block to deny Afellay. 6

Martin Skrtel – Showed why he’s Liverpool’s best defender and didn’t put a foot wrong all day. Not that he had much to do, mind. 6

Dejan Lovren – Was lucky not to be sent off for an elbow on Diouf, and had Liverpool’s first shot on goal of the season just after the hour. 5

Joe Gomez – Applied himself excellently for a young lad, looked confident all game. Made a sloppy pass across the box but was superb otherwise. 7

Jordan Henderson – Ran and passed well. 5

James Milner – As above but on a booking for a foul on Adam that was not a foul. 5

Philippe Coutinho – Blazed one into orbit before curling in a beauty. Was poor aside from that, though. 6

Adam Lallana – Went for a pint after 10 minutes. 3

Jordon Ibe – Not too bad but went to the Raheem Sterling School of How To Only Use Your Right Foot. 6

Christian Benteke – Lost a lot in the air but made a couple of decent runs. 5


Emre Can (Lallana, 63) – Bossed the midfield with his gorgeous hair and general attractiveness. The Stoke players were probably put off by his mere presence. 6

Roberto Firmino (Ibe, 78) – Showed flashes of what he can do but 12 minutes isn’t enough. 5


Anthony Taylor – Made some horrible decisions throughout but just about retained control of it. In fairness, he was probably asleep. 4